Students Make a Good Impression in Printmaking Studio

Generations of Masters art students have used the old Charles Brand etching press that dates back to the mid-1960s. That long and layered history is precisely why Visual Arts Department Chair Cheryl Hajjar takes great pleasure in introducing her students to it each year.

“I, personally, love it, as I love printmaking in general,” she said. “This allows us to print intaglio, lino and mono prints in a highly professional way.”

As part of a series of drawing explorations, Hajjar asked the 15 sophomores in her Studio Art Major class to bring in an object that is special to them and draw it in different ways.

“First they drew the negative space around the object using India ink. Then they drew the negative space using more detail and added some other marks to give it more identity. They then coated a printing plate with ink and drew the highlights of that same object by wiping out the lighter areas that they saw; creating a reductive drawing,” Hajjar shared.

Anna Moscato ’25 chose to work with a sentimental locket that she wears every day. “I thought that because we were drawing negative space, the chain links would be interesting to explore,” she explained. “With the small gaps between the gold and the organic-like negative space the twists of the chain make, it could make the drawing a little more intricate.”

Her classmate Sien (Eunice) Wang ’25 brought in a Chinese ocarina, a woodwind instrument, that she has owned for about six years. “I drew it from different perspectives and saw the reflections it gave off under the sunlight,” she said. “It was interesting to observe something that seems so familiar to me and still be able to find new points of the object.”

Hajjar never tires of the students' reactions. “My favorite part of this lesson is when the student picks up the blankets from the press and reveals the printed image. I call this the “magic moment,” as it is always a surprise to see what is on the paper that is so different from what you saw on the printing plate.”

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