You Call It The Studio, I’ll Call It The Kitchen Table
Recently Charlie Hillhouse (of Small House Books) dropped round to take some photos for the folks at Mild Manners. I was in the middle of finishing the last woodcut that will be in next week’s show. This is where I spend most of my days off. Around meal time it’s the kitchen table – the rest of the time it’s where all the projects that are strewn around the house are worked on.
While most of the time is spent carving the woodblock, once a woodcut is finished up, I head downstairs to the spare room which doubles as my makeshift printing room. On this day I was going back and printing a woodcut I hadn’t touched for over a year and had not gotten around to editioning. Everything is pretty much DIY. A jig from some left over timber. Inking glass that’s from an old picture frame. A drying rack that was once a clothes rack. Whatever gets the job done really.
The vast majority of my prints are printed by hand (I don’t actually own a printing press). This means that when using a baren (the little bamboo disc beside the print there) I usually need to make a few passes of the print – ink the block, apply the paper, ink the block, re-apply the paper and so on.
This is the fun part where I get to see if the woodblock has worked and eventually with the right amount of ink, the image starts to come off the block
And if everything goes according to plan then I’ll end up with a rich image with just enough wood-grain to complement the carved lines and add some texture.
So while I might take days, weeks or even longer to carve out a woodblock, I can usually have a few prints made in a couple of hours. A satisfying way to end the creative process.
Thanks to Charlie for the snapshots of me at work.