Today's postings

  1. [Baren 40067] Barens (Andrew Stone)
  2. [Baren 40068] paper (Barbara Mason)
Member image

Message 1
From: Andrew Stone
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 2009 15:35:52 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40067] Barens
Send Message: To this poster

I've been collecting barens much the way a golfer gets new clubs or a new putter, imagining it will help his game, when he should instead be practicing more.
I started with the simple Plastic black baren which is quite serviceable especially with thinner papers (50-60g/m2) like the Nishinouchi or Rives lightweight.
I then splurged and got a Murasaki baren (medium/general use) and find it is a much more sensitive tool; it's convex, you can subtly change its shape by how tight you hold the grip, etc. But, although they make much rougher barens too on the thin papers, even the good ones it was often rough for any linear work (key blocks especially) and I found I'd get inkspotting with firm pressure in unwanted areas and despite being a tool that puts out good pressure it didn't work all that well on the French papers I was hoping to economize on (Rives BFK) . So I worked with those two for a while and worked on just printing and practicing.
Then I splurged and got a Ball-bearing baren but find that's still too rough and haven't quite got the hang of it yet (I still work fairly small when a big baren is just too bulky a tool). A few prints later after getting tired printing the key block with the plastic baren and pushing REAL hard. I dove again into the Baren mall and got another Murasaki soft/fine baren which I use for the key blocks and delicate work and although it isn't strong enough for color work it works really well on any keyblock block with mostly lines.
One of the big issues for me hasn't been the cost of the Baren, which is a one time purchase but the cost of the paper which for an edition of 20-50 prints can easily cost more than the price of the Baren if one is using good paper. Finding a way to decrease bad prints is fairly important when the paper cost is $20-30 a sheet and I find the better barens can lightly glide over the paper yet still get enough pressure to pull a decent print when it's line work and then get good pressure and good color blocks with firmer pressure. (I always use a backing sheet to try and extend the longevity of the baren cover and avoid pilling/damaging the back of the damp paper when I do multiple impressions). I just finished printing my exchange 42 prints on expensive, heavy 130g/m2 paper and the 2 murasaki Barens really worked well on the thicker Hosho paper.
My reject rate (botched prints due to faulty printing/ink blotches/etc) has plummeted and I think that has something to do with the barens being better matched to the paper and the fact that I have a few more prints and hundreds of impressions behind me.

Andrew Stone
Member image

Message 2
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 2009 16:40:25 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40068] paper
Send Message: To this poster

Try using Rives Heavyweight...this is what Matt Brown uses, you can see his work at He is printing in the Japanese method and his work is beautiful. I see he is going to be at Anderson Ranch in June...that is a lot closer for me than the east coast where Matt lives...I might just have to go take his class.
My best