This winter Middlebury Studio School invited me to teach a linoleum block printing class.
One block, carved and cut apart into 4 pieces. The artist separated the pieces, inked each piece in a different color, reassembled them, and printed them as one piece.
I chose Blick Readycut blocks for our projects because it is easy to carve. I wanted to the students to try making a multiple color print, like the one above, using just one block cut into pieces in order to prevent registration problems.
I prepared for the class by doing another two color print of one of my favorite subjects: Dogs.
Even though I planned this to be a two color print, I carved it all as one piece. It is much easier to cut it apart later. Carving the words became very tricky- probably because my design didn’t leave them enough room.
I often trim off any excess block beyond the design if I don’t want to bother carving it all out.
Once the block was completely carved I used an exacto knife to cut it apart into two pieces.
After my students created a design, reversed it and transferred it to their blocks, they began carving away any part of the block that they DIDN’T want to show in their print.
Once the block is carved and cut apart, each piece is inked using a brayer. The paper is laid gently on top of the inked block and the back of the paper is rubbed with a hard smooth object-such as a spoon or baren.
Finally comes the Ah Ha moment when the paper is pulled and the finished print revealed.
In the end my dog print was only a partial success. The carved quote part was a mess so I discarded it and added some hand lettering instead. Hand adorned giclee prints available here.
For our last meeting I brought in large, cotton tea towels that could be printed using the blocks carved during the class. There were no rules but this was one beautiful and orderly result.
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