As an admirer of classic woodcut artists like Thomas Bewick and Robert Gibbings, I have wanted to try my hand at the medium for a while – and I got the chance on Saturday at a workshop at the London Print Studio run by printmaker Jonathan Ashworth.
I made two blocks, based on photos of reeds and marginals I took last summer on the upper Thames, intending to layer them – though when it came to printing they seemed to work better separately. I tried all sorts of colour combinations and paper types, printing a dark background with a stencil moon for some and for others cutting a fluorescent circle and sticking it to the paper as a background. I’ve done lino-printing before at home, using the back of a spoon to apply the pressure for the print, but using a proper press is so much better – I tightened up the handle quite hard on a few and ended up with a bit of embossing which I like.
My original plan was to use the prints as collage materials for my upcoming exhibition, Skim Sky Blue, but I’m now planning to make a lot more blocks (using lino this time), book some studio time at the LPS, and produce some Thames-inspired slightly abstract prints that way.
Jonathan showed us a DVD during the lunch break about contemporary woodcut print-makers, and I particularly liked the collage-y abstract approach of Peter Lawrence. An inspiring day all round – thanks Jonathan and LPS.