I am a printmaker, producing and selling original geometric linocut prints. What’s Linocutting? Read on…
I love gardens and also spend some of my time designing landscapes. I have 3 energetic (and frankly, hilarious) children. I used to work in architecture, and still do a little bit but not very much because children. I like running and don’t manage to do enough of it because children. We are currently renovating our 1960s mid-century-style house. But it’s taking ages because…. yep, you guessed it.
Linocutting is a printmaking process which involves using Lino (the same stuff that you might put on your bathroom floor) as a surface in which a pattern or design is carved using specialised cutting tools. When the design is complete, the surface is inked and a print can be taken from it.
In my case, I use Japanese vinyl as my cutting block. It’s a product designed specifically for printmaking and is softer and less brittle than Lino. I sketch my ideas onto paper using a compass and a ruler, then transfer them to the block using pencil or permanent markers. I use terrifyingly sharp Pfeil cutting tools to cut my designs into the block. This is the fun part and it’s hugely satisfying to gradually carve the Lino away and see a design take shape in the block.
When a design is ready to be printed, I use Cranfield ink, specifically their Caligo Safe Wash oil-based range, and a Japanese rubber roller to ink up the block.
I source FSC paper and use paper from both GF Smith and Antalis, then the block and paper are passed through my table-top printing press made by The Portable Printing Press Co.
Prints need 7 – 10 days to dry so I’ve made myself a drying rack using scrap timber and clothes pegs.
The Linocut method means that variations occur between prints, and you may notice some small imperfections. This is the beauty of this type of printing process: each print is one of a kind.
Many of my designs are single colour so multiple copies can be taken from the same block. I sometimes use the reduction method which involves using the same block for each colour pass, cutting away layers to build up the detail of the design. The number of prints that can be taken in this way is limited: once the Lino has been carved away using the reduction method, there’s no going back, so it’s a riskier and more complex process.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with colour merge – using two or more colours at the same time to create a gradient effect. I’ve also been introducing textures under the paper as the inked plates are passed through the press.