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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Making Substitutions.

So...when I don't feel great, mentally, I tend to do stuff that I don't enjoy, on the principle that a.  things can't get much worse, and b. I'll feel a lot better when I've completed whatever it is.  Of course, completing things takes me a lot longer than it would a healthy person, so the gratification element is usually delayed, but I did get a couple of those boxes unpacked.  And found my millinery stiffener, which is great, and some more softcut, which is not so great, given that I'm finding cutting blocks difficult.

That said, I've been doing a little here, a little there, when I feel energetic enough, and this one is ready for a trial print.

I've been lino printing for a long time, but I still find it difficult to gauge whether I've carved away enough of the surplus 'stuff'' for it not to print when it's inked up.  With softcut in particular, it's really easy to carve right through the block, which, of course, you really don't want to do (it affects the integrity of the block).  Yes, I did it on this one...just a very small cut through to the base, but I'm annoyed with myself all the same.  The only way to tell if you have got rid of enough of the 'stuff', of course, is a test print, because it shows you where the ink is going.  If it hits an area you don't want to print, you need to carve that away.  When I eventually get the other two boxes unpacked, and the studio cleared, I'll get that done.  Though I might wait until the other blocks are cut, first.  Here they are :

As you can see, the one on the left has been started.  It's really fiddly, and I thought, wish I'd made a stencil, instead of a lino block, would have been a damn sight easier to cut, and given pretty much the same effect...  Click.  So, if I do want to make a lino cut in future, perhaps the sensible substitute would be a stencil, either hand printed, or screen printed.  I got rid of the Very Large screens I had, but kept one small one, so that would work. 

It does beg the question, though, as to why I'm doing this at all.  Lino cuts are made so that you can produce an edition of several prints, rather than a one off print.  Let's face it, with all that work just to carve the block, you really would want more of a return that one piece.  And I don't do editions.  I get bored....and I'm no longer selling work, so what would be the point? 

Well, that train of thought stopped me in my tracks :why am I doing this exactly?  Well...for two reasons, possibly three.  The first is that I like the effect of a lino block; it's different to a hand painted motif, usually more definite.  Secondly, whilst I will only probably print these up *as a block* once, or maybe twice, I think that this shield/spear imagery will feature in more work, so though I may not print the block in its entirety, I will print elements of it.  Thirdly, and most spuriously...I can.  And I've got the stuff.  That isn't a good reason, of course; just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.  Which is why I'll probably sell the rest of my softcut to someone who will use it.  It did strike me that I could use it as the base for mono printing (I'm still refusing to buy a Gelli Plate, don't see the point, strikes me as an expensive fad).  So I may try that; not sure if it'll work or not, but it's worth a try, and I'd rather use what I have than go out and buy More Stuff.


Robbie said...

I still print with my carved blocks I did over 5 or 6 years ago. Seems like it comes in handy when I want to do something different...never thought of using the plain block in place of geli matt! Who knew! Not me..thanks for the suggestion!

artmixter said...

You're very welcome, Robbie. I moved house recently, and threw out a lot of my blocks, some of which I'd had for ten years or more. They're good for frottage, too, fwiw.