I admit it - I am a workaholic. When I set my mind to accomplishing a goal, I dig my heels in and allow the obsession to take hold and often work myself into the ground to accomplish it.
Its part of my nature and while its often not a bad thing that I am so focused, it means I can easily burn myself out. I'm sort of heading that way. I've been working like a fiend to build up my thermofax screen business and I'm in the midst of prepping things for another craft tutorial and another big shop update.
Its turning me into a bit of a studio troll.
I decided that a bit of human interaction was in order. Kismet was on my side because just as I was thinking that, I got the newsletter from Art & Ideas, a local art gallery run by Shaqe Kalaj. Leann first introduced me to her when she was putting on a show of her woodcuts.
I fell in love immediately. I'm a huge fan of monoprints and block printing.
Shaqe teaches classes and she has one on Thursday evenings that are mini intro classes. Last night she ran one on lino cutting and I jumped at the opportunity to take something with her.
I've done some block printing in the past but its been a while and there were things that I did that I'm sure could have been done easier. So I signed up for the class and learned quite a bit in that ninety minutes.
One of the things that Shaqe does is she colors the block with sharpie so you can actually see where you are carving. I thought this was genius. Since I normally just carve freeform, it was tremendous help to be able to see the design develop as I went along rather then crossing my fingers and hoping I was getting it right:
I also liked the way she showed us to burnish the image - just a simple plastic spoon:
I did a few prints and found that I either was putting too much ink on the block or not enough:
I think its because I was using black ink to print and the block was colored black for carving. I'm going to try printing this design with some red block printing ink I have lurking about the studio and see if I can get a more even print. I just couldn't see where I was putting the ink with everything being the same color.
I like coloring the block for carving so I'll probably use an obnoxious color like hot pink on future ones. I'm not likely to print hot pink prints.
The carving material she gave us was thick enough that we could carve on both sides. Here is my second design:
I'm not done picking at it yet. I'd like to carve some more out of it and do some more printing.
I'm really enamored with this, I want to order some more carving blocks. I'm undecided if I want to just keep going with the line compositions or actually focus it in on a specific thing. The tedious detail of carving all those little lines is really appealing to me.
Another obsession begins...