Your First Print : Support Forum

6 blocks ready for printing.
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Author:  Michael Cunningham [ Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:46 am ]
Post subject:  6 blocks ready for printing.

..... macrocarpa wood isn't really suited for woodblock printing, its on the soft side with an open grain. On the plus side it tends not to warp when planked and has an earthy scent and colour. However its what I had so I went to work. First I had to reduce the scale of the image to fit my block size ( when I saw the size of the origami bird I was worried I would mess up cutting it out ).
I'm a long way from any quality Japanese products here in Ireland. I found a half box of old printing paper the type with the perforations on either side to feed it through the printer ... it has a light transparent quality to it so I used it for the hansita and subsequent prints from the keyblock. To glue it down I substituted wheat flour for rice flour and made a little paste following this Nori recipe (worked fine) and the paper only distorted if I used too much paste.
woodblocks.jpg [ 163.75 KiB | Viewed 18357 times ]

So the cutting began, I used mostly a penknife for the lines and a surgical blade for the fine detail of the origami bird. My line cutting leaves a lot of room for improvement and was by far the most difficult part of the task, clearing waste required much attention to the charachter of the grain but went well. So now I have five colour blocks and one keyblock. I have found a stiffish paper and am ready to work towards printing when time allows.
I found when cutting the blocks I had to recut line edges regularly to get sufficient depth. If I tried to cut deeply first time I initiated a wobble which didn't improve my confidence. But cutting twice or more risked giving a messy edge also.
The most pressing urge for me now is to hold an origional print in my hands. So David if you would please choose one to send me I would be greatly obliged. Let me know your payment details too.
And if some time in the future I might want to buy good paper what weight do you recommend?
There is so much excellence on your website I find myself returning to it again and again. Your own personal reflections on life et all are written with a warmth and liveliness which is a pleasure to read. Perhaps unknownst to your self you are putting the skeleton of an autobiography together, and on that note .....

Author:  David Bull [ Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 6 blocks ready for printing.

So nice to see that stack of blocks! I'd love to try my hand at printing them ...

May I offer a couple of comments?

    The kind of paper you describe - old printing paper ... perforations each side - will distort extremely when in contact with water. I certainly hope that the kind of paste you used to glue these down didn't cause much distortion ...

    You say "I have found a stiffish paper" ... This will need thorough moistening before you can print on it, I'm sure. It's so difficult to explain this part of the process in words, but try and get the paper to the point where it feels like clothing that has just come out of the laundry spinner, before drying. It should be soft soft soft, without being 'wet'.

    As for a recommendation on paper 'weight', I'm not sure what to say. A person without much experience would be best off sticking to a general 'medium' paper. Stuff that is quite heavy makes it very difficult to get a good clean impression, but stuff