Guest post by Pamela Herrington, Scholarly Communication Graduate Fellow
Lithography enthusiasts and inquiring readers can now access volumes 1 to 13 of The Tamarind Papers on UNM's Digital Repository.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, lithography was a popular method used to print artwork or text from a stone or metal plate onto paper or other materials. Since the advent of personal computers and desktop publishing, lithography is now used primarily by artists and aficionados.
In the 1960s, a group of artists were concerned that lithography would be completely replaced by new technologies. These artists established The Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles to provide artists with training and supplies to support lithographic work. The institute was relocated to Albuquerque in 1970 after receiving a grant from the Ford Foundation.
In cooperation with the University of New Mexico, the Tamarind Institute first published The Tamarind Papers in 1974. The Tamarind Papers were developed as a means to share Tamarind’s technical and economic research, discoveries in lithography, and refinements to lithographic techniques. Garo Z. Antreasian’s article, “Lithographic Research and the Tamarind Archives” in volume 13, number 1, further explores the history of the Tamarind Institute and The Tamarind Papers.
The renowned Solenhofer Aktein-Verein quarries in southern Germany are examined in volume 1, issue 4. These quarries were known for not only producing exceptional lithographic plates, but were also “the source of some of the world's most important fossil discoveries.” Vernon A. Clark explains how craftsmen labored to produce high quality stones, using “sledges and wedges to loosen each piece of stone” while breaking the stone “precisely where they [intended] it to break” (p. 37).
Readers can learn about artists who are known for their work in lithography. One such artist is the distinguished American sculptor and printmaker Nathan Oliveria, who was interviewed in volume 6, number 1. Oliveria was the subject of nearly 100 solo exhibitions from the late 1950s to early 2000s and received several awards throughout his lifetime.
Readers can also check out volume 11, issue 1 to learn about John Sommers’ lithographic work. Sommers held the positions of Technical Director of the Tamarind Institute from 1975 to 1983 and Lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History at UNM from 1975 until his death in 1987. Also see more works by John Sommers on New Mexico's Digital Collections.
Furthermore, lithographic techniques are described throughout The Tamarind Papers. For example, in volume 1, number 1, the lithographic stone engraving process is described by Clinton Adams and John Sommers. In this article, the authors argue, “it is unfortunate that despite its great beauty, this process has been little used and that, as a result of disuse, the preferred procedures for processing the stone are not widely known” (p. 1).
Readers can also study various lithographic transfer processes such as the use of Charbonnel glossy transfer paper or Rives lithographic transfer paper in volume 1, issue 7. These transfer processes each require a different amount of water and pressure as well as a different number of courses through the press.
Check out The Tamarind Papers on UNM's Digital Repository!