Saturday morning. Papa cooked breakfast. Children happily occupied. I could have been ________ (insert one of the following: working, cleaning, washing clothes, doing taxes). Instead, I sat in our backyard on a sunny and surpisingly windy day, developing a new obsession. Linoleum Block Printing.
I recently dusted off the blockprinting supplies Papa gave me a few birthdays ago. I have been a sucker for a nice block print ever since our honeymoon, when we visited Nashville's Hatch Show Print. Just look at these:Inspired, I sketched a simple design for an Easter card. I transferred it to the linoleum by flipping it over and tracing it, applying enough pressure to lightly transfer the design, then darkened the lines with pencil. I used a Speedball cutting handle fitted with the #3 blade (for wide, deep outline cuts) and began carving away. I finished the design with the v-shaped #2 blade and the fine #6 knife for detailing.Papa then cut me a chunk of wood to mount the finished piece, so I'd have a nice handle to apply even pressure.I put block printing ink (water soluble) onto a piece of cardstock and used a brayer to evenly distribute the ink onto the linoleum.Then, I crossed my fingers. Ta-da! It worked!
I washed the block and the brayer and tried the design with silver ink (which I love) and green ink, on all manner of paper colors and textures. The prints aren't perfect, by any means, but they are each unique and I am proud of my first attempt.
LESSONS LEARNED: The detail knife should only be used for the finest of details, no scooping. Text is tricky and next time I'll transfer the letters more accurately, and with a more uniform thickness. Toothbrushes make fabulous block cleaners. And the second print off of a fresh brayer of ink is the nicest, I think.
For a great tutorial and other posts about stampmaking with and without kids, visit Gennine's Art Blog. Simply gorgeous.