Dipping my toes into the world of printmaking
I'm notorious for getting extremely enthusiastic about trying new things. When I was a child, my grandmother had me involved in lessons in piano, ju-jitsu, gymnastics, ballet, tap, modern and a brief stint at pottery, all of which I attended after school, sometimes begrudgingly. I can't help but feel that along with growing up as an only child and having to entertain myself, perhaps this myriad of activities had something to do with fostering a sense of curiosity in me.
But...this enthusiasm does have a downside as I have had a tendency to buy a lot of materials in the past, got obsessed with something for a few months, and then dropped it entirely - wire woven jewelry was one such hobby! Living in the van has curbed this habit somewhat and now I try to be far more picky about creative pursuits and purchases, and try to buy things that are multi-functional or won't date and be rendered useless (like dried up oil paints)...
A friend of mine on Instagram whose work I deeply admire (@eliedwardart) mentioned that he had spent time doing etchings and engravings and that these could be a valuable exercise in understanding linework and contrast. I'd also seen some stunning linocut work from a variety of artists and that folky and rustic vibe really resonated with me.
I saw a local course in printmaking but as it didn't start until February, I decided to get myself a copy of "Linocutting for Artists and Designers" by Nick Morley and just dive right in - sometimes I find that's the best way, as you can always then go on a course later on, armed to the teeth with a multitude of problems to be resolved! Nick also has a helpful blog over at Linocut Boy, along with some great examples of his work.
I didn't scrimp on the tools. I know many people are completely happy with the tools with interchangeable blades that you can buy in the Esdee linocutting kits (below) - they're cheap and a good way to get a feel to see if it's right for you.
However, as I occasionally dabble in some spoon carving (feels great to sit on the back step of my van whittling away!), I knew I could use the beautiful Pfeil mushroom tools to carve some designs into wood later on if I felt so inclined. They're not cheap, but I definitely believe in buying quality where possible and I also try to avoid plastic and disposable items like you find in the Esdee kits.
Right: My linoprint using soft lino and soy-ink on Zerkall Antique paper
There's something really beautiful about working with tangible materials - the strangely satisfying process of cutting away little of the lino pieces, all the way to the sensory experience of hand burnishing (pushing down on the back of the print to get the ink to adhere to the paper).
I'm really looking forward to trying new things over the next few months on a combination of hard and soft lino - let's see if I stick with it!
Have you tried any form of printmaking? Or are you the sort of person who has a ton of hobbies with no time to attend to them all? I'd love to hear in the comments.
I'll post an update in the future and share my experience of how I've got on but in the meantime, bye for now!