Monday, November 16, 2015

Burlap Texture for a Linocut Tutorial

I keep being pulled in so many directions and am sorry I don't get around to blogging more. Another summer has passed and winter is almost here. We were gone in Finland for a good part of the summer. It was a nice break from routines, and by the time we came back we were ready to get back into them.

I've got a lot of new prints that have happened since the last post and this and have lots of photos to share. I'm hoping as the season quiets down next month, maybe I could get some time to reminisce the year past and share some of those things. The things that had me creating at a higher than normal rate was some customs, and a solo show that goes up in two weeks! Since the kids, I haven't carved as much as I used to, so for my exhibition, I wanted to have some newer things to show too. But more on those in the next posts.  

Above, Aila feeding the ducks at the pond by our house. We go several times a week for scavenger hunts and of course to keep the ducks alive and healthy. Below a shot of my booth from the Texas Reds Festival in September. The first art show I did since before we moved to Germany. It was a lot of work putting everything together for an art fair again, but now with some Christmas sales coming up, I am benefitting having prints ready to go on a moments notice.  

Above, a shot from the October 1st Friday in Downtown Bryan, TX. It was the 10 year anniversary of first fridays in Bryan, so the whole night was packed from start to finish. I had a linocut and press ready to go, and over 150 people came by that night and printed off a souvenir for themselves. 

So those are some of the things that have been going on over here. The reason for this post is to share a fun tip for adding texture to a linocut. I have a student who wanted to work on a reduction print with designs inspired by Navajo rugs. The plan was to have white (paper), red and black. But we thought it would be nice to have some texture in the print, reminiscent of the rugs, so the printed areas would not be so flat and would have some visual interest. 

On the way home that night, I came up with the idea of using burlap to impress a pattern onto the block before printing it on paper. I tested a couple different fabrics and combinations of things and this worked the best in the end:

-First print the plate with a light tone of the final color you want. Then let the prints dry. 

-Second ink it up again with a darker hue of the same color. 

-Third. Place the block on the press, news print on the top, and piece of burlap on top of the newsprint. If you usually use a felt for printing linocuts, place that on top of the burlap, and run through the press. 
The news print will pick up the areas that the burlap pressed down, leaving a positive image on the plate once you remove the burlap and newsprint. We used the same piece of newsprint and burlap for the whole edition. So this was also an economical way of doing it. 

-Fourth, place your actual printing paper on the plate, and run through press again, now printing a second textured layer of ink on the paper. The results were pretty fun, and gave the print some visual interest. 

You could also play with different colors and variations. I also tried printing a negative of the burlap, but did not find it visually as interesting. You can do that by using your printing paper instead of the newsprint the third step. 

Here is a video of the process, so you can see it in action. 


Here are a few more shots of the prints drying. I'll update when we have the final black color printed. 
Many thanks to Thomas Cavaness, who let me use his print in this post as an example. 

1 comment:

Lynne Fornieles said...

I think it looks really successful