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Mark to Impress

Maria G Pisano’s article “Mark To Impress” was just published in The California Printmaker’s Journal of The California Society of Printmakers 2018, The New Print: Marriage of Technology and Tradition. The article focuses on two recent books, published by Memory Press, Colors of Memory and Caudex Folium. Both works use the new media of laser cut wood and plexiglass plates alongside collagraphs and stencil plates to actualize the text and designs of the pages.

As an artist, my principal mode of expression is through the artist book. Artists books are all encompassing in that they synthesize the fields of drawing, painting, print and printmaking media, papermaking, text, book design and any other creative venue, be it written or graphic. The book structure in its many creative outlets can be used to bring together all other fine arts components into a unique mode of expression. Book arts can combine the old and the new; from papermaking to computers, and as an expressive form can be used across disciplines.

Relief printing plates have traditionally been carved with knives, gouges and been engraved on wood, stone, metals, etc. This is a laborious process, and in older times different artists specialized in creating the design, cutting the printing matrix and doing the printing. Creating fine detailed images was extremely difficult; laser plates do not have these constraints, once the photographic digital image is rendered, the machine respond to the finest line and detail. There is a hiccup however, laser-cutting text in relief creates problems- there is not enough remaining surface to hold the closely cut letters, and this required a novel cutting and printing approach.

Technology is just another tool and my use of laser cut wood and plexiglass plates to actualize the enclosed books’ designs is both liberating and another mode of creating the surfaces from which I can hand print my pages. I can devote more time on the design, printing and binding of the work. These laser plates are created outside my studio, returning to the old system of collaboration between different makers.

For more details on the books in the accompanying images please visit:

Colors of Memory: Theme – patterns of nature as they reflect one’s life passages.

Caudex Folium: The book celebrates the Survivor Tree’s return to the 9-11 Memorial Plaza and resilience. -