So, finally I've made a start. And, as I repeatedly find out, the starting is often the hardest part.
Its so hard to decide where to start when there's so many possible projects to take on and so many ideas roaming in my mind that I want to pursue, and in so many different directions. So, I've just started by focusing on technique, in particular linocut, with a view to raising my skills a notch or two... hopefully. As they say, practice makes perfect!
|Lino cut planning by Toni Hartill|
I'm currently working on a couple of lino cut projects. In both cases I have quite adventurous ideas although I doubt I have the skills yet to pull them off. Only way to find out is to begin tinkering, testing out if my ideas are possible in practice. Lino cut seems so straight forward... in theory. In practice however, I have so many questions:
- how do you successfully and accurately transfer your image to the lino?
- which pens won't bleed through into your ink when you print?
- how do you accurately transfer your image to multiple blocks of lino so they will all register when printed?
- which registration technique will work for me?
- how do I ensure a clean print every time?
- how fine can I cut the lino without it being too fragile?
- do I need to let each layer of ink dry before printing the next layer?
- which papers are better for printing lino?
- how can I fine-tune the pressure of the press til its just right?
|Carving begins. THartill|
Through trial and error, ie. lots of PRACTICE, I've begun to make some headway into answering some of my many questions.When things go wrong I consider it to be the journey I have to travel in order to learn the stuff I need to know to move forward to the next step. If I didn't try these things I couldn't put them behind me and move on. (A lot like life I guess).
The trick is REMEMBERING next time what NOT to do. Ha! so, again through past experience of testing out some processes, making mistakes, putting it aside til another day then thinking hmmm... what did I do last time? you think you'll remember but, in my case I could never remember clearly enough not to make the same mistakes.
|Studio Journal - a big cookbook of recipes THartill|
|Colour swatch records THartill|
I also regularly write notes to myself for future reference.
If only I remembered to go back and read them!
So if you want my 2c bit of advice:
keep a Studio Journal, you won't regret it.
So what have I learnt in my recent foray into lino cut?
Cutting a paper mask is a MUST for clean edges!
|A paper mask is a MUST. THartill|
Take the time to properly set up a registration system that works for you.
I made my own pin and tab system and it worked a treat (and cost me nothing!)
|Registration technique. THartill|
|Paper positioned on registration pins using tabs. THartill|
Constantly print proofs as you go to keep checking your cutting, test colour choices, press settings, that the registration is working or what you need to do to fix it...
|Testing layers, registration, colours. THartill|
Be kind to your tools!
|RIP dear dremel.|
I managed to KILL MY DREMEL!
I'm gutted! I guess it did do many, many, many hours for me but... still...sob
(My family is quietly celebrating as I, apparently (?!) make such a raquet
when I'm working on my lino... tsk! such nonsense!)
So, first task accomplished.
It hasn't turned out quite as I was anticipating (mainly because I realized I had taken on a much more ambitious goal than I was prepared to put in the time for. I was planning on a couple more layers of colours but.... nah, I've learnt lots and I don't think the print warrants that many more hours that it would require. I'm mooooving on.)
|Lino cut by Toni Hartill|
So, right now, in my arts practice,
PRACTICE is what I need and what I am focusing on.
And hopefully, if I can manage all the other distractions around me
I plan to do lots of it.
Thanks for visiting,
your feedback is always welcome :)