The other day, however, I did an intensive at Union Street Printmakers on lino cutting. It was me, the teacher, another participant and a couple of others who were using the studio space for other projects. It was a good atmosphere, and the garden outside was peaceful to hang around in during the break. You wouldn't know a little oasis existed in the industrial side of town.
The first part of the class we practiced basic cutting and stamping. Much easier to begin carving this way. It's like a potato print. You could even use old flip flops or erasers if you wanted to. But even if the material is simple to deal with, as with anything, learning to work with new tools takes time. You start to learn which tool does what and how. Alongside this you also have to train yourself to think about how image making works in relief printing. Cut away what you don't want to show and the rest stays.
After lunch, we did some actual lino cutting. Lino is a little harder to deal but the process can be made smoother if you have sharp tools and warm linoleum. At least if I start doing some at home I'll have another use for the electric stove! I found my carving to be pretty jagged, not really what I was dreaming up in my head but what can I expect for a first time? Well, when you're a bit of a perfectionist, probably a lot. But it was all in good fun. You also learn some basics in printing and what prints can look like with different techniques and papers. Take a two-toned effect on a thicker more absorbent paper:
and then you compare it to a print on lighter, textured paper and you get another type of effect. Line integrity aside, in this case I preferred this type of print. It has a bit of a redeeming quality to it...