Welcome to 2015 gorgeous FOB readers!
I know we are a fair way in already, but it’d be rude not to say welcome to the party, even if we’ve arrived a late.
Considering we are only eleven days in, I am still going to stick to my premonitions that 2015 is going to be a very productive year, personally and craft wise too.
To set a tone for the year, I started with learning a new skill. When doing my 2014 roundup/ 2015 re-sew-lutions, I did some ninja amazon purchasing of a lino printing starter kit.
I have always loved the linocut aesthetic from the greats like Pablo Picasso (I saw some in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona that have always stayed with me) through to amazing modern artists and crafters like Lino Cut Boy and Katherine Jones and thought I’ll give it a go.
The kit I bought was from Esse and very reasonably priced, including all of the items I needed to get started.
In reading the many review on Amazon, I was reminded of one of the only truths in life…
Both the box and the instructions and about 42939 amazon reviews mention very, very clearly how the metal lino cut tools are stored in the baren and even make a fairly big deal about how great it is that the baren has this storage capability.
Despite all of the clear messages still many, many reviews spent a significant amount of time complaining the kit didn’t have all items included and they couldn’t find them anywhere.
I would love to dive into the astonishing world of Amazon reviews, but I have neither the time, energy or eloquence to do justice to this wonderful past time.
The kit had 6 different cutting tools (these are stored in the baren incase you didn’t know), a baren (which is a pressing tool incase you didn’t know), several shapes, sizes and varieties of lino (you can get different types you know) and also a roller, ink and ink tray.
The Esse instructions were very clear and easy to work from and take you through all of the stages of cutting and printing.
There is additional information about how to print in several colours- not somethingI have experimented with yet.
I decided to start off with the soft cut lino. This is more malleable lino, which is easier to handle and comes in a satisfying grey-pink squidgy putty colour.
I went with this, as opposed to the traditional lino, as I had read it was much easier and I didn’t want to start my proactive 2015 having a strop.
Now here was the problem- the design. In all of my doodles and sketches and musings and notebooks full of ideas, when it came down to it I couldn’t think of a design.
In the vain of experimentation, I just ploughed ahead and started with a Fuck Off Bunting Logo.
The soft cut lino takes pencil really well, so you can either draw your design on directly or trace it on. Do remember that all images need to be carved in reverse, so watch out particularly for text.
The kit also includes a very Health & Safety conscious hand guard.
I did start off using the hand guard, but in the end I just went rogue, even though it could have ended in my loosing a hand.
Having both hands free meant I had more ability to cut accurately. I made the decision to commit to my craft even if it meant I was endangering my hands.
This was my first attempt so I didn’t know how wide or deep the carving had to be.
In retrospect I think, I probably should have gone for it a little more than I did.
I really liked the process of carving the block and how the lino responded.
I worked up a sketch of a Pizza box and carved that out of a larger piece of the soft cut vinyl.
I was ready to print.
At first I found it quite hard to tell how much ink you needed and it took a while to get a feeling of how much you should load the roller, the instructions did have a recommendation, but I think it is something I’ll be able to gauge better after more practice.
The next stage was the printing. After rolling, I let the ink turn slightly tacky and turned my block onto card. I just used very standard white card stock for this first try, but I am also looking forward to printing onto some different materials, such a cartridge paper, fabric and maybe some patterned wallpapers too.
After you turn the print onto the paper you need to press down with the lovely baren- it’s where the cutting tools are stored don’t you know?!
Here are my efforts of various success.
First the FOB, I think I had too much ink on the roller …
And secondly my pizza box, which I think looks pretty good!
There, please pretend to be surprised when you get a lino cut birthday card.
Now get your dancing shoes on your own linoleum floors!