Twin Dragon Press is John Saling, Engraver.
Engraving is unlike any other form of drawing. Rather than pulling the “drawing” tool, one hand pushes the burin through the copper while the other hand turns the plate. The resulting line can vary from half a hair’s width to thicker than a pencil line. The burin and copper create a low sculpted effect in which lines rise over other lines and stand above the plane of the paper when printed. Each line is affected by the way the burin enters and leaves the copper.
The shapes resulting from the engraved line can be dramatic and structural, informing the curve of an eyelid or the direction and texture of the bark of a tree. I love line – both the building up of texture and form with short dots and dashes and the long descriptive curves that can run the whole of the plate. I use a number of tools and methods to form texture, and I generally work directly on the surface of the plate without a secondary medium such as acid. I use both traditional tools and tools I have adapted or have made myself.
My study of printmaking began in 1964 in Seattle, and I acquired a spectrum of techniques from continued studies in Detroit and New York City. Eventually, engraving became the best medium for the kind of work I wanted to create.
I was born in Portland, Oregon, and have been a print maker here since the 1970s. Art-based travel in 2013 and 2017 to Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands and France has refreshed and challenged my perceptions. I have shared my knowledge of printmaking and my enthusiasm for hand pulled prints through teaching, collaborative projects and involvement in the local printmaking community.