One of the best thing about printmaking are the multiple copies of an artist constructed plate, from which the imagery is made. This gives us the fine and wonderful opportunity to share one image with many people.
Barenforum, a group of woodblock printmakers, using traditional Japanese style waterbased printing methods, also allows those of us who work with wood or linoleum to join in with the quarterly exchanges.
My recent work is a small print, depicting some of the heirloom tomatoes we grew in the garden last year.
Once the drawing (charcoal, then India ink), is carved the block needs a brisk wisking with a small brush. This removes the small bits of wood and shavings that might get into the ink.
Before I even look at the ink, the paper must be prepared. In printmaking, the paper is torn, rather than cut. To get nice edges, the fold is creased with a bone folder and then torn, this gives a nice soft edge.
Ink, oil based, archival, the best inks available. I use both Dan Smith and Gamblin inks. For this print I mixed a very dark mossy green. Because the red color will be a transparent color, I am able to print the 'line' block first. The advantage is that I can print this image onto a piece of wax paper (yes, the kitchen variety) and use that to transfer the image to the 'color block'.
Now, for each print the block will need to be inked and run through the press. (I am so grateful to have a press built for me by this fine gentleman). Ray Trayle ://www.opb.org/television/programs/artbeat/segment/ray-trayle/. It is very rewarding to see the multiples add up to an impressive array of imagery. It is wonderful to know that the recipients will all have something in common, this little work of art, and maybe they will give it as a gift, and that person will then have something in common with the others. Collecting prints is a really interesting thing to think about.
This block is ready to carve. Stay tuned for the next printing session. It should be soon as there is a deadline!
I hope you've enjoyed the process of how woodblock prints are made.