Project 10: experimental relief printing: using a wider range of materials


Printing using different materials

I already had one material in mind- a polystyrene packet that had contained meat.  I would inscribe this with the rune “I was with blood bedewed”.  This pack made a nice clear print because it also had marking on it which made a contrast to the scratched runes. These signs and symbols are clear to us now, but are very particular to our time and culture- e.g “ozone safe” and the dishwasher and  recycling symbols. I think the finished print has the look of a hallmark, with the mixed engraving and relief, and the overall shape of it. I find this quite a meaningful image, although it would require some interpreting perhaps. Nevertheless, I think it has a pleasing appearance which might let it stand alone.  I printed it on different colours of paper.

The great thing about this as a printing material is that it’s easy to scratch. Probably limited as to what could be inscribed though, and fragile.

I was with blood bedewed 3


It was good that this experiment in using other materials worked out. The rest of my experiments were a bit pointless, unless the point was to bring me back to my lino with a fresh sense of appreciation.

I tried putting a layer of glue onto mount board to seal it, before inscribing it with a nail.  I had chosen to do a sketch of a Gauguin self-portrait, “les Miserables”- I had the idea of making contrasting marks using this picture, contrasting the portrait in the background (which could be done with traditional lino cutting tools, leaving an outline) with the self-portrait, which I imagined in different textures, made with other tools than linocutters. This little portrait  would be a practice.

It was a complete failure- I scratched the image into the surface, but when printed, nothing very much was visible. It’s partly to do with the texture of the board, but it’s also just a case of the scratching not going deep enough.

I thought I’d try some cutting on wood. I have some offcuts of .. well, I don’t know what to call it, as I’m not a wood expert. Anyway, the surface was reasonably smooth. I tried scratching with a nail. Splinters. I decided to use my lino cutting tools, as they are actually wood carving ones. Tried the diagonal knife and the flat one, trying to make different textures.  The image I chose to do was a mask-like face- something like the Sutton Hoo helmet. Result, more splinters. I tried cutting prepared board before and was confused about cutting with or against the grain. This stuff just split and splintered either way. Here it is. I tried printing it in multiples, as that can sometimes turn nothing into something, as was the case with my practice marks. But not here.

Tried another of the offcuts, this time just slicing with a thin blade. Result, no splinters, but nothing much worth printing either.

At this point, I feel like heartily congratulating the course designer for being able to “inscribe a floor tile with a nail”. A better man than me.



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