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NEWSLETTER: VOL III, # 5, October 28, 1998

Printmaking On-Line: : The Development of aVirtual Textbook of Printmaking Techniques

Lisa A. Moline
Art Department, UW-Milwaukee

Printmaking is an artistic medium with a long and interesting history of technical innovations that encompass woodcut/relief printing, etching/engraving, lithography, screenprinting, and more contemporary processes that utilize aspects of photography and digital imaging. Printmaking has always been bound up with the history of "reprographic technologies," from Gutenberg to the laser printer, and therefore encompasses several hundred years of technical processes and procedures.

Because of the variety and scope of printmaking media, class time is often heavily devoted to technical demonstrations. In most Introductory Intaglio classes students are introduced to engraving, the "cutting edge technology" of the renaissance, as well as photo-etching and photocopy transfer techniques, which are much more recent innovations. In a given semester, as many as ten processes may shown to a class, which do not include demonstrations about use of the materials and equipment that are necessary to work in a particular printmaking medium.

The Printmaking On-Line (POL) project makes use of the World Wide Web as a repository for the enormous amount of printmaking information and procedures and helps make them more easily accessible for students to use outside of class, during their studio work time.   POL serves as a flexible virtual syllabus that allows for curricular innovations and developments; for example, the site can be added to and restructured so that it reflects the most recent innovations while still including time-honored, traditional processes.  The site also allows students to link directly to suppliers, museums, and other sites of interest on the World Wide Web.

Eventually, POL will serve as a full-fledged "Virtual Textbook" of printmaking techniques, and provide detailed, photographic documentation and illustrations of tools, equipment, materials, processes, and techniques more effectively than "hand-outs" or many traditional textbooks are often able to do. The principal faculty that have been working on this project are Lane Hall, Vicki Grafetin, and Lisa Moline, in the UWM Art Department.  In 1997-98, the project received an Undergraduate Teaching Improvement Grant to help in the ongoing development of this site.   Currently, the site is running from a local terminal (This is a temporary arrangement; the art department is housed in another facility while the Fine Arts Building is undergoing renovation.) and is not accessible at this time to outside browsers.  If you would like further information about this project, please contact Lisa A. Moline