Sunday, 27 April 2014

Unit X Post 4

Inking up the block.   First proof prints drying in print room


It is always exciting seeing a block printed for the first time; I’m so relieved they print evenly.  Looking at my first proof prints, I can see that it is good to have areas of precise, neat cutting contrasting with more sketchy, natural-looking areas.  I have found it easier to carve a straight line than it is to carve an uneven one, and I constantly needed to remind myself to try and include areas of sketchiness and spend more time on these.  With this in mind, I have decided to take on the challenge of doing a much larger carving, avoiding so many straight lines and going back to my very first experiments I did for the practice unit (below).

For this larger more experimental carving I wanted to recycle a piece of distressed wood from an old door or table.  I had my eye on the door of our shed (below) because it was quite worn and needed replacing, but I found the wood to be too hard and I could not cut into it easily, however we had an old pine cupboard covered in cobwebs with rusty nails sticking out the sides.  I like idea of using the side on an old cupboard to carve into; the wood has more character and feels more unique. 

I saw Mokhlesur Rahman’s impressive prints on silk scarves at Venice Biennale in the summer holidays.  These large uninhibited carvings are inspirational.  

As I was concentrating on making the carvings so detailed, I realised that I possibly had not allowed for the background colour to show through as much as I would have liked.  To resolve this I experimented with making the print fade down the middle by blending a darker shade at the edge with a lighter shade in the centre to try and break up the image and make it look less busy.  I briefly experimented with technique this for the last project; I think it will be useful for adding depth to the prints and a way of varying the colour palette. 

Galbraith and Paul - An American duo specialising in hand block textiles and wallpaper, 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.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Unit X Post 3

Easter Holiday

My new wood has arrived, however I am having some trouble with it warping.  It took a whole day of sanding to make the wood flat enough, fingers crossed it doesn’t warp any more.  I like having deadlines and planning my work, but I don’t always allow for things to go wrong.  I have been told that wood dries out from the edges so I must seal the ends with varnish as soon as I can.  I am also worried that the large carvings will not print successfully as I have not printed with wood this large beforeI am really hoping to finish all the carving before we start again next term.  It feels like a huge risk leaving all the printing to the last few weeks. I just hope I do not encounter any further technical problems.  I need to decide on a colour scheme and start preparing paper, as I have found in the last project takes a really long time.

I started carving the smallest block first as I remember from the last project my carving improves with practice.  I am using a wider range of tools now and learning how to use them in different ways, for example I can make more uneven lines by using the v shape tool on its side.  I find it useful to work on several blocks at once so I can leave a carving and come back to it with fresh eyes so I stop focusing on a particular part and look at the imagine as a whole and do my best to image what it will look like as a print.
Tracing my drawing onto the wood

Bryan Nash Gill uses sections of tree trunks to make his relief prints.  Every type of tree has its own unique markings that tell a story of its life.  This is such a simple idea, but extremely effective.