Click here to see my full list of goals for 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Busy Days

It's been an intense week at work, so I haven't been able to put a lot of time into my list. However, it did occur to me that the print I made for my sister satisfies number 75. Make a handmade gift for a special occasion. I expect that I will be adding more links to 75 over the year, but this is my first chance to technically scratch it off. Done!

And on that note, here's a photo of one of the final test prints for my sister's gift.

I'll be scratching off at least one other goal this weekend because my parents are visiting and we're planning to go the AGO. Hopefully, I'll also get a chance to write a few more posts before we head into March!

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Birthday Fun

Today is my sister's birthday and I spent a good portion of this weekend trying to make the perfect print for her apartment. Her decor is very funky and in a black and red palette, so I experimented with a town house print in the same colours. Unfortunately, in my haste to wrap up the final image, I forgot to take a picture. I do have a few 'making of' shots thought.

My other sister, TJ, also made a little something for the event... a birthday cake that is 50% Martha Stewart, 50% Cake Wrecks, and 110% tasty!

Happy Birthday, H!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MacGyver Would Be Proud

I experimented with a few more prints tonight, modifying my technique a little to try and improve the face image I carved on the weekend. I added water to the ink so that it would roll on thinner and transfer the image in a bit more detail. I also put masking tape, plastic wrap, and a cookie sheet to good use as a make-shift ink rolling surface. I really need to get a glass plate.

I've included a few pictures below of my super high-tech printing process (featuring the cookie sheet contraption and my feet as the press). Obviously, the prints would work a little better on a real press, but at least the stand-on-the-block technique feels more.... organic?

In the end, I did get some better prints out of the process. I saw little glimmers of what I'd hoped to achieve when I started carving the image. My goal for my next print is to properly embrace the traditional lino cutting technique and carve an image using thick, solid lines!

Also, as a side note, I'm going to make a conscious effort to reduce the number of exclamation points in my blog titles. Based on my list of February posts, my use of this symbol is clearly getting out of hand.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mystery Face... How Uncanny

No matter how many times I get poor print results, I can't seem to help carving out my lino images as if they're etchings. Today's project - carving an face image to accompany my short story - followed this pattern. The block looked good, but the resulting prints were too splotchy and messy.

They have a bit of a haunting charm, but I really would love to get one clean print from this style of block.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Once more... with feeling!

As my dear friend Bethany noted in the comment section of my last post, the little heart I'd drawn to mark the centre of my maze didn't make it into the final lino cut. I had never intended to keep the heart, but it turns out the little guy has some fans.

So back by popular demand...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Test Prints

I tested the maze print tonight. I'm still experimenting with getting the right amount of ink on the roller, but I did manage to get one good print out of seven.

I would really like to test this stamp using oil-based ink because I think I would get a cleaner print. However, oil-based inks are messy and definitely not a Tuesday night experiment.

P.S. Check out the awesome bumper sticker my buddy Robin slipped through my mail slot yesterday. Reunite Gondwanaland. Hilarious!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When I started carving my maze lino block this afternoon at around two o'clock I assumed that I had lots of time to finish and test the print before the Superbowl (Go Colts!). Not so. Seven hours later, I was still chiseling out the last few lines (give or take a few minutes for pizza eating).

Minus a few hand cramps, the carving went smoothly and I'm really excited to see how the print turns out. But right now I've got to get back to the game!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


My experiments with the trapezoidal prints on the weekend reminded me of an old passion I used that have for drawing mazes. The trapezoid prints were all narrow, straight channels and as I carved them I kept thinking about how cool it would be to create a labyrinth print. I started drawing mazes in high school to avoid doing actual math equations on my graph paper, and while creating mazes might not have helped me on any of my math exams, it certainly paid off tonight when I made my first attempt at designing one on a big 5x7 lino block.

First, I mapped out a very tiny grid.

Then I traced out the correct path as well as a few phantom ones to give the maze some structure. After shading in most of the correct path, I think started filling in the dead ends, erasing in certain places to ensure that I left lots of wrong options, bad turns, and dead ends.

It took me a little while to remember some of the techniques I used to use to fill in tricky spots (a much harder task than I originally anticipated), but then end result looks pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that for the time being I'm officially going to list this as Number 25 - Experiment with one large-scale lino block print.

Now all I have to do is carve it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Alter or Not To Alter...

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to make a few modifications to my 100 goals list and this has lead to a bit of an artistic crisis. I originally conceived of the list as a written-in-stone kind of thing, meaning I couldn't change or delete any goals - no exceptions!

However, in my rush to finish the list for January 1st, I fear I might have added a few goals that are, well, a bit silly. For instance, do I really need to learn to make a new cocktail (87)? I certainly enjoy a good glass of wine, but I seriously doubt that I need to know how to make a Tom Collins in order to expand my artistic horizons. Also, do I really need to make a pop-up book (96)? A POP-UP book? What was I thinking? Ditto for making a blurb book (55). I've already included a bunch of hand-made and graphic novel focused goals, so do I really need to make an online, templated photo book?

In addition to these problem goals, I've also started working on some new project ideas that aren't on the list (my lino cuts from last weekend, for instance), and I find myself wanting to replace some of my sillier goals with better projects.

I realize that no one is actually holding me to this list except myself (and you, dear readers, should you choose to reprimand me via the comments section), so technically I can change whatever I want. But I'm still torn about modifying the list too much and not holding myself to many projects that I do want to push myself to accomplish.

Maybe I should give myself a 10% leeway on the list - I can change 10 goals over the course of the year provided that I replace the existing goal with an equally challenging and worthy replacement.

A fair compromise?