Alfin took out brand new aluminium sheets from his bag last night after hearing that our lesson was really tough and we could not achieve consistency. I took it and remembered that my plate felt much heavier than that.
So I asked him, 'Alfin, this is so heavy, is this zinc?'
'Yes this is zinc.'
Which explains why the technique applied to alugraph may not work as consistently as an aluminium plate!
So I worked on a brand new plate today.
I still had problems.
Rully's plate printed better than mine, which was drawn in crayon.
So I ground my the image (after 2 prints) , and re drew it on a smaller plate, with the 4B TOMBO pencil he was using.
Many things happened along the way after dinner.
I will just say that I was pushed to my breaking point today. The constant plate making, the inability to pull any successful prints from all of them, leading back to grinding the image off and then creating the image again seemed like a fruitless venture and I felt like a complete failure.
Rully and Tape felt I should take a break for a while and do nothing. Then all my thoughts came.
I must have felt like that because I have not been challenged (technique-wise) in such a long time, and the process was based on a simple concept, yet it was also difficult to master. Yet, in the midst of feeling this way, I also felt extreme happiness from being able to be put to the challenge of creating a print. I had been working non stop for the past few days, fueled with this energy that looks forward to producing a print, and I told Rully , 'It brings me so much joy to be working in a printmaking workshop'. And I broke down. I never thought I would experience this feeling again in my life, but I feel it everytime I am working here in Jogja. This is life! And today made me realise why I went to art school. It is tough, but it is worth it.
I thought I would stop printing for the day as it was 9pm already.
But Tape commented in Javanese, which Rully translated, 'that's just your excuse'.
I calmed myself for a while, and stepped into the workshop again and did not exit till midnight.
I continued to tear while I made my prints.
I told myself I cannot let down the people who have given me their utmost support and encouragement, so I had to do them proud, and I have to produce good work.
As I pulled the first print, I closed my eyes and kept my fingers crossed.
IT WAS GREAT!
And I realised that I understood the steps finally.
I could even rectify the problems when it came up on the plate.
I completed printing my first edition of alugraphs, although inconsistent, but I was really happy.
It is such joy that nobody can replicate, and I must continue to pursue this.