What do you do again?

So what do you do exactly? I get that question often! Today I am going to try to give a little overview of what I do. There can be a little confusion when a client wants me to make something that can’t really be done the way they are envisioning with linocut. Some examples being- resizing current prints (Digital) or tiny typesetting for invitations (Letterpress) or just very personal customization like changing names or images.

Here to clear a little of that up: I am a Linocut Block Printer. I hand sketch the design, then use sharp tools to hand carve that sketch into a block, and that block is used to hand print the image using ink and pressure. Once the image is carved very little can be changed. It can take days or weeks just to carve one block. I started block printing to be able to produce something handmade but could be reproduced a number of times.

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Make any sense? Here is a longer more detailed version:

 WHAT IS BLOCK PRINTING?

Block Printing is one of the oldest types of printmaking that originated in Asia. The orgin of this style began with wood but can also be made with linoleum(linocut), Styrofoam or other mediums. What is printmaking you ask? Printmaking in general is creating “master plate” from which multiple images are made with the use of ink and pressure.

There are four our main types of printmaking.  Some may be familiar some not so much.

Examples:

-Relief (“raised surface” Ink stays on top of plate. Such as Woodcut and Letterpress)

-Intaglio (“cut surface” Ink goes down inside of plate. Such as Etching)

-Planography (“flat surface” Ink stays level on the plate. Such as Lithography stone or  metal using the reaction of grease vs. water)

-Serigraphy (“block-out surface“ Ink is sectioned off in the plate. Such as Silkscreen)

Relief printing is a technique for producing patterns by means of carving a design into a type of block. The raised part (part left un-carved) is coated with ink and then able to print the design on fabric or paper. Images that are printed with this technique are typically much bolder than other types of printmaking. Since the blocks are carved by hand, there is often less detail and more texture to the prints. Typically block printing is done by hand, so the ink sits on the surface adding a raised texture to the paper unlike in letterpress, where it is typically indented into the paper with a press.

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Block printing is one of the easiest forms of printing to try if you are interested. A press isn’t needed and most supplies are easy to find.

HOW TO BLOCK PRINT:

Everyone varies in technique but here are the basics:

1. DESIGN: Starting with a sketch then transfer sketch unto a block. The printed image will be the reverse of what is on the block.

2. CUT: Using various tools made for carving, carve away the parts that will be the without ink Producing positive and negative space.

3. INK: Ink is rolled out with a brayer making a thin sheet of ink on a surface such as glass, and then spread onto the block. The ink will stick to the parts that were un-carved.

4. PRESS: Taking a piece of paper and laying it carefully on top of the block and pressing with a barren or a preferred tool such as a wooden spoon to transfer ink onto the paper.

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MY Nashville

“My Nashville” came to being right after I moved here. I met a couple friends.. all of us from small towns.. we just fell in LOVE with our new city. The first time I recall saying the phrase “My Nashville” was on the way back from a multi day kayak trip with my friend originally from South Carolina. As we came around the bend and saw our beautiful skyline we both said together “AW! Its My Nashville!” We laughed that we said the same thing and ended up watching the 4th of July fireworks over our skyline from the interstate that night.
That wasn’t the last time I said it. I find myself saying it alot. Maybe on the way back from a long trip or after shopping a couple miles away.
Now, I have called Nashville my home for 7 years and have found its not only my friend and I who say it… alot of people do. Even my little 4 year old daughter started screaming “My Nashville!” as we turn the bend on the interstate.. turns out, she loves this city too! So here, I made a print for all of us who call Nashville “MINE”!
To purchase visit MY ETSY STORE

Sundown Print Pt.2

We are just gonna ignore the test print pictures ok? They just arent pretty. I usually use some cheap paint or mix up a color I’m not sure about so that I’m not wasting my good color ink. I test at least once or sometimes up to 10 times. This is the process where I get all my kinks out, find where I didn’t carve out enough, or have uneven lines. 
This is also where I see how bad my mistakes are… like really big mistakes. I made a very large mistake at the beginning so I had to figure out how to make it work. I was humming along until my cutter took a long route straight out of the sun. I seriously screamed out loud thinking there was going to be NO way to fix it. The good thing is sometimes mistakes make a design even better. 
I was really unsure of the colors to use so I asked everyone in the group if they wanted any specific colors. It came out to be a broad range so I tested out colors thinking I would use one singular color on the print. I promised one person I would do an ombre’ look thinking it would be to difficult and time consuming to do multiples. I ending up loving it and doing the most of those since it turned out easier than expected. 
Here is step 2 
Block inked with a brayer and ready to be pressed. 
I use a mat the same size of my paper to help with the centering of the image. With luck I set the paper, lightly rub it with my hands to make the image adere so that it dosent slide around while pressed. I dont have an actual press at this time but I like hand pressing so I am ok with that. :) I use a baren which is like a flat disk with a wooden handle(or a wooden spoon) . Then finish it by pressing with my hands one final time.

Cranking the greens and blues out. I am in serious need of a drying rack.
My dining nook turned studio. It hasn’t seen food very much lately. 
Final Blue/Green
I seriously get ecstatic when I roll out the ink.
I am need of one more brayer if I am gonna do the ombre’ more often. It worked with two but I had to do alot of mid washing.
Final Red/Orange

Click here to see Sundown print Pt.1 if you missed it.