Grace Bentley-Scheck was born in Troy, New York and now lives in Narragansett, Rhode Island where she maintains her studio, Sassafras Press. She holds BFA and MFA degrees from the State University of New York at Alfred University. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland and Australia and has been included in many private and public collections including The Portland Art Museum, Oregon, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee, and the Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island. She has been a full-time printmaker since 1972. Sassafras Press produces limited editions of collagraphs, original prints made from a matrix that is a collage of various materials. The matrix is inked in several ways and the ink offset on paper in an etching press. Bentley-Scheck is a member of The Society of American Graphic Artists, Boston Printmakers, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, The American Color Print Society, the Printmakers Network of Southern Rhode Island, The Art League of Rhode Island, and 19 on Paper.
Collagraphs are limited edition prints made from plates that are collages of paper, fabric, or other materials built up from a substrate. I make a drawing on tracing paper and use it to transfer shapes to thin, white paper. Paper shapes, adhered in layers, result in a low bas relief. Next, I adhere silk organza to the plate and paint areas of the plate with acrylic gloss medium to achieve a range of values. This technique is called silk aquatint because the weave of the organza holds and prints tiny specks of ink. The result looks much like traditional aquatint. Finally, I create textures using such materials as found objects or modeling paste. When the plate is complete, it is also sealed with acrylic, and I can intaglio ink it as I would a metal plate. Having more levels than a metal plate, I can add additional ink colors by rolling ink on the surface. Combining inks in this way provides many options for color effects achieved by choice of colors and the relative viscosities of the over and under colors. Printing a second plate over the first offers other possibilities. After many colors are applied, I cover the plate with dampened all-rag paper and special blankets that help force the paper into all the crevices and textures of the plate as it passes through the printing press. The press transfers ink to paper and also creates an embossment that remains after the ink is dried.