Gamblin Artists Colors x Watershed
New limited edition ink named for new publishing initiative within our newest graduate program
It’s a big year for the Printmaking department at PNCA with a new MFA in Print Media launching fall 2014 and the launch of Watershed, a new fine art prints publisher. Printmaking chair Matthew Letzelter was brainstorming ways to let people know about the new MFA program he’d be chairing, imagining a product or material he could take with him to the Southern Graphics International Conference. “[Assistant Professor] Abra Ancliffe introduced me to Kristine Joy Mallari, Printmaking Product Manager at Gamblin,” Letzelter says. That’s the venerable Gamblin Artists Colors which happens to be located in Southeast Portland.
That meeting led to a collaboration between PNCA and Gamblin on a new limited edition relief ink, Watershed Grey.
Available through McClain’s Printmaking Supplies, Watershed Grey is a unique, recycled ink. It will never be the same ink two years in a row. That’s because it’s made by collecting ink samples from the rollers from all of the inks Gamblin has made in a year and combining them together.
For many years, Gamblin Artists Colors has made an oil paint called Torrit Grey. Every spring, Gamblin collects the pigment dust from the filters of the Torit® Air Filtration system they use to protect workers from the dust. This pigment is recycled into Torrit Grey which is never the same grey twice, but as Gamblin says, “tends to have a greenish tinge because of the great strength of the Phthalo Green pigment, which is a dark bluish green.”
This year’s Watershed Grey, is as McClain’s notes, “a very dark grey,” and similar to Torrit Grey has a greenish cast to it. The relief ink, highly pigmented, is used for wood block, letterpress, linoleum prints. And it can be added to a medium for etching and lithography.
It’s not the first time an ink has been created for a printmaking studio. Letzelter recalls precedents including a specific Pantone Blue for UCLA and Gamblin’s Drive By Black for Drive By Press, representatives of which visited the PNCA printmaking studio four years ago. But it was Letzelter’s background in working for Derrière L‘Étoile Studio in New York City as a professional fine art printer that initially got him thinking about a custom ink for Watershed. He thought he remembered a series of inks created for the legendary Gemini G.E.L. in the 70s.
The collaboration between PNCA and Gamblin continues as the Printmaking program will test inks for Gamblin. “I expect this to turn into more of a research component of the department,” Letzelter says.
This is not the only research in which the department is engaged. Letzelter recently purchased a 3D printer for the new MFA in Print Media program. It’s a hallmark of the PNCA Printmaking department that it honors traditional printmaking techniques while exploring and innovating new ways.
Meanwhile Watershed Grey is available through McClain’s but as they say on their website, “When it’s gone, it’s gone until the next year’s batch so order soon.”