The technique of printing hand-pulled copper prints, which is regarded as one of the finest techniques in printing, has remained practically unchanged since the 16th century. It is very time-consuming and requires from the printer both a high level of aesthetic sensitivity as well as handicraft skills. All our copper engravings and photogravures are hand-pulled prints.
THE INKING PROCESS
The ink is carefully applied to the copper plate with a brush and a roller.
It is then wiped off by the printer with wide-meshed gauze balls, quite often using fingers and the heel of the hand. So the ink remains only in the etched part, while the free areas are wiped clean. A good printing result depends to a large extent on the aesthetic sensitivity of the printer.
THE PRINTING PROCESS
As in the days of Dürer, each single print is pulled by hand. This is the only way to preserve the treasures of this old art of printing.
The print is created by pressing the paper into the inked plate with a pressure of around 16 tons. Preceding this step, the heavy handmade paper is soaked with water so that it can absorb the ink from the impressions of the plate like a sponge. Thus the image is transferred from the plate to the paper. As each print is pulled only once, the results always vary a little, making each print an original. Before starting the next printing process, the plate has to be carefully re-inked and wiped clean.
DRYING AND POLISHING
Once printed, the paper is dried and the prints are flattened for two days in the screw press, to ensure a perfect result.
To show all the details as perfectly as possible, the print is then coloured by hand with water-colours, carefully applied with a brush by an Italian colourist.