Monday, January 14, 2013

Printmaking as Contact Sport

It's too bad that the back of my neck and fingers of my right hand are probably the only parts of my body that don't really need a workout, because they're getting one!

Here's the first color on "the long lino," an effort that took nearly 3 hours to complete (15 sheets) since I was burnishing by hand. This is one of those times that a real press would come in real handy.

But I don't have one, so hand-rubbing it is. That was Friday, and I spent large parts of Saturday and Sunday carving. Not a particular break for either neck or hand.

I am nervous about registration on this baby, but the second color went down just fine. Granted, it only went halfway across the block, so who knows what will happen when I have to print a color that has to register along the entire 32-inch length. The block hangs out of the jig by more than a foot. But so far, so good.

Maxing out my printing space.
Here 'tis with the second color applied.

Only two hours to print 15 sheets this time. It's probably a good thing that I have to give my attention to a contract project tomorrow, I think my hand needs a break. But it's pretty darned exciting to be working this size! I'm already thinking about the NEXT big print.

I've said it before: Happiness is a full drying rack.
And speaking of big prints... stay tuned for news about a hugely (and I mean HUGEly) exciting project coming up this spring. (Hint: Think industrial machinery.)


  1. Well, I was going to suggest you get in touch with the chaps who use road rollers...but you've hinted at something like that!

  2. :-D No sneaking things past YOU, Dinahmow!

  3. Exciting to be working on a large scale. What kind of barren to you use? Can you use a large brayer to press the print? I recently watched a video on reduction lino printing and she had this awesome press and it took her about 20 seconds to pull a print. I can imagine how having that kind of gear would change your life!

  4. looking good so far :D

    i would kill for a press, but its either have a bed or get a press and sleep on the floor :p

  5. Handprinting a three foot linocut!! Not throwing down a gauntlet to the rest of us baren users are you?

  6. Wow, I'm impressed (as usual) with what and how you are doing this! My girls often look at my hands and suggest I get a manicure to rub away the paint and the pain! Might help. Happy New Year to you, Sherrie!

  7. Marta... I use the plastic/nylon "Japanese disk baren"from Daniel Smith: I'd love to try one of those ball-bearing ones, especially when wrestling something this size, but they're pricey!

    Jen... you could put a mattress on the press when you're not using it... although in this case you'd want the BIGGEST possible press so you had room to stretch out at night. ;-)

    Dunno, Stuart... I suppose that depends on whether or not you pick up aforementioned hypothetical gauntlet.

    Oh, Carole... my nails are a constant WRECK. Broken and ragged all the time. (sigh) Good thing I have no aspirations to be a hand model.

  8. Kindred spirits - all of you! Steamroller printing becomes an event here - there is one in Atlanta in April. LOVE IT! We're thinking we'll divvy up a print into smaller blocks so that we can actually get it done. Of course the block lines will show so the challenge is in the content. Anyway, SOOOOO impressed you're doing this by hand. I have that baren and don't think I achieve good color. I've put parchment paper over it to help it roll smoothly and not squash the paper, but still....What paper are you using? And where the heck does one get lino that big??!! Good for you, can't wait to see more. LOVE your blog and your talent. Happy day, Holly

  9. Hi Holly... Ooh! Have you done the cutting-apart-printing-with-steamroller method before? I'm writing specs for my as-yet-unannounced (except in obscure blog comments) steamroller project and one of my participants has asked about cutting their large block apart. I don't know if there's a minimum block size that will work without too much shifting or buckling when reassembled.

    As for paper, I'm using Awagami Kozo, which is fairly thin. I did a series by hand on Rives BFK once... 'bout killed me. I do place a sheet of glassine or tracing paper between print paper and baren when burnishing.

    And as for big lino, I bought a package of 24 x 36" unmounted sheets from Dick Blick.
    They'll sell it to you in rolls, too, if you're REALLY ambitious.

  10. For the first time ever I have read a complete blog from start to finish, and it has taken me the best part of a very enjoyable week.

    Your blog has been very entertaining and hugely inspiring, and I am about to continue with a new lino reduction print this afternoon, before the light goes...

    Many thanks, and I hope this new long print is as successful as your previous work. Jane

  11. Sherrie, you could try contacting Nick Morley about the roller events (scroll through this post to see a print)

    I just missed being part of one last year in Oxford.I had a meeting in London!

  12. Hi again,
    Just got your query re: steamroller printing. Turns out we might do something local here - still working through details. We've talked about a group cutting a block into individual pieces that we each can manage and not caring that there will be evidence of all those blocks in the final print. Still working through all this. Just didn't think any one person could handle all the work involved in one print! Details to follow - and would love to hear more about what you're doing!