Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Wild Finish

Today was the last session of my latest woodcut series in Belmar.  We had five of the participants there, all working hard.  My two most veteran woodcutters, Mary and Jill, were each working on projects of their own, and I just checked in on them from time to time.  The three new students all came with finished blocks and in some cases ideas, so they kept me busy the whole time.

Beverly hit me with a request as soon as she saw me, a new big piece of wood.  She took this class to learn relief printing so she can print on fabric, to make pieces that she can use in her quilts and for other fabric projects.  Today she showed me a piece of textured shiny cloth, shaped roughly like the side of a fish.  Also a much larger fish paper pattern.  Her plan is to make a woodcut that will print onto a fabric construction that will include the fish cloth.  So I cut her a large panel from my piece of birch, which she expects to work on over the next few months. Meanwhile, she wanted to see how her new finished block would work on cloth, so I helped her pull the above proof on a piece of plain cloth.  She cut the block just as a random pattern, but printed as such she new sees it as resembling a tenement.   Eventually this will be just one layer of the design.

Denise has been working on this cup image since the 2nd week, and having picked up her own tools last week at the mural site, she had the block ready to print.  I helped her pull a proof on our standard Rives paper, but then I suggested the image might look good on a more colorful paper.  I had brought my rolled up assortment of more exotic papers today, and she selected some Nepalese paper, a color called olive in the catalog.  The mix of green, gold, and brown worked nicely against the clean defined black shapes in her design.

Palmyra had finished her first block in time to print it last week, and now had two more prints ready to go.  She had already tried a proof of the one on the right on her own, but did some more cutting to the image before printing it again today on the Rives.  She also pulled one of the image on the left (the man on horse) on the Rives, but I felt that it would also look good on a color paper.  I suggested this red mulberry paper with golden threads, and she was pleased with the result.

So after four weeks all the new people are trained enough that they can cut and print blocks, assuming that they have the equipment and materials required.  All had ideas that translated graphically, and I think they are excited to do more.  So I'd say the class was a success.


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