Saturday, November 15, 2008

Linocut blues

I promised myself that my first priority today would be to finish the carve and printing for the fourth color on the new, insane, shell linocut. (If you missed the beginning of this printmaking adventure, you can find it here.) So here we are, all inked up and rarin' to go.

The color went down okay... but there are still some strange things happening with some sheets of this (Hosho) paper. A few of them behave as though the paper has some sort of greasy resist to it. Heck, I dunno. So far it's not entirely a deal-breaker for those sheets, we'll just have to see as the rest of the colors unfold. I've started with 20 sheets, hoping for an edition of 12-15 prints when the image is complete. So far I've wrecked one for certain: wasn't watching my registration carefully and the third color went down 1/4 inch to the right of where it should have. Oops.

Since I was on a roll (was that a printmaking pun?), I cleaned up after color #4 went down and started the carve for color #5. It's looking now like I'm headed for at least seven colors on this beast. Hmmmm. I have an idea in my head now of where I'd like this thing to go, but what I would LIKE to have happen and what actually DOES happen... one never knows.

The nice thing about this next color is that I finally get to step away from the blue shades of the mussel shells. Preserving the blue in each of the shell shapes means clearing all those areas of lino material.. and that means bigger gouges to clear larger areas and more discernible progress. Observable progress is good for morale.

I have to call it a day now, since my neck and shoulders are getting sore (occupational hazard of spending too much time bent over carving tools), but I hope tomorrow to finish this next carve. It will be a few days before the prints are dry enough for the next color, but there's plenty to do between now and then!


  1. It's enchanting having the opportunity to watch this awesome process, Sherrie. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Wow, this is going to be stunning! Can't wait to see how it turns out. :o)


  3. Lovely work Sherrie. From your third pic, it looks like you have your lino mounted onto a board. I this correct? I'm just trying to get into linocutting, and opinions I'm getting on mounting the lino seem to vary from person to person. Do you find it works better mounted?

  4. Robyn and Jen, thanks! I'm feeling nervous about how it's going to turn out after all this... but you just never know until you're done!

    Colin - Yes, my blocks are mounted on 3/4" mdf (pressboard), and generally I do it myself. When I am working in reduction I use a registration jig that I built, and in order to keep the paper flush with the plate and the jig, I need this height.

    I also find it easier to carve mounted lino. I used to carve lino unmounted, but especially on larger pieces I found it would bend as I was carving. I nicked more fingers and made more overcuts on unmounted stuff.

    For little tiny stuff, a 3/4" mount is a little ungainly, because there's no place to rest your hand while you carve. 1/4" masonite works better for little stuff.

    Clear as mud?

  5. Thanks Sherrie. Much clearer than mud ;)

    I've only taken this craft up recently (having a background in screenprinting), but have found it tricky to hold unmounted lino steady when cutting - with a few narrow squeeks already. Mounting looks the way to go.

    Good luck with the next colours ;)