All in Hand – Reduction Linocut

Possum linocut block - Jenn White

Possum block, two cuts, and new ‘Baren’

As a sole parent for so many years, when the kids were growing up and money was scarce, necessity often inspired lateral thinking.  It has stuck with me.  Walking through Mitre10 last week, I paused at the ‘chuck out’ table and spotted a door handle.  I don’t need it for it’s original purpose, but hefting it in my hand I realised how weighty it was, and perhaps could be put to a different use.  For a single dollar, it was worth the gamble.

I don’t mind getting old and ‘crinkly’ (as my then-young granddaughter once put it), but the side-effects drive me nuts.  Yes, I am grateful for my hands, scars, lumps and bumps included, but the aches, pains and increasing lack of flexibility from arthritis, some days, make me want to scream.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve fished my morning tablet out of the bog’s water bowl.  Anyway, as a printmaker doing everything by hand, without a press, the constant and repetitive gripping and burnishing to transfer ink to paper is becoming difficult.  Having not long ago discovered my passion for printmaking, there’s an urgency to produce prints, while I’m able.  There’s a lot I want to ‘say’.

With the ho-hum result of the collagraph prints drying on the table, I set to on a new lino block.  Same subject, different reference photo, to fool myself I was doing something ‘new’ (life is short…) and embarked on cutting, inking and burnishing with the newly purchased baren – the doorknob.

Weighing in at 400 grams (almost 1 lb) it’s a dream for gagging Arthur Itis (such a whinger!).  Being so heavy for a small object, it does most of the work, instead of me having to continually exert pressure in burnishing the back of the paper.  For larger projects, I’m now on the lookout for an iron doorknob from a chateau door – I’m happy to remove the rust.

I’ve also taken on-board advice, tips and suggestions, on achieving more consistency in ink coverage and editions, from the Linocut Friends Facebook group.  Thank the Goddess for artists whose egos don’t get in the way of helping others.

After the frustration of the collagraph possum (previous post), I’m feeling much enthused on familiar ground with a reduction linocut.  Yes, it’s early days, yet, and only two colours printed, but it’s going  okay.

Reduction linocut in progress - Jenn White

In progress – reduction linocut, first two colours on Zerkall paper, oil-based inks.

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