Project 9: Experimental Mark Making with Lino

I started this assignment by gathering up various tools and objects to use in order to cut and mark the lino. I found a range of scissors, screwdrivers, corkscrew, knife, hammer, keys, screws and other tools.

I set out my A3 sized grey lino into 6 squares to experiment with each group of the tools. I found that a particular tool may affect my direction and how I use it, for example it felt natural to turn the corkscrew in circular motions as is it’s intended purpose, lightly scratching at the surface to create texture. The scissors however with their sharp straight edges caused me to push the scissors up and down on the lino in a haphazard way. Thinking about my work with the reduction lino print and the flowers behind Rosa, I thought about how the cut marks may resemble nature, such as tall strong reeds, or tangled sea moss. The screw drivers I found more difficult to push through the lino so I combined them with the hammer instead chipping away or indenting into the lino surface, I found this to be quite successful in cutting clearly from the lino. The keys all together on the chain also caused me to scribble and twist them on the surface, causing a jingle as they stirred on the page. One of my favourite tools to use was the Stanley cutting knife, I found myself turning it at an angle ever so slightly to lift a layer from the lino, the cut marks resembling round almond shaped leaves. Another surprising find I enjoyed was using a small Allen key and hitting the end with a hammer to produce a perfectly punctured circle on the surface. I had to experiment with how many times to hit the Allen key and with varying amounts of force to achieve a good result. I also decided to print simply in monochrome to focus on the shapes and textures alone.

In the previous assignment Project 8: Reduction Method Lino Cutting I had changed to using the soft cut lino which was a dream to work with, however for this task I had some more traditional grey lino left to use up and I had originally used this type when experimenting using the different lino cutting tools in Project 5 – Test Cut Lino Cuts which produced some quite pleasing results so I thought it would be useful to return to. Thinking about developing the experimental mark making I decided to change the size of the lino to A4 and to attempt to create a representational image using these different cut marks, building upon the natural plant life I had previously explored. I also wanted to use some colour to add to the natural life scene but in a rustic and unkempt way, thinking of wild meadows, ponds and weeds.

For my final experimentation I moved to the smallest sized lino, I wanted to attempt a close up of some flowers using a combination of traditional lino cutting tools as well as the found objects to create interesting textures and outcomes. I wanted to create a colourful print too, a burst of flowers!

Sadly my colourful print didn’t quite come to fruition, as I had to blend the paint in only one print it has more of an autumnal feel to the colour palette. I suppose I was preoccupied with my previous work with reduction lino cuts I hadn’t realised that this bright colourful print would be difficult to achieve. Not to mention that the grey lino I was using was a little bowed, I had to work the paint over the surface several times for even coverage. Sadly the finer cuts using the scissors, keys, and bottle opener haven’t been extremely effective, perhaps because the bold lines left by the traditional lino cut tools detracts from their subtlety. I had hoped the two would work harmoniously but this has been difficult to achieve.

These are the final four images I have chosen for the assignment as the most successful. The first monochrome print I made was a little faint so this second print I used a little more ink to increase the contrast in the print, which I think has been effective.

These two pond/meadow prints are the next I have chosen, the print is the same size but the paper differs in size which interestingly changes the dynamic of the image. Although unfortunately the print in the larger paper is slightly off centre. I’m pleased with how the green of the meadow and the blue of the pound converge on one another.

Lastly I have chosen the close up of the flowers printed on the thinner Shoji Japanese Paper, which I think most effectively picks out those very fine lines caused by the alternative tools used such as the keys, corkscrew and scissors.

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