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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Linoblocking Like a Pro

After months of toiling away at my kitchen table, I attended my first Open Studio printmaking course last night and experienced what it was like to make a print with proper inks and a real press. The class was fantastic and some of the examples our instructor showcased as an introduction to the topic of relief printmaking were absolutely mind blowing! After struggling through semi-intricate two inch stamps, it is inconceivable for me to imagine the amount of time, energy, and precision that goes into a 2 x 3 foot print. Seeing that level of skill executed by a local artist seriously restored my creative motivation.

For my own print, I decided to use an idea that I'd had floating around in my notebooks for a few months: a fossil! I've carved most of my prints as a positive image surrounded by negative, carved space, but with a real press at my disposal (i.e. no more ink distribution issues), I decided to carve the image out instead.

We worked with oil-based inks and rollers, which were both new to me. I've been using water-based ink (easier clean-up) and painting it on the image by hand (hence, the consistency issues). The oil-based inks were so lovely to work with because they left such a rich colour impression on the paper. If only I had a twenty foot glass table surface and mechanical press to play with at home!

I loved how the prints turned out and was sad that the three hour class zipped by in no time at all. I took so much time with my initial carving that I didn't even have time to experiment with two colour printing, which was definitely disappointing. The key for me now is to come up with some good, simple designs for the next three classes so that I don't waste too much time thinking of an image or starting with an image that's too complex.

Ideas... inspiration... dinosaur bones! Pretty much the perfect way to spend a Monday evening.

This first class has me even more excited for the next three. After all of my stamping experiments, the lino class felt a little bit like familiar territory, but lithography, screenprint, and etching will be totally new ground.

Of course, while I'm busy dreaming of new printmaking enterprises, I also have to get down to business with my Christmas cards. My paper shipment has arrived and I've got some serious work to get done if I want to fill all of my Christmas orders by December 1st!


  1. These are incredible! And I for one feel that they would be completely acceptable as (very large) Christmas cards...

  2. Thanks, guys!

    And thanks for the great idea, wren. I'm going to carve a little candy cane fossil into the print and then mass produce it. Nothing says Christmas like Jurassic-style humour!