by: chicago designslinger
[Lill Street Art Center, Chicago; Printmaking classroom /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Last week I completed a printmaking class at Lill Street Studios. It was a survey class which introduced us to a variety of printmaking techniquesand met once a week for 14 weeks. From etching on plastic plates (instead of stone) to carving out relief blocks in linoleum, we covered the basics. The last 4 classes gave us an opportunity to focus on one or more of the processes we learned.
[Capital, (2009) silkscreen on white and olive colored paper /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
I was a printmaking virgin. I really enjoyed the silkscreen process and used a photo from our files as the image I transferred on to the screen. It was very interesting experimenting with the ink colors, shifting the registration of the image, and using different colored papers to see the kind of results you’d get.
[Linoleum carving: tools, carved and inked lino blocks, reduction lino block /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Doing relief printing turned out to be my favorite. If you don’t know what relief printing is, here’s a very simple explanation; carve into something, and the parts that remain are the relief segments that will create your printed image. A lot of school children create their first relief print using a potato as their printing block. Rubber stamps are a source of relief prints. You may have heard of wood block prints, we worked with linoleum in class. We started by transfering an image on to the linoleum, used the image as a guide as we carved grooves into the surface, and the raised areas were inked and pressed on to paper.
[Hollywood (2009); Fall (2009); Smiling Sun (2009) /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
I tried a process called reduction relief printing. You make your first cuts into the surface, print your first color, make a second series of cuts, print another color, make a third series of cuts, ink another color and so on and so on. It takes planning and an entirely new approach in the way you think and see. I loved the challenge, as well as using my left and right brain cells in a new way. So much so that I’ve signed up for a 10 week course that focuses on linoleum relief printmaking. We’ll be posting the results of that adventure in March.