printing

The Making Ape

All of your ancestors were creative — You and I and everybody we know were descended from tens of thousands of years of makers. The entire world, for better or for worse, has been altered by the human hand, by human beings doing this weird and irrational thing that only we do, amongst all our peers in the animal world, which is to waste our time making things that nobody needs, making things a little more beautiful than they have to be, altering things, changing things, building things, composing things, shaping things. This is what we do. We’re the making ape. And no one is left out of the inheritance of that — that’s our shared human inheritance.
— Elizabeth Gilbert with Krista Tippett (onbeing.org)

Over the last few weeks I have been working with some fab spirited teens at a community centre in Salisbury. For the latest linocut workshop I brought along some celebrities. Ed Sheeran and Camilla Cabeo were the favourites. The teens got stuck in and made some brilliant prints. Here’s a snapshot of their hard work!

Ed Sheeran and Teen Team Spirit

Team effort is involved in the creation of Ed Sheeran. Together they carve and roll out the ink while one holds the paper the other prints. A wonderful collaborative process. 

Team effort is involved in the creation of Ed Sheeran. Together they carve and roll out the ink while one holds the paper the other prints. A wonderful collaborative process. 

An Independent Camila Cabeo 

A very focused and reflective individual enjoys the independence of carving and printing Camila Cabeo by herself. 

A very focused and reflective individual enjoys the independence of carving and printing Camila Cabeo by herself. 

Support from The Rock

 The Rock created with an abundance of animated energy shows in these boldly carved lines.

 The Rock created with an abundance of animated energy shows in these boldly carved lines.

The Greatest Showman

Celebrities pop art pics are left to one side for she already has something in mind.   Usually to print text from a lino block, the text needs to be carved back-to-front. This way the text will print the right way round. But today a different approach is needed in order for a thoughtful teen to give the actual lino as a gift to a friend. She carves the words directly into the lino the right way round and inks up the lino to reveal the carved letters. The ink is left on the lino to dry.

Celebrities pop art pics are left to one side for she already has something in mind. 

Usually to print text from a lino block, the text needs to be carved back-to-front. This way the text will print the right way round. But today a different approach is needed in order for a thoughtful teen to give the actual lino as a gift to a friend. She carves the words directly into the lino the right way round and inks up the lino to reveal the carved letters. The ink is left on the lino to dry.

Thank you to all the teens for your openess to explore printmaking and your commitment and effort throughout the whole process.


Eightfivepress delivers rubber-stamp, linocut and letterpress printing workshops. 

If you would like to book Mog for a printmaking workshop at your community centre or school please click on the link below. 

Netsuke Frog - Breaking The Silence

Mini woodblock print from my sketch of an antique Japanese netsuke frog (unsgd) at Bristol Museum.

Mini woodblock print from my sketch of an antique Japanese netsuke frog (unsgd) at Bristol Museum.

“Breaking the silence

Of an ancient pond,

A frog jumped into water -

A deep resonance.

This poem was written by our master on a spring day. He was sitting in his riverside house in Edo, bending his ears to the soft cooing of a pigeon in the quiet rain. There was a mild wind in the air, and one or two petals of cherry blossom were falling gently to the ground. It was the kind of day you often have in late March - so perfect that you want it to last for ever. Now and then in the garden was heard the sound of frogs jumping into the water.”

From Matsuo Bashō - The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa.

It has been a little quiet over here at Into The Wood so it’s lovely to be woken by the sound of Bashō’s frog and see this beautiful blossom on my journey home. 

Close to home and heart. Cherry plum blossoming in late March.

Close to home and heart. Cherry plum blossoming in late March.

Books

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Bashō - Translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa

 

The Fish Tale Exchange

Linocut Workshop with Vic Harrison

Vic came to the workshop with a bag full of beautiful sketches she made at the Eden project and Bristol Zoo last year. After perusing and discussing the sketches, Vic chose her fish sketch with soft curves and minimal texture so she could focus on carving a simple shape.

EightfivepressLinocutWorkshopVicMarch2018.jpg

Carving fish

After testing out mark making on different lino Vic prefers carving her fish on this battleship grey linoleum. The 'easy to carve’ Softcut is not as forgiving and although it’s soft and smooth like cutting through butter there's more potential for the tool to slip. Vic becomes comfortable with holding the tools and takes her time carving the lino until a fish appears in relief.  

After testing out mark making on different lino Vic prefers carving her fish on this battleship grey linoleum. The 'easy to carve’ Softcut is not as forgiving and although it’s soft and smooth like cutting through butter there's more potential for the tool to slip. Vic becomes comfortable with holding the tools and takes her time carving the lino until a fish appears in relief.  

Printing fish

Vic uses a combination of a wooden spoon and a disc baren to print her fish in plum black letterpress ink.

Vic uses a combination of a wooden spoon and a disc baren to print her fish in plum black letterpress ink.

Inky black fish on blue yellow and orange

Hanging the fish prints up to dry.

Hanging the fish prints up to dry.

Thanks Vic for your incredible energy. You dived right in and discovered a wonderful shoal of fish on your journey! : ))

About Vic

Vic Harrison is well known for her creative community art projects around Bristol. With her recent project BUOYBLE she organised a team of crocheters to create a giant woolly bauble for the dockside. They covered the buoy in 1400 crochets hexagons.

You may have heard of the story about The Bristol Crocodile spotted in the River Avon a few years ago. Last year a life size woolly version was created by Vic as part of her Briswool project (a giant woolly version of Bristol.) She was also selected as one of the Shaun in the City artists. Vic covered her Shaun The Sheep sculpture in thousands of bits of freestyle crochet. 

Vic is currently running CROCHET and THREAD courses at Crafting the City ( A Community Interest Company delivering a range of community arts projects and a course programme of arts and craft workshops). Alongside these, she is also running The Seagull Project.

A Beautiful Flock Of Woolly Seagulls

"This project will create a huge flock of gulls to reside around the dockside in a variety of venues. They will be herring gulls, black headed gulls and lesser black backed gulls. I am currently designing several models and will then go on to create patterns. The gulls will be able to be decorated by their makers and names will be chosen by those who fund them. Makers will receive a special stripy bird pattern designed by me as a thank you for helping.” Vic Harrison - Crafting The City

You can also follow Vic’s projects on Facebook and Instagram

 

A Stomping Great Stamp

Rubber stamp prints by Dave, Liz and Jacquetta

Rubber stamp prints by Dave, Liz and Jacquetta

Do you remember the first mark That You made? 

Mine was drawing on my bedroom wall when I was five. My mum was very generous and drew a square on the wall and said I could draw on the wall as long as it was inside that square. I was happy as long as I could keep on drawing.

Maybe yours was printing with potatoes. You sliced it in half, carved out a shape with a knife, dipped it in paint and printed it all over sheets of newsprint and maybe tried out a new pattern on the kitchen floor. Maybe you were four. Maybe ten. Maybe twenty. 

When I went to art college I just wanted to draw and paint. I wasn’t interested in printing. My first memory of printing was with potatoes. I was in my early thirties and then I tried printing with rubbers and then lino and then letterpress and woodblock printing and I fell completely in love with whole process of printmaking. 

We’ve all been making marks since the day we were born and if you can’t remember, it’s never too late to plant new memories.

Here are some rubber stamp prints made by Liz, Dave and Jacquetta who came to a recent rubber-stamp workshop at Salt cafe, Bristol. They really enjoyed having the time and space to have a stomping good stamp and no-one was under the age of thirty!

It’s never too late to make your mark  

Dave’s cross and circle stamps

Dave’s cross and circle stamps

Jacquetta’s house and multicolour chevron stamps 

Jacquetta’s house and multicolour chevron stamps 

Liz’s multicolour circle and square stamps

Liz’s multicolour circle and square stamps

PotatoFace.jpg

Potato Face by Mog

Japanese Woodblock Printing with Laura Boswell

A question I keep hearing recently is ‘Does this add value to my life?' It’s a question The Minimalists ask themselves throughout their daily lives. I recently saw their wonderful film Minimalism about how having less is definitely more.

What adds value to your life?

It’s a useful question and one that I’m beginning to look into a little deeper. For a few years now I’ve been exploring a few different printing methods. From rubber stamp printing to linocutting, to letterpress and more recently woodblock printing. Through the process of exploration I’ve come to find that the process of woodblock printing resonates with me the most. I am drawn to the process from beginning to end, from sketching an image, transferring the image onto the woodblock, then carving the image into the wood, dampening the paper and finally making a print with the baren. I love the materials used in the process and the way it helps me to slow down, focus and be more present. This process definitely adds value to my life. So I wonder why then I seem to be spending the least amount of time actually woodblock printing? 

Laura creating Kento registration marks

Laura creating Kento registration marks

Woodblock BLOCK!

One reason might be my slight phobia of multi-colour printing. I have continued to tell myself that I have woodblock BLOCK and a fear of creating a multi-colour print. It’s not as though I haven’t made a multi-colour print. I’ve been on a couple of group courses where I came away very happy with my colourful prints. But I also came away with that overwhelming feeling that the registration process was still somehow out of my reach. I had not asked enough questions. There was not always time or space in a group setting. When I had tried to make a multi-colour print back at my studio, each time the blocks wouldn’t line up but I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. It was as if I had been transported back to the school maths class but this time the tutor had vanished. The 'how to' books and online videos were not helping. So it remained a complicated puzzle that I just could not unravel and so I put all the mistakes back in the drawer and froze. 

What I really needed was a one-to-one session with a printmaker with a hefty plunger who could help remove this gigantic blockage. Someone at my side to show me the process, who I could directly ask questions at any point in the day without interruption and be able to extinguish those burning questions in a moment. That someone was indeed the wonderful printmaker extraordinaire, Laura Boswell.

Printing my woodblocks 

Printing my woodblocks 

Thank you Laura Boswell

Laura simplified the registration process for me, she made the whole woodblock printing process very accessible. She took measurements off the map, put my fears to rest and renewed my faith in my own ability to go forward with the process. Her down to earth approachable manner made the whole day a complete joy. 

So thank you Laura for helping to unblock the woodblock BLOCK and restoring my confidence. Your woodblock printing course has definitely added value to my life!