Saturday, January 20, 2007

Block Printing

I found a book called "Instant Printmaking: Simple Techniques to Try at Home" (I think) at the library. A great book---but there's not a lot that's simple to learn or easy to do at home. I guess that if it doesn't require a giant printing press, the authors assume that people can carry out a technique at home.

I did, though, find a bunch of approaches I wanted to try, so the kids and I went to the art supply store (after they attended a work-related breakfast meeting at my office). I don't think Elliot had been at a big art supply store before, so he had that kid-in-a-candy store look....after a while, though, he told me, "You don't have to get *everything* I ask for, Mom!" I hadn't realized how Santa-ish I was being. I have a strong weakness for art supply stores.

The main things I needed to start my printmaking journey (or walk around the block, depending how it went) were brayers (rollers) and printmaking ink. I actually asked a worker at the store to help me choose paper (I feel awkward asking for help, and I often distrust the advice they give, but this guy was very helpful)---I didn't have a clue what would work but not break the bank. (On my own, I found the most expensive, double-deckle boxed paper, and I wanted it *bad*, but I needed to be sure I knew what I was doing before I sank that kind of money into a project that I might abandon after ten minutes.)

I had tried carving lino blocks and pieces of rubber about a year ago, but the results stunk, so the first discovery I made last night was that the brayer makes all the difference (last time I just stuck the block into some paint, and the images came out gloppy). I even used one of my old lino blocks this time (a small, square Arts and Crafts design), and the results were excellent.

My great success, though, was the rubber rectangle I carved for making Valentines. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to copy my sketch into the rubber, and then carve it up. Without the brayer, the prints would undoutedly have been awful; with it, they turned out great.

I'm not sure what comes next. I've got a pair of jeans cut out for me and some fleece slippers for Elliot, but I don't feel like sewing right now. Classes start on Tuesday....the week is going to be very busy so I probably need to rest in a serious way tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like to make printings since I read this story. This story really inspired me, and now it's one of my hobbies. Thanks!