Tag Archives: block printing

The Block Block

11 Aug

big i

Here are the vinyl blocks I printed yesterday, inked up and ready to go. They’re about 7 x 9 inches each. They’ve been printed singly but I like the look of them grouped together in a block and might print a couple of sheets like this. But that’ll have to wait until after I’ve finished mounting and framing all the work for my upcoming exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards from August the 21st.

I drew, cut and printed these at Swansea Print Workshop on an antique Victorian Columbian printing press.

 

FINISHED!

10 Aug
big e

My vinyl block inked with black

Up and out early today to finish the second colour on the last four vinyl blocks. Done and dusted. I’ve made a series of 8 small and 4 not so small block prints for the exhibition I’m a part of in a couple of weeks. The imagery has been inspired by a visit I made to Berlin a couple of winters ago and in particular seeing the Berlin Holocaust Memorial under a deep white muffled blanket of snow. I’ve used softcut vinyl and Intaglio Printmaker’s relief / litho ink mixed 50:50 with extender onto Japanese Hosho paper. I printed them on the antique Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop, a beautiful example of Victorian machinery, still in use.

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The vinyl is very good, especially with the smaller pieces, but rather floppy which made placing the larger pieces a bit difficult. In future, I’ll glue larger blocks onto some thin plywood. I used the shiny side of the Hosho paper and found that mixing the rather stiff ink with extender gave the best results I’ve had so far with blockprints.

Next? Mounting and framing.

 

Ready For The First Cut

10 Apr

ready cuts

I’ve been preparing a stack of vinyl blocks ready for cutting. I’ve drawn on them, firstly in graphite then in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens. Each block will be printed in 4 stages; the first stage is to start cutting away the areas that will be white on the final print. Then I’ll cut the areas that will be a light grey, then the areas to be dark grey and the final cut will leave the areas to be printed in black. This is called the ‘suicide’ or reduction method as it progressively cuts away at the block until there is very little of it left. There’s no margin for error. It’ll be a lot of work to print an edition from all 12 blocks. It’s going to take a while.

Printmakers = geeks. It’s true 😀

Tea And Welshcakes

29 Mar

Hunza Elder Woman copy

I’m taking part in a ‘Museum Experience’ at Swansea Museum, beginning on March 31st and carrying through to May 17th. It’s called ‘PROCESS’, because it focuses on the processes that artists use to create their work. More than an exhibition of work on walls, ‘PROCESS’ also showcases sketchbooks, tools and materials to foster an understanding of how artists create art.

There’s an opening at Swansea Museum with tea and Welshcakes in a family-friendly event on Easter Sunday afternoon (April the 5th) from 2-4pm to launch it. You’re very welcome to join us in this fabulous Victorian museum, a proper cabinet of curiosities and there’s an art-trail for children to do as well.

The show, with other members of the 15 Hundred Lives collective, covers painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and electronic media, and there’s also a programme of interactive arts events throughout March, April and May.

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My part of the show features some of my block (relief) prints – lino, wood and foamboard. These portrait heads are based on photos and drawings I did during a visit to Pakistan and they’re incised into offcuts of Foamex signwriters board. It’s a fairly hard PVC foamboard that’s great for cutting very fine lines, much finer than you can get with lino or softwood. It’s the first time I’ve exhibited these portraits as a group. If you’re in the area, it would be lovely to see you.

Process, Process, Process

5 Mar

Artists make art, well most of us do anyway. And making art is all about process, starting with a germ of an idea and ending up with something on a wall, or a plinth. And that’s what I’ve been doing for a few days now, as well as fending of a nasty lurgi. I’m planning a group of small lino-block portraits. I’m starting from photographs but I want to work quickly so I’m Photoshopping them to speed up the process. Here’s one, starting with the original photo, then turning it to black and white, reversing it (so it transfers to the block properly), then finding a Filter that will minimise the tonal values. That’s as far as I’ve got today but I’ve been working on 25 of them. Eventually they’ll be printed as 4″ squares and mounted in a 5×5 square format.

