© 2014 Hannah Phelps
This diptych has been a long, drawn out project.
It was supposed to be an ingenious idea that would simplify my printmaking process. Sigh.
both blocks cut into pieces
My goal was to create a white-line woodcut that was easier to edition consistently than the traditional method of printing one at a time by hand. I thought I could cut a block, roll oil ink on the pieces (instead of painting watercolor with a brush) and use my bottle-jack press to print them (instead of rubbing with a spoon).
rollers - traditional and invented - and ink
I have done this exact thing before using a soft material instead of wood. (Remember Bright Day and Marsh Spring?) That other stuff is a lot easier to cut up than wood, especially into tiny pieces. Knowing that cutting very small bits would be hard, I didn't try. I separated some shapes with just a carved line, as if it was a white-line woodcut. I thought this gap would help ink stay in its proper place while rolling.
It did. But some of the shapes were too small for any commercially available roller that I could find. Maybe I should have taken the hint. But I didn't - I made miniature rollers out of bamboo skewers and mechanical pencil erasers.
I wouldn't kid about this.
In the end, each print took a solid half hour to load with ink each time. For a print this size, that's just ridiculous, considering a regular jigsaw takes me between 5-10 minutes to roll up.
The bigger disappointment is that I need to add something to these and I really wanted this to be a one layer operation. Well, two when I realized I'd really like purple under everything. Now we are up to three and there will be at least one more. The whites in the foam need work, so I am adding some highlights.
In the meantime, I thought you'd like to see the process and progress. Especially since I won't be doing this again. Back to the drawing board.