Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handy Linocut Tools

I had a bunch of fun last night working on my linocut. I look forward to finishing it, but it may not happen today. Full schedule and all that.

I wanted to mention my tools in case anyone decides to give linoleum a try. I have really nice ones from McClains, but you can use Speedball tools also, and you can pick them up in just about any hobby store. My tools can be sharpened, which makes them a bit better for long-term use. But Speedball blades are affordable if you decide to go the disposable route.

Artist Cathy Savage. Kepler print 1/2 way finished!
Linoleum--mounted or unmounted? I've carved both and don't particularly favor one over another. The press that I'm using requires mounted, but I have a ton of unmounted linoleum that I plan on using after I figure out a way to build up the press bed. I also have a bench hook, which is the black thing that the lino block is seated on. Bench hooks are great because the linoleum is seated against the lip on the desk so you don't have to use a hand for support--therefore preventing a possible major injury. I notice I'm a lot more mindful about the direction I'm carving (away from me vs. towards me) when using the bench hook. I have a plywood one too that I made that I use for larger pieces. I've been careful not to ram my tools into the metal bench hook, which I can see might be a disadvantage over a wood model.

When transferring your image to your block you can use all sorts of things: Wintergreen (I've heard this but never tried it), acetone, carbon paper, soft pencil on paper that's transferred when run through a press (rubbing with a spoon works in the same fashion) to name a few.

Inspiration provided by artist Elizabeth White
I try to keep a little around. This is mine for the block I'm working on. It's from a show postcard of a print by Elizabeth White. Here's a link to a larger image plus linocuts. Be careful as you scroll through, as they're grouped with other pics from that exhibit that may not be safe for work. 

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