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Tomorrow I’ll be transferring them to blocks for cutting.

 

Bristol And The Beeb

29 Jun

28 mud dock

Husb and I went over the border to Bristol today for a delightful day at Spike Print Studio, where three exceptional printmakers did a series of demonstrations and talks about their practice. We walked along the riverbank up to the Mud Dock Deli for lunch and sat upstairs on the mezzanine while I drew the punters queueing at the counter. The foreshortening was severe and they were all sorts of odd shapes.

I made visual notes during the demos by Aoife Layton (mezzotint and digital drawing), Fiona Kelly (contemporary block print and lino etching) and Ros Ford (from drawing to photopolymer intaglio). I also scribbled some of the faces there. Now I’m home, chilling to BBC 3’s excellent Glastonbury coverage.

 

Luscious Leftovers

27 Feb

27 leftovers 1

Had a full day at Swansea Print Workshop running a session on making miniature prints, to encourage artists to enter the Leftovers IV print exchange organised by the fabulous Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho, USA. We’ve been saving our scraps of leftover papers – gorgeous, luscious printmaking papers. I demonstrated two techniques: block (relief) printing using offcuts of signwriter’s foam board. The other technique, drypoint intaglio printing with paper drypoint plates – so cheap and easy to use and so much quicker than copperplate etching. Here are some artists getting down and dirty in the print studio. In the foreground is the most complicated cutting tool we use for these two techniques – a four inch screw with some masking tape wrapped around it :).

27 leftovers 2

Here are some of the drypoint prints done today………

………. and some artists even managed to do an edition to enter for Leftovers IV. Result!

27 leftovers 3

Block Block Block

17 Nov

 

Someone asked me about the difference in the final prints made by blocks in different materials so here are three I did earlier :). This top one is hacked from a piece of plywood. It’s very rough and choppy because the wood splinters when you attack it with the cutting tools and it also tends to split along the grain. Solid areas also show the grain when they’re inked up so it’s hard to get a solid black. Some expert printmakers, however, scratch the surface of the wood instead of cutting and gouging. This gives a very refined and delicate tonal quality – here’s a link to an accomplished Chinese printmaker, Xiang Sl, who does amazing huge portraits in this technique.

The next block print is one I did with PVC foamboard, used by signwriters. In Britain, it’s called Foamex. Signwriters usually give away their offcuts, so it’s free and recycled. Bargain. It doesn’t like being cut and blunts tools after a couple of gouges, but it loves being incised with the point of a nail or screw, the tip of a screwdriver or even a ballpoint pen, pressed hard. The solid white areas in this print are cut with conventional cutting tools, the fine lines incised with the point of a 4inch screw held against a steel rule and the dots were made with a crosshead screwdriver jabbed into the surface. It gets rid of a lot of stress. It gives very good blacks and you can do very fine linear detail, much more so than with softwood or lino.

Finally, here’s a reduction print in lino. I find it’s the easiest of the three to cut and the tools love it – they take ages to blunt. It’s great for getting lovely flowing lines, it’s like drawing with blades and you can be very free when you’re cutting into it, especially if you warm it gently before you start. Hhowever, you can’t get the very fine detail possible with PVC foamboard, because it squishes slightly in the printing press and finely cut lines can close up under the pressure.

Phew – that’s very geeky 😀

ps block printing is also known as relief printing.

Another Block Bites The Dust

1 Oct

And here’s another one in my series of block prints ‘Voyeur’. Here it is inked up just before printing, using Daler-Rowney block printing medium and Georgian lamp black oil paint, ratio two thirds to a third, taken with a bamboo Japanese baren onto Fabriano Accademica 120 gsm.

Proofing!

13 Sep

I spent the early part of the week cutting blocks and today I started to take proof prints. The proof is a trial print to see that the block [or plate or screen] is the way you want it to be and it gives you a chance to make alterations, like a bit of recutting. This is Voyeur #4 and I don’t think I’ll do any more work on it. The picture shows the block inked up, before I took the print.

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