Sunday, May 27, 2007

Normal service will be resumed....

Sorry....Charlie's block printing has had to be put on hold as we had one elderly relative whisked off to hospital, closely followed by the other. Lots of whizzing between them and where we live, ensued and most evenings and weekends are taken up with visiting and the travelling between. Things are a little quieter now; we await test results for one and the other is being waited on hand and foot in a Care Home, temporarily. I HOPE to do some printing tomorrow. Watch this space!
Yesterday I did manage to draw my next design onto a block....not sure how to make the approach; I'd like it to be fairly free in quality, but maybe I'll just start cutting and see what happens.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Final proof and on that paper!

I had an unexpected free day yesterday, so I cleared the decks in the kitchen, putting a big sheet of acetate on the worksurface along with lots of newspaper. Then I got out my inking slab (a big bit of bevelled glass taken from an old cabinet) ink and roller. Then I tore up some sheets of that nice Chinese paper. The idea was to do some final proofing coupled with minor adjustments to the block and maybe get one good impression at the end of the day.

It took me a good few minutes to roll the ink out so it 'looked like a mole's tummy' (thanks to Andy English for that description, I love it!) and my first impression wasn't inked enough. The next was better and I made some tweaks to the block, especially the background where tiny bits needed scorping back further. That was the real bugbear of the day. No matter how much I hacked the background away little bits printed on the next print! Argh! Next time remind me not to have a large expanse of pure white! It's bloomin' hard work clearing it. I think I may have a way round it though. If I cut a mask with a hole and lay it over the inked block I can lay the paper over it and burnish away in the knowledge that the paper will be protected from the background. Anybody else have any other suggestions?

I have to report that the Chinese paper worked a dream. I used the smooth side and it printed crisply. It has a lovely thin, crisp feel, with a gentle unobtrusive texture.

Printing with a teaspoon is very hard work. I was having a job to get a consistent print every time, there was always a tiny patch somewhere that was lighter; and I was very careful to burnish all over. I wondered if it was my 25-year-old ink, but it seemed ok. It must be inexperience, but if I make an edition of this block it'll have to be small and I expect a fair bit of wasteage. All good experience though.

Here's Charlie complete with background flecks....

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chinese paper?

Doggie engraving is ready for his final proof and any odd tidying up of scorped-away bits, but I won't have the chance till the weekend. If I'd done this project during work hours it would have been completed ages ago.....argh! Anyway, I have so far printed on newsprint, which is nice but not a long-term prospect because of it's tendency to yellow and go brittle in time. I was wondering which sort of paper would be suitable for printing with a spoon to my Mum, also an artist (in odd moments), when she suddenly said...'Aha!' and reached in her plan chest. She drew out a pack about 18 1/4" x 12 1/4", soft thin paper covered by a sheet of paper with Chinese writing, as shown below. She bought it in Birmingham years ago to do watercolour, but didn't get on with it's absorbent qualities. She said if I can use it I can have it! It looks promising, I'm dying to have a play with it. Almost 50 sheets!
Does anyone know if this is Woodcut paper? What do the characters say? Do you think I'll get on ok with it using letterpress ink?