Saturday, 25 January 2014

Post 11

Reflection on laser cutting

I found that although the laser cutting itself was surprisingly fast, the preparation took a lot longer, which I was not expecting.  I spent three days on preparation and it took only 37 minutes to cut.  It almost felt like cheating after hand carving.  This process could have lots of potential and I will consider using it again, I could possibly use a combination of hand and laser cutting.  It is very effective for doing larger cuts with finer detail, however when carving by hand I sometimes like to change and adjust the image as I go along which is not possible with laser cutting.
I wanted to add something to the laser cutting – my final 3 carvings of this project.  I normally spend a long time carving my blocks, from several hours to 2-3 days, so I decided to try some much faster carvings 30 mins-1 hour. Taking marks from my drawings I carved into blocks of cherry and yew – a jagged rock, a small round coral form and a cluster of pointed star-like anemone.  I like the organic outline of the blocks and I think the simplicity of these could be really effective, I will try combining and overlapping them.
Colour mixing with my new brayer on large glass plate in print room
Galbraith and Paul
An American duo specialising in hand block textiles and wallpaper, they must be successful because they have featured in almost every recent issue of House and Garden Magazine.  I think the complexity of their designs are just right, not too busy, not too simple.  I like their philosophy that they care about the process of making just as much as the finished product.  I am especially drawn to the way their colours are blended in such a subtle and distinct way.  I have bought a small 2.5 inch roller specifically to try this.
Here are some samples for my live brief some of which I have tried blending the colours with my new roller.  The live brief has been the perfect opportunity to be more experimental with colour combinations.  It has also given me insight into how my woodblock print designs could be used for an entirely different context.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Post 10

Prints using new square blocks
Laser Cutting
I had previously considered trying the laser cutter to cut my blocks, but felt very apprehensive due to my lack of technical IT skills, however I am eager to compare hand and laser cutting and I will be seeking technical help from the Mac Help Bar in the near future.  I want to cut a more abstract shape that does not repeat so I can be more experimental with the layouts.

Fine artist-printmaker Terry Winters uses lasers to engrave woodblocks for his abstract prints, the blocks are printed with white ink as a resist, and then the sheet is rinsed with black ink – a process pioneered by Pablo Picasso.  The abstract imagery Terry winters uses really interests me, I am eager to experiment with designs that don’t look like conventional wallpaper. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Post 9

Open Access Print Studios
Whilst staying at home over Christmas I visited Oxford Printmakers Workshop; an open access print studio offering a range of printmaking facilities which can be used during opening times for £24 a month or £36 a month for 24 hour access.  The technician showed me their 1828 Albion relief press measuring 33’’x22’’ which would be perfect for me to test designs. These facilities could allow me to continue printing after we graduate until I buy my own press, as I know I will feel lost without the Colombian Press which I have come to rely on. There are several other such studios around the country such as the Hotbed Press in Manchester.
I wanted to carve some new blocks, so here is my new set of carvings (below) the two smaller squares are exactly a quarter of the size of the larger one, so they can be combined in a number of ways.  I was not happy with the larger design originally because it seemed too random and I did not think it would be very effective, but while printing with it I have grown more fond of it especially after printing it in repeat.
Varnishing with shellac ready to print