09 September 2008

First Plate for Great Wall

FirstPlate

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I've had an influx of illustration work that's slowed down my printmaking to a crawl. Good for the pocketbook, though. I have managed to finish carving one plate for the Great Wall print, shown above.

Recently I've been doing a lot of reduction blocks. When using that method I carve, then print, then carve again. In this case, though, I'll only be doing portions of reduction printing, probably mostly in the bottom section of the print, so I have another block to carve for the upper area before I do any printing.

7 comments:

Marissa L. Swinghammer said...

Good for you on the design work! I wish I had that excuse for my own slow down.

Can't wait to see how your reduction print turns out. Does the inspiration of doing one have anything to do with the Baren drama over them?

Tom Kristensen said...

Hi Annie,

In the interest of healthy hands...

I see you are still nibbling away with a little gouge, leaving marks not unlike a rat at a cupboard. A nice rat of course. I am a believer in making carving easier and I would not work without the bigger chisels and my new custom made ply; American cherry over Otie. Not unlike the ply the Maria supplied for the cairn project - which was great but apparently not so good under the press.

Keep up the good work and belated congratulations on your show. I only just took a look around the very smart web slide show. So many prints! Seems it's been no time at all.

Annie B said...

Thanks Marissa. It is a bit surprising how much controversy can be stirred up over a printing technique, isn't it? No wonder we can't elect a president in a civil manner!

Tom, a very astute observation of my mark-making. In fact, I'm using my teeth! Seriously, I did invest in a larger chisel. I have one that's shallow and about 12mm wide that I like very much, but the handle is short and not made to be hit with a mallet. I bought a larger mallet-end chisel, but I hate it! I can't control it well enough. Maybe just not enough practice. I'd love to see a video showing proper use of a clearing chisel. Can you suggest a specific larger chisel?

Tom Kristensen said...

I can't remember if I got my clearing chisels from McClains or the Mall. I know I got my wooden mallet from McCains, its the deluxe model, sounds beautiful.

I have two chisels; 12 mm deep and 22 mm shallow. After incising the outline with the hangi-to (including an unauthorized back-cut to clear the line) I use the deep chisel to clear a small trench near the line. I then use the large chisel to shape the trench. I need the mallet for the initial trench but once the cherry skin of my ply is open I can do the rest by hand, like carving cheese. (Maria's ply can be bought from Rockler, pretty cheap, do try some)

One technique that I only recently "discovered" was to do the clearing work underfoot. Sounds crazy, but I put the block on the studio carpet squat over it and hold it firm with my foot (usually with a boot on). I can then rotate the block easily and apply much force in an easy fashion. I also cut the kento at this stage. I find that working directly over the block is a very efficient way to do these tasks. Obviously I would not share these ideas with the uninitiated and no photos please, it does look dangerous.

After the bulk clearing I return to my semi-upright carving bench and finish the clearing using flat chisels under magnification. I find I only use the small gouges to get in between tricky little shapes. The flat chisel makes a better shelf for printing.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Gnawing away at your block ? well..it is the year of the Rat. I look forward to further installments of your print. Congrats on the show.

Phare-Camp said...

Ahhh but if I used a chisel and large gouge to clear my blocks my prints would lack the incorporated cut marks that add the element of physicality to woodcut prints. It's printed cut marks that make me drool over woodcuts! Especially the accidental ones...

Annie B said...

Tom, I love the image of you working over the block like that. I understand why we can't have pictures, but I surely do want one!
Patti, there's definitely a place for "cut marks" in woodblock printmaking, but it's not so common in moku hanga it seems. Diana, a rabbit could do some nice gnawing for me, yes? Maybe I should get one.