On Printmaking

Even though my wrist-induced jewelry lull this year has finally given way to the return of new jewelry creations this month—at a slower pace for now, but with forward progress nevertheless—I found myself on a small diversion: printmaking! 

It has been between 13-15 years since I've regularly done printmaking even though I've carried some of its techniques into my jewelry. I practically lived in that studio at PNCA, spending long hours in dirty aprons smeared with ink and rice paste and lint from the rag paper I loved to use on my block prints. 

Below is my little oak tree, the concept of which I chose at random after a few fits of indecision when I was given no direction but only asked to provide an example for an elementary (mixed age level) printmaking class. 

What I loved: Dusting off my U-gouge and V-gouge carving tools, getting fresh battleship linoleum blocks that were smooth and soft as butter, tearing up sheets of Arches archival papers again, and rolling out different inks to give each print its own look and feel. 

What I didn't love: Working without a bench hook, which meant that I stabbed myself twice with a 2mm U-gouge when I slipped. Super glue to the rescue!

The photos below show a partial progression from carving to inking to the first round of prints. There will be a second leaf plate added to develop the top of the tree. In the same day, I also transitioned to soldering and metalwork for new pendants that should be ready and in the shop just in time for Christmas shopping. That made two sessions since I set a roll of paper towels on fire with my torch flame, so I count it as a good day on several levels!