Monday, May 21, 2012
My barens got quite a workout during my last few printing months and although they both have developed wear affecting their performance I had been putting off changing the bamboo-leaf skin/coverings as I had only two left and needed to finish printing my dragon prints before risking to be without--sometimes they'll split putting one on and it can't be used).
So I pulled out my two remaining new bamboo skins and changed the skins on the barens. This was now my third or fourth attempt and it is definitely getting easier--or at least--less tricky. I got them tight enough and fairly smooth and for the first time didn't tear or split the skins putting them on. They last less and less as I get better at printing; my first skin lasted more almost 2 years; these just a few months.
Here are the front/printing sides one with the skin off and one replaced:
Many printmakers make their own barens using thumbtacks, bead chains or bolt heads to create the slightly curved bumpy surface needed to print well held in place against a plywood disc with hot glue or epoxy resins. A google search of home-made barens will turn up good ideas for those wanting to make their own.
These Murasaki barens are available in the US thru the McClains printmaking supply website/catalog or from the Baren forum's supplies link (the Baren Mall: www.barenforum.org)