Materials & Techniques


Printmaking requires a matrix, such as metal, limestone, wood, or linoleum, to act as the surface on which an artist creates a design to be transferred. Before the late 19th century, most artists submitted their designs to a middleman (for example, an etcher, an engraver, or a woodblock carver) for execution onto the chosen matrix. Also, until the late 19th century, all prints were mirror images of their design—that is, they were the reverse of the original image. Most designs are printed in an edition, or a set of prints created from the same matrix typically at the same time. Each print within an edition is recorded with the number of the individual impression, in the order it is pulled, and the total number of impressions made from the finished design, such as 5/25, or 5 of 25).

Excerpt from

Emily Schiller, Visions of America exhibition gallery text, 2016.