I started yesterday to write about my process of making a print. It's going to be a little while before that particular one is ready to show the final process, so I decided to make pictures of the finished one I pulled some more prints of today. Above is the block on the press itself. The press is a Lin-o-scribe press, that used to be used often in department stores to make weekly sale posters. It will take wood or metal type, but I have a piece of wood cut laid down into it to make it high enough for my thinner pieces of linoleum. I can print a block up to about 12x19" on paper that's 14x24" or so.
The paper is clipped into the edge of it and pulled back over the side (on the far side of the top photo). Then I lay the block on the bed of the press, using an L-shaped piece of cardboard to get it in just the right spot.
Today I was printing the key block, the black one with all the pattern, on top of the green and blue that I had already printed. You have to let the paper dry overnight between each color, and there's a different block carved for each color.
Above I'm peeling the paper off the block after rolling the press (it has a rubber roller to apply pressure) over the print. You can see my notes to myself to put the TOP of the block facing the right direction. Yes, I've printed upside down by mistake before, and I hate wasting paper on a stupid error.
Below is the inking set up. I roll out ink on a sheet of glass and roll it onto the block before putting the block on the press to print. I buy ink I use a lot of in cans (black, white, yellow) and other colors in smaller tubes.
Below you can see the progress of color printing. I printed the blue first, then the green, and finally the black key block. The color blocks are much simpler, just solid areas of color, and therefore faster to carve. The pattern block takes by far the most time. This print was finished some time ago, but I don't print the whole edition at once because the hand rolling is time consuming. I tend to print six or eight at a time, as I need them, until I've hit 100 (or however many I've set for that edition -- they're all signed and numbered). So now I have some more to sell.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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