Tag Archives: Colombian Press

The Name Game

21 Mar

21 stu 1

One of the things I find hard to do is think up names for my artworks. I don’t want to number them #1, #2, #3 and so on. And I don’t like to label them ‘Untitled’, so I often struggle to name a piece. This little lino block of a dancing March hare was easy though.

21 stu 2

Obvious really. Disco ‘Rabbit’ Stu. 😉

Based on an original drawing, cut into lino, printed onto Japanese lightweight hand-made paper with black oil-based litho/relief ink using a Colombian Press at Swansea Print Workshop.


Hares And Colombians

3 Mar

hare 1hare 2

I’ve been doing a lot of drawings from British wildlife photos and I’ve started to cut little lino blocks from them. I’ll be taking these to Swansea Print Workshop soon to ink them up and print them on the old Columbian Press, one of my favourite pieces of machinery. I’ll probably use an oil-based relief/litho ink in black onto a white Japanese paper and limit the editions to 30 or 40 each.

hare 3

Here’s a Colombian, isn’t it lush? The one at the print workshop dates from 1855. I love antique machinery and tools.

Colombian Press


Pressing The Piggah!

24 Apr

23 press

I spent the afternoon at Swansea Print Workshop, inking and pressing a little lino block I’d cut earlier this week. The subject is Arthur, the Mangalitza boar from Pontyates. I forgot to take my digital camera so tried using the camera on my phone. It’s rubbish and really complicated to get the image onto my computer, involving something called Blueray, Husb’s smartphone and emails. I won’t bother again. Anyway, here’s a blurry picture of the magnificent Colombian Press, dating from 1855, with the inked block ready to go.

24 arthur

I’m just in the proofing phase at the moment, tryng out different papers, inks and pressures on the Colombian. This one is printed using Intaglio Printmakers Velvet Black litho ink (oil-based) onto a very white, lightweight Japanese hand-made paper.

Things to Do With a Four Inch Screw

17 Sep

Instead of lino or wood for making block prints, I use offcuts of ‘Foamex’ signwriters’ foam board, which local firms throw out, so it’s free AND recycled. It isn’t easy to cut with conventional cutting tools as the blades need frequent sharpening, which I do with a leather Slip Strop, but it’s very easy to press and incise using old biros, nails, screwdrivers and chisels. I made my own specialist tool with a four-inch screw with a bit of masking tape wrapped around it – low tech and very cheap. I like this method.

I can incise very straight, fine lines with the four-inch screw and a steel ruler. Most soft woodblocks would split and fray at the edges with such fine lines, and lines in lino would probably distort when going through a press but this method gives lovely crisp lines. The screw also makes a fine dotted texture if you just jab it in repeatedly.  I also like to use a cross-head screwdriver to punch textures into the surface – it’s very therapeutic! Flat head screwdrivers and small chisels can be tapped onto the surface with a tiny toffee hammer. Biros give a lovely scribbly texture but are a bit hard on the hand as it takes a fair bit of pressure. I think this method involves far more mark making and is much nearer to drawing than using lino or wood.


Foam block ready to print.

This is a foamblock ready to print. It’s a portrait based on a drawing I made from a photograph I took during a trip to Pakistan a few years ago. I used conventional cutting tools for part of it, along with my four-inch screw to do the lines and dots and a cross-head screwdriver to do the decoration on the hat. The photo was taken after I’d cleaned it up after a printing session.

Block print: Islamabad Man #1.


This is the block printed up. I did an edition of 20, printed in Intaglio Printmakers black litho/relief ink onto Zercoll 145gsm paper, using a Colombian press which was made in 1855. I love it – there’s a carved brass plate on it and a large cast-iron gryphon that rises up when you pull the handle. Class!







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