Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I just completed a monochromatic miniature of a piece of late 19th or early 20th century farm equipment that I photographed at Luxton Fall Fair last September. I am captivated by old equipment - there is something fascinating about rusting metal, and my curiosity is always piqued by inexplicable (to me!) machinery. Dave is much more cleaver at gleaning meaning from the various valves, cogs and sprockets than I am.

On grey Rising Stonehenge 245gsm paper, image size is 10cmx10cm (just shy of 4"x4") using first Graphic Chemical water-soluble black:

and using Speedball mixed deep indigo:

I find that Safety-Kut can have good and bad sides; you'd think you'd be able to use both sides, but not always. Often the texture produced in the print is grainier on one side of the block than the other. This is a print as an example of such grainy texture. At first I thought it was the Graphic Chemical ink, because I'm not used to it, and it seemed to take a ridiculous amount more than I would have expected. But GC ink is much stiffer than Speedball, and more like a "real" printing ink, so you have to work harder to build up the layers. The ink was really "zinging" (the sound made when you pull the brayer through the ink), and I thought I was overloading it, but apparently not. I tried with rice paper as well, thinking that it was the thickness of the Stonehenge, and same problem (although I was able to get a somewhat clearer print). I think I'll try the GC ink with actual linoleum and see how it does. I also want to try this print with an actual press, rather than burnishing. Hand burnishing can produce just so much pressure; a press makes a big difference with tricky materials sometimes.

As this is a piece of farm equipment, I'll use it for our POG monthly challenge "On the Farm". I'm happy with the piece, but a little disappointed in the printing quality. We'll see if using a press makes a difference, but it'll have to wait for a while!


jen hook said...

I love this print. I wonder if safety cut is the same thing as what I have down under called speedy cut, thick and very soft?

Unknown said...

Thanks Jen - Yes they're the same (or at least really similar). Speedycut is just the brand name specific to Speedball.