Last time I introduced Anastassia’s work, today I’d like to show you her process. Here is a sneak-peak of the finished print;I learned that there is a lot that goes into a print…starting with paper!
Mulberry paper offers strength and flexibility and is a quality acid-free paper. This is the type of paper we are printing on here, and also referred to as kozo. I also learned there is a right way to cut paper (no, not with scissors!).
Folded and creased using a bone folder and a paper knife, we cut a piece for the print…She also showed me the typical tools used for carving…Before carving a block she paints the surface. The red paint contrasts with the carved portions making it easier to see the image as you work.Anastassia brought a number of finished blocks for the demo, and I chose two for the print.She mixed ink using a plastic spatula on a large piece of glass. We added in a transparent medium in with the inks making them slightly translucent (you will see where this comes in later).The ink is then rolled to a smooth consistency onto the roller……and then applied onto the first block evenly… The kozo paper is placed on top of the print, pressing down with this wood hand-piece called a baren (custom made by her wood-working dad, no less). We added a bit more ink by carefully lifting the print and rolling on a bit more…After we were satisfied that the first print was complete, the second block was prepared as the first with ink. Carefully lining up the edge of the first print with the second block…And another round of firmly pressing and rubbing the wooden baren to completely transfer the second image (in red) to the print…and checking progress…It was looking great! Since the yellow paint was still wet and the transparent medium was included, there is a great effect where the paints bleed through one another slightly. It allows the image to have a transparent layered look. The final image turned out quite nicely I think!
While there was a lot more I learned in our session, there is one more print I learned about that I’d like to share. Reduction prints, also called ‘suicide’ prints, are continually carved from a single block and the original image is lost. The final image includes multiple prints from the carving stages, each stage in a different color. It is a really interesting process and considering you can never go back to the initial block, they take forethought. Including color consideration. Here is another print from the same blocks, but using different colors;I thought Anastassia’s piece ‘Ten Thousand Leagues’ was a great example of a reduction print.
All in all, I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot, much of which I didn’t get a chance to include in these two posts (including info on other paper types, ink, and tools, as well as carving medium)! But, I’m hoping it was an informative and entertaining introduction none the less!
Anastassia gets many of her tools locally from Harbor Freight, printmaking ink and other print goodies from Daniel Smith, and buys paper locally at Hollanders. If you’re interested in more of Anastassia’s work or if you’d like to contact her, check out her FB fan Page here. She will be in the Ann Arbor Art Center’s Liberty Local show coming up in October, so mark your calendars!