Process

Draw. Carve. Ink. Print. Repeat.

DrawBegin carveCarving toolsCarve detailApply inkPress / printFalling for Michigan finished in black and gold

Blockprinting isn't quite a lost art, but it is an old one. The greatest compliment is to be asked, "Are these woodblocks?" No, they aren't -- but I apply the same process. I carve linoleum, a hard surface that's friendlier to my tools and hands than wood is.

My artists' tools include a set of Flexcut woodcarving gouges and chisels, several ink rollers called brayers, a wooden spoon to press the ink onto a surface, and a hand-cranked dual-roller press for larger blocks. My media are Battleship Gray artists' linoleum that I paint red for greater contrast and blockprinting ink. I almost always use black ink by tradition, though I enjoy dabbling with colored and especially gold ink on occasion. I print onto a variety of papers , linen, and cotton cloth.

Linocut prints are considered multiple-originals as works of art. I begin with my own drawing, carve the image into a block of linoleum, roll ink onto the block, and press paper onto the block one piece at a time, resulting in a print. Each print is slightly different, due to ink saturation and chatter pickup (background flecks). Blockprints are considered original art because each is printed by hand and is slightly unique. They are often confused with reproductions -- digital copies of original art. My only reproductions are my vinyl stickers.

While making new prints gives me the most joy, I discovered that people have more 'art confidence' purchasing usable items for their homes than they have purchasing wall art. I happily delved into textiles, and I blockprint pillowcovers stuffed with large feather pillows, scarves, zipper clutches, tea towels, market totes, and more.

block-printing fabric

Cotton and linen are block-printed by hand in large pieces

fabric drying

Fabric takes a week to fully cure., hanging all over my home and studio

tea-staining

The linens brine for several days without being churned or rotated, resulting in a leathery appearance

pillowcovers air-drying

Tea dye sets for several days before textiles are laundered

hand-ripped paper

Papers are Strathmore, Stonehenge, and Tiziano; some of which are ripped to size

printing tools

Wooden spoon and brayer for small prints

multiple originals

Prints are hand-printed, numbered, and signed in limited editions

linoleum blocks

These carved tropical leaf linoleum blocks ready to mount on wood

press

A cherished tool from the Portable Printing Press Company for larger works


#1 helper

chauffeur, repairman, hired muscle, biggest fan