Cutting Linoleum – The Aftermath

Isn’t that a better title than “Cutting Linoleum part 2”? It sounds so ominous. It sounds like all of my predictions of perfection were ill founded and destined for failure. Well, happily that is not the case. I pulled five proofs (a “proof” is sort of like a test run for prints) and I was very happy with them all!

I was unable to wait until I had a proper block of time to print, so I hastily spread out my stuff in between classes today. I like to print my linocuts by hand if I’m only doing a few. For a larger edition, I will break out the press. In the picture below the ink and brayer (roller) are pretty self-explanatory, as is the inked block. But what is that brown disk just to the top right of the block? That is called a barren and it’s a small disk that is covered with a bamboo leaf. The barren is what you use to rub the back of the paper when it is placed on the block. (Alternately, I have an old wooden spoon that has been worn to perfection over many years of use.)

My ad hoc print station
I printed on two kinds of paper. The first proof was pulled on one of those handmade Thai papers that has little bits of plant matter imbedded in the fibers (the smallest of the five proofs above). It turned out nice, but I wanted to try a different paper. Kitakata paper is a thin, silky Japanese paper that is great for relief printmaking and the remaining four proofs are printed on this paper.
The human gaze is met with a nonplussed poultry stare.

This is the resulting print. I love the lines in linocuts. They are different from drawings, I would say they are more unrefined, but that is not really true. Each of the lines in a linocut has been cut once on the left, once on the right and then further trimmed by the blade until it is just right. So if anything, the lines in a linocut are far more refined than those in a drawing. But they still retain a naive quality that drawings do not necessarily possess. Whatever the case, I really, really like them.

I am very happy with this print and will pull an edition of it in the next week or two. The edition will be limited to 25 numbered prints on Kitakata paper. In addition to this there will be 5 prints hand colored using watercolor. The prints measure 6.25″ x 4″. Since you are obviously dying to get your hands on one, you may purchase these prints at my Etsy shop here.

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