A LOOK BACK: Leaf Print Mandalas

After college I lived in NYC for almost 10 years. Making these prints had helped me bring nature into my daily practice. I’d take walks to collect fallen leaves from the sidewalk, then bring them back to my apartment. After pressing the leaves so they’d lie flat, I rolled them up with ink and printed them on the paper. Creating compositions with radial symmetry was calming, meditative, peaceful. I recently made more leaf print mandalas from cuttings I took in my own backyard and will post them at some point soon…

Hamsa Notecards

The artworks on these cards are relief prints - a bolder, more graphic look than the papercuttings in the previous post.

White Line Woodcut; a Brief How-To

Here's my second white line woodcut. Below left is the white pine wood cut to about an 8" square. Below right is the finished print.

A BRIEF WHITE LINE HOW-TO

Here's how I made this print - first, I transferred my drawing to the wood using transfer paper. Then I used an x-acto knife to cut along the lines of the drawing. Using thumbtacks, I pinned my paper to the right side border (this kept the paper out of my way when I was painting since I'm a lefty). To print, I painted watercolor onto a section of the wood up to the edges of the carved lines, then lowered the paper onto the surface of the block. To transfer the color to the paper, I rubbed the backside of the paper (in the general area where I'd just applied paint) with a spoon. I continued painting and printing until I was finished. 

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White Line Woodcut

 
 My first white line print - in progress.

My first white line print - in progress.

 

Just returned from our annual week-long vacation in Truro, MA, where I'd been thrilled to find a class in "White Line Woodcuts" being taught at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum during our stay. I immediately registered and I'm glad I did. The class was taught by artist Sally Brophy whose work includes white line woodcuts inspired by nature. You can see more of her prints here - my favorite is the one with mermaids, which coincidentally, I had purchased (in the form of a notecard at the Pilgrim Monument gift shop) several years previous to enrolling in her class. 

Highlights of the workshop included:

Learning the white line woodcut technique.

Seeing original white line prints from the PAAM collection by artist Blanche Lazelle and others.

Visiting the Bakker Gallery to see more prints, including an origianal Sally Brophy!

Watching the documentary "Packed in a Trunk" - which uncovers the story of artist Edith Lake Wilkinson (one of the originators of the white line technique), who was "committed to an asylum in 1924 and never heard from again". 

Working alongside classmates and seeing their work in progress.

All in all, a great experience - more white line woodcuts to come!

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white_line_print_rabkat.jpg

Fish Hamsa; From Sketch to Print

From Block Print to Baby Quilt

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I recently made a baby quilt out of one of my block print illustrations. It's neat to think about all the stages involved in making something like this. I list them here so you can get a peek behind the process...

 1. It begins with an idea... 

2. ...which I then sketch out on tracing paper.

3. After refining the sketch to a point where I'm satisfied with every detail,

4. I transfer the final drawing onto a block of wood.

5. At this point, I carve the image.

6. Once the carving is complete, I ink the surface of the block... 

7. ...and print it onto paper.

8. When the ink on the paper is dry, I scan the block print image into my computer,

9. make refinements in Photoshop,

10. and save it as a JPEG file.

11. Over at my Spoonflower shop, I upload the JPEG,

12. select the amount and type of fabric I want the file to be printed on,

13. and purchase it.  

14. A short time later the fabric is shipped and arrives on my doorstep,

15. at which point I lay it over batting, which I lay over the backing cloth.

16. I pin the three layers together,

17. free motion quilt it on my sewing machine,

18. and bind the edges.

Done!

Below, my favorite thing about printmaking:

 I love...

I love...

 the anticipation...

the anticipation...

 of pulling...

of pulling...

 
 a print!

a print!

 This one has been scanned, opened in Photoshop, and colored blue.

This one has been scanned, opened in Photoshop, and colored blue.

 As an alternate, magenta.

As an alternate, magenta.

 

I go with the blue for my quilt top and have the image digitally printed onto KONA cotton at Spoonflower.

See the quilt making process in this blog post tutorial.

See finished quilt below!

 

Jewish Art Workshop - Leonard Baskin

This will have been my third art session in my new job as art teacher at the Glen Rock Jewish Center hebrew school. For the first lesson I made the obvious choice in teaching about Marc Chagall. The second lesson was around the time of Passover, so we learned about illuminated manuscripts with a focus on the haggadah. For the third lesson (and the last one of the school year since I began mid-year), I chose to focus on the artist Leonard Baskin. I've always liked his work and in addition, since I like to introduce new techniques, I liked the fact that he's primarily known for his woodcuts. 

Since I myself am a printmaker, it was great to be able to bring in my own carved woodblocks, prints and tools to pass around. Although the kids were slightly disappointed when they realized they'd be "carving" foam rather than wood, they still seemed to love the lesson, and the results.

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