Teaching Linoleum Block Printing in Vermont

This winter Middlebury Studio School invited me to teach a linoleum block printing class.

20180131_183110_resized (1)

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.

Dogblock_10

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.

Dogblock_8

I often trim off any excess block beyond the design if I don’t want to bother carving it all out.

Dogblock_7

Once the block was completely carved I used an exacto knife to cut it apart into two pieces.

Dogblock_6

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.

dogsprint

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.

teatowel_1

If you enjoyed this post, please  follow me here: Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, my webpage , my Etsy shop, or Instagram. You can follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.

Advertisements

Making my ‘Rufus in the Tall Grass’ print, with the help of three experts.

I’ve been admiring the work of printmakers since I was a small girl and this summer’s project emulates three people whose work has influenced me. I’ve been collecting samples of the work of Andrea Lauren lately. She does small, two color prints using two separate blocks.

ac476be42e5e8dd66ea76d7dcbae43a2

Andrea uses two separate blocks and prints one over the other.

woodyjackson4

You could cut a block into more pieces as well and ink each piece separately. That’s what Woody Jackson did early in his career when he started cutting up zinc etching plates, inking each piece, and putting them back together like puzzles before printing.

I’ve loved Mary Azarian’s work since I was a teenager. Her hand-colored woodcuts of Vermont scenes and her illustrated books influenced my illustration work enormously.

b-barn

I am teaching at Hollins University again this summer-this time I designed a course called Printmaking for Illustration. To make a sample for my students I used all three of my printmaking idols as inspiration.

My new puppy Rufus has a foxy look similar to Andrea’s print, so I chose one of the dozens of reference photos I have and started designing my own two color linocut.

20170626_151955

I decided to use one block and cut it apart into two pieces-Woody Jackson style-right around Rufus. That made getting perfect registration a breeze.

 

20170626_160300

I start by coating the “inside” cut-out of Rufus in black ink with a rubber brayer.

20170702_131130_001

Then I mixed a yellow and a dark green and used them both to ink the grasses on the “outside” block. Sometimes the two colors mixed on the brayer, but I didn’t care-I wanted each print to be one of a kind.

I placed both parts of the inked up block into a custom cut cardboard jig, or frame, to hold them steady, then laid my paper on top.

20170702_131217

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make a print I’m merely rubbing the back of the paper firmly with an ordinary wooden spoon. I keep it fairly parallel to the paper so that it presses evenly and doesn’t rip this delicate sheet.

20170702_130947

I made a small edition of 20 prints using 2 colors of oil based ink.

20170702_150553

When these are dry I’ll hand color each one with watercolors, making them truly one of a kind, just like Mary Azarian does.

Three printmakers-four counting me-all different but with so much in common!

paintedprint