I've been working away on the last quarter of the African quilt but am not at a point yet to show you what I've been up to. Instead, I'll show you the results from last night and the previous week's lino printing class. Last week we were to finally print on fabric and I took both a piece of commercial batik as well as some white muslin to print on. My frustration with this class continued as we had to wait for the teacher to cut yet another eraser design for her chosen demo project - napkins. I cut my spiral stamp while I waited, finding the smallest v gouge easier to use than trying to cut this with an xacto knife.
We used Jacquard Textile paints on our homemade ink pads, and I was not impressed. No one was getting strong colors so it wasn't working like I had hoped on the batik. Worse yet, I couldn't get it to pick up on the linoblock which was what I'd planned to work with. You can see the difference between the eraser stamp and the linoblock above.
So I moved on to my white muslin. I like my flower stamp on its own, but I really don't know what to do with it in multiples. Your eyes are not blurring by the way. I first stamped with a purple paint, then restamped slightly offset with yellow. That didn't work quite to plan either. I went back to the spiral stamp, turning it differently directions and except for the paleness and inconsistency in coverage, kind of like this use of it.
I almost didn't go to class last night, knowing it was one more session of little help and floundering. But I'd paid for 5 sessions, I was going to go to five sessions. I'd thought a lot about how we'd used those inkpads, being told to dampen before brushing on paint. I wondered if the dampness was effecting the thickness of the paint and if I'd have better results if I applied the paint without wetting it. It did seem to help, particularly with the linoblock. I finally got some prints so I could see how this one worked, again playing some with orientation. I like this block, I decided, if I could just get the right paint on it. Not sure how well you can tell from this picture, but I was also playing with darkening the blue to more of a navy. I think the paint should have been mixed off the pad, but we'd gotten no instruction on that, just told we could mix colors on the pad.
The cross is a pattern from the book The Quilted Cross by J. Michelle Watts. I applied yellow paint to one side of the pad and orange to the other and overlapped them in the middle. If only the coverage were better - I really like this. The lines from the gouging printing also was a surprise but one that I like. On the right is more experimentation with orientation. I'm thinking that brayering the paint on the linoblocks would be a better way to go and I'm interested in trying a less translucent paint. There was talk of trying screenprinting ink as well as the Jacquard Versetex that I've used with great success in the past. Click on any picture, by the way, for a larger view.
So I've ended my 5 week course, and I still have no better idea of how I might use block printing in my work. I did enjoy the actual making of the blocks and stamps, but I was hoping to get more instruction on designing blocks and ways of printing with them. I think I may need to sign up for Dijanne Cevaal's online class afterall. Reading her class description makes me sigh - everything I thought I'd be getting in this hands-on class and didn't. (Scroll to the end of this lengthy post to find it.)
I will leave you with this little gem gleaned from The Woodcut Artist's Handbook by George A. Walker. It came at the end of a section on "Making the Drawing" and made me laugh out loud:
"Check your work in a mirror one more time before you begin cutting the block. Is it art? When asked that question, Andy Warhol replied, 'Art? Isn't that a man's name?' Once you - and only you - are satisfied with the image on the block, then you're ready to start cutting."