Fine Traditional Printmaking in Copenhagen, Denmark

There is nothing like a vacation abroad to open your eyes. Our trip to Copenhagen was no exception. The number of fine printmakers within that city rivals any other city in the world.  Henrik Boergh recommended we visit here after giving us a grand tour of his studio a few miles away.  Our conversation had not prepared me for the magnitude of this operation or the friendliness of the artisans running the place.  It was all at once educational, joyful, and a great connection to the tradition we follow in fine, archival printmaking.

Here are some of the highlights.

We had the pleasure of visiting the Niels Borch Jensen studios in Copenhagen over Thanksgiving (2017)

Having to find the studio by bus in Copenhagen was a grand adventure that required some planning and assistance from the many kind people there.

One of the most jaw-dropping photogravure from polymer plate was just tacked to their entryway bulletin board at Niels Borch Jensen’s studio.  Alas, the photogravure master had left for the day. Next time I will plan my visit better. I would love to learn from him directly more about how he did this!

Mitte gave me a fabulous tour and was most generous with her time and experience. She  has been working at the studio as a professional fine printmaker since 1989!

We looked over a cross section of about 50 years of fine printmaking in the hour plus I visited the studio.

In Master Printer Niels Borch Jensen’s office! This Keith Haring piece was printed at the Copenhagen studio where I was visiting in the 1990s.

Mr. Jensen regularly sends his printmakers to art openings in America, Berlin, and all over the world. Mitte had just returned from an art opening in Atlanta. Thanks for a grand tour!

How to Avoid Wavy Prints

Avoid wavy prints with Intaglio Editions!

Wavy prints can be avoided by doing some simple preparations.

You finally got to the point where your prints are coming out beautifully — with rich solid blacks and wide range of tones. Heaven!

There’s only one problem: The print is not flat! In fact it’s got some warping that’s pretty severe.

The good news: There is a solution to this horrible problem. The bad news: It involves more work! But don’t worry, it’s actually going to improve the quality of your prints in many ways, assuming smooth, continuous tone is important to your printmaking. These tips will allow you to ensure your prints are perfectly flat AND will have the added benefit of receiving the ink better and in a more uniform manner. This translates into more smooth, continous tone for your prints.

To avoid wavy prints with your intaglio printmaking, you can do 3 things:

 1) Calendar the paper along with the grain, prior to printing. The grain is indicated by looking under raking light at magnification, or knowing which way the watermark faces with respect to the grain.

2) Make sure you’re printing with the grain of the paper, as well as calendaring it with the grain, prior to printing.

3) Flatten the prints while still damp, in between blotter and boards using this procedure

Happy printmaking!

Snapdragon 2 - monotype by Jon Lybrook

Snapdragon 2 – monotype by Jon Lybrook