November 21, 2012
My linocut residency at Trükimuuseum in Tartu, Estonia, started this week. It will be lasting for several months as I’ll be going back and forth between Tallinn and Tartu to complete my project, so this was just the first part it. I met the good people who run the place, familiarized myself with the space, learned the linocut process, and even tried carving and printing a few lino plates.
And yes, I’ve got the injuries to prove it. I was smart enough to keep my hand out of the path of the carving tools, but I didn’t realize that the edges of the linoleum are so sharp. I’m sure I’ll develop a good technique to avoid those cuts in the future.
I’ll be heading back there in two weeks if I have any illustrations for the project to work on by that time. Carving is of course the most time-consuming part, but it’s also the part I enjoy the most (thus far). My plan is to do most of the carving at home, and head to Tartu with the plates to print them. This time I made three prints (but my phone/camera died before I got a pic of the third one).
It is totally possible to use linoleum flooring for linocut. Everything I’ve read said it’s too hard, blah blah blah, but that’s what Trükimuuseum uses so that’s what I used. Maybe “special” linoleum for linocut is better/easier. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually. To make this linoleum easier to work with, I heated it up a bit with a hair dryer. That made it much softer and more pliable. Providing leverage also helps. You don’t necessarily have to buy a bench hook. Any kind of resistance will help (a wall, a block of wood on a table that’s against a wall, etc.).
Oh, and any ideas I had about using letterpress for the text of the book are gone. For the cover, sure. But there’s too much interior text for that to be realistic. Oh well. I’ll figure something else out. But let’s end on a happy note: