Of Oz, Clogs and Linocut Prints!

Gentle reader,

When I finished high school in Australia, I went on student exchange to the US to do the last half of senior year all over again. Glutton for punishment, right? ^_~ Not really, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life, and I met some of the most awesome peeps ever. And, I also got to learn how to do linocut prints! I wish for the life of me I could remember my art teacher’s name, she was so amazing, and I feel like a jerk that I can’t remember. But, that class was so amazing, and I learned more about art and craft in the six months than I did in the two years I took art at my Australian school.

Anyway, recently my super lovely friend, Amy (who blogs at Mildly Crafty, so you should give her some love!), gave me a whole bunch of linocut bits and bobs – all stored in a delightful old cardboard suitcase – and a book about different DIY printing processes. I already had some linocut stuff, but I hadn’t touched it in years so this got me all fired up about linocut all over again!

Amy’s Awesome Gifties.

I didn’t use the clean, new blocks that Amy gave me, because I wanted to save those for when I was more practiced, so I used some lino scraps I already had. The fabric paint didn’t work very well on my lino – it balled up and didn’t print very well – so I used the regular block ink that I already had. I can’t wait to do some fabric printing though!

My first carving went straight into the bin because I’d forgotten to mirror the letters so they printed the right way, but after that I did a Wizard of Oz print which came out really well! I was very happy with that one. Beginner’s luck. The next one I did was of the clogs. It’s somewhat of a tradition for bloggers to take pictures of their feet, I guess, which I’ve always thought was quite funny and cute. A bunch of the lovely ladies whose blogs and Instagrams I follow seem to love their clogs, so I asked GourmetGirlfriend if I could use one of her Instagrams as a reference and carved a tribute to bloggers who clog. ^_~

It’s slow going, but super satisfying!

I’m still finding the best amount of ink to use. The first time, I used to too much, and tried watering it down a little. I got the best prints from thicker ink though, and having a lot of ink had some trade-offs. I got better prints, and more prints from one application, but I also got more waste prints at the beginning from the ink squishing around the edges too much. So, the second time I used less ink, and got good prints, but not quite as good, and only one or two prints per application. I need to find the happy medium.

The roller is called a brayer. The more you know!

I did prints on brown paper and some canvas cartridge. I think I liked the brown paper best. I have lots of love for brown paper… brown paper bags, brown paper parcels, ah! I love it all! So, I was really happy with my brown paper prints. I found that I liked the Oz design a lot more when the print wasn’t completely even, and the paper showed through in places with the ink. But, for the Clogs one, I liked it more when the print was very crisp and even.

No Place Like Home, and Clog Lovin’

The canvas was more of a mixed bag. I think it was just a little too textured, and the Clogs design went right up to the edge so it was tricky to line up. I think I’d like to try printing on some other textured materials that aren’t quite as rough, like watercolor paper or something. I still liked them! Just not quite as much.

Click your Silver Clogs three times… (or Ruby Clogs for the movie peeps).

All in all, I’m properly happy with the carvings, but I still have some experimenting to do with the printing process. They’re definitely not Etsy-ready, but hopefully soon. Experimenting is the fun part, so I’m well keen to get on with it!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished sock to show you soon! ^_^

What other kinds of designs would you like to see? Have you done any printing before?

The Work-In-Progress Workroom, Also, Paper Cranes

Gentle reader,

I haven’t been as swift with unpacking as I probably should have been since we moved in. But, it is what is, and regardless of my characteristic procrastination, my workroom is slowly, slooooowwwwly coming together! Excitement plus! Although this is tempered with the fact that if you saw my bedroom you might judge me. Harshly. But, never mind that; here’s a little bo-peep at my workroom!

A lion shelf (with some birdie visitors)
My vintage space print curtain. I'm guessing 60s? Maybe 70s? Not sure...
Some random bits and pieces

It shouldn’t be long before it’s all done and dusted, but probably not until I get back from visiting the fam. The only thing that’s really bothering me about it so far is that I want a better way to store my yarn. Plastic crates are functional, but they’re not all that pretty.

Meanwhile, I picked up some origami papers from Tokuya – my favezies! – and for the last week or so I’ve made a crane here and a crane there while I watched podcasts and browsed the net, and when I ran out of papers I strung them together!

Wikipedia Fact: The Japanese word for a group of 1000 paper cranes is "Senbazuru" (千羽鶴)

Ever since I read Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes in primary school I’ve had a special place in my heart for these little pretties. I remember when I went to Japan with school, we got to go to the Hiroshima Peace Park and see her statue. I burst into tears! I let the group go ahead and I stayed with her for a good half hour or so (as long as I could without losing the group), and there was a nearby shrine full of cranes, so I made some and left them there. It was one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had. Geesh, I’m such a bleeding heart!

Anyway, I love them so much, and I’m sure I’ll do many more eventually. I want them hanging all around my house. ^_^

Does your home have any recurring motifs throughout it, like lions or cranes? What little trinkets make you happy? ^_~

– R