Friday, April 25, 2014

Stink Bug Print Before We Move

Happy Spring! The easter/spring bunnies are out in our town and the flowering trees are slowly starting to change their blooms to green summer garb. I've completed my last little engraving for the time being. :( It's time for us to say goodbye to Germany and pack our bags and move back to the States. I have a lot of preparing to do in the studio this week before the packers come, so figured I'd stop early rather than try to work until the last minute and then panic. Moving prints, paper and presses is pretty nerve-wracking when you just have a bunch of random guys show up one day intending to box up your whole house in a day or two! They are not used to this type of stuff, so everything just goes is cardboard boxes with some packing paper unless I specify otherwise or organize and get things ready in advance.  

But you really want to see the print and not hear about packing boxes don't you? The last bi-annual Wood Engravers Network newsletter and bundle came in the mail about a month ago and I was so inspired by the bundle prints that I had to make a print to participate in it again. (Our newsletter comes with a "bundle"of prints which consists of editions submitted by members and shared to all to enjoy our craft. They are meant for educational purposes and for us to enjoy, but not for sales, speculation or criticism.)

I had this idea for a bug on an acorn and thought it would work well as a tiny little engraving. The block ended up being 1.5x3" big. With it being the last edition in my current studio, I thought it would be easy to print, but still had a lot of problems getting it dark enough. It's just the paper that I've been choosing. Most of the paper I have has too much texture and is hard to print an even black (at least with my experience level). With some adjusting, it worked so that I was happy with the impression.   

Above is the block after printing and below is a print and some tools. The actual edition ended up being 120 and I kept the extras that didn't make it to 130 and labeled them as Artist Proofs. The extras will be available in my Etsy store after our move. 

 I also took some video clips of the process of printing and uploaded for you to see. Just a fun little tidbit, taken with phone in one hand and brayer in other. Damp packs are something I haven't talked about in a while, so at the end I show you how I did mine for this print. Its a very informal damp pack.

And look at what came in the mail a week ago! My friend Annika from Studio Unicco in Finland sent some cards printed with my designs. They are so pretty and perfect for summer. There are a lot more, but these were the only ones that had english language texts to them. More of our cards are available for purchase at the Paper Shop in Helsinki and at the Kiasma museum shop. Pretty fun! After the move, I'll try to add a couple of these too in the Etsy shop.

While we're on the news side of things, I should say my prints are/were also on exhibit at University of Dallas Haggerty Gallery at the Juergen Strunck, In Retrospect: 45 Years of Teaching. Its a pretty fun exhibition featuring works from UD printmaking alumni. Glad to have been a part of it, but sad I could not make it to the reception.

I will be out of commission for a couple months, so I thought it would be fun to fill in the gap with something special. I've been harboring a renegade painter turned printmaker in my studio for the last year and was going to have her write about her latest print (incorporating a less traditional media in it!!!). She'll tell you all about it in the next post!

In the mean time, happy printing and happy spring!


Anonymous said...


Wishing you all the best for a safe journey to your new home. Thanks for all the fine little articles, notes and artwork you've posted on your blog. It has been inspirational. I'll be waiting for your next (future) post.

- Ignatz

Mirka Hokkanen said...

Thank you for your kind words! I'm happy that my blog can serve as inspiration and hope that it continues to encourage and educate other printmakers out there.

I am inspired said...

Hello, I just watched your Bunny reduced lino cutting video on You Tube and discovered your work. It's really beautiful and the details are amazing. You've inspired me to try a reduction print! Hope to see more of your work soon.