I didn’t wait too long before getting the press into service. After pressing a few books it was time to print something. I was going to use a lino block I had cut last year, but decided to cut something new as this was the first time. I decided to create a sort of “private press” style logo using the press itself as the motif. After a few abortive attempts I settled upon this one, quickly sketched out to give a good indication of the relief areas and traced in reverse onto the lino block using carbon paper:
I got a bit ambitious here – the design only measures 10.4 x 8.2mm so there was no way I was going to get the letters cut accurately, but hey, I may as well try. After transferring to the lino, I prefer to draw pen over the relief areas. This helps me to prevent cutting away the wrong parts!
Out with the old lino tools and after warming the lino for a few minutes (this softens the lino and prevents it from ‘tearing’ as you cut) I gouged out the edges to get a feel for the sharpness of the blades before getting into the details. Of course, I tackled the type first…
A quick word on the tools. For the edges and details I used the number 1 and 2 ‘v’ shaped blades (below, left) and a flatter number 10 ‘shovel’ shaped blade to take out large areas and remove the peaks created by the smaller v shaped blades. I often leave these peaks on for a more rustic look, but decided to go for something a little cleaner this time.
Health and Safety note – keep the fingers of your other hand behind the blade when cutting. (I expect many tales of linocutting injuries following this post…) Please observe the postition of my hands in the previous images.
I did the cutting over two evenings – this is quite taxing on the eyes and hands (Jeez – I sound like an old geezer!) but the surface textures of cut and smooth lino are just so lovely I had to photograph them!
And to finish, a quick check with a wax crayon…
I flipped this one over on screen just for the effect of comparison here. And now we go to print. I have just recieved a tin of water-based relief ink (Caligo 250gsm from GreatArt) so it’s out to the garage (a temporary home – I’m hankering after a cool garden studio). A small amount of ink goes a long way. Transfer out a smear (it’s the consistency of marmite!) onto a smooth surface – I’m using a spare kitchen tile and roll out smooth with a clean roller until it sounds like frying bacon. (Mmm, bacon!) and roll onto the block in all directions making sure that all the surfaces are evenly coated.
Into the press then. With the paper carefully placed on top and a J-cloth as a press blanket, a good amount of pressure was applied.
And the results? Well:
I did 5 prints in all, and my eldest daughter (Uppercase) also did one. She also took the last 5 photographs! They are drying at the moment so I will hi-res scan them in and post them soon. Oh, I’m such a tease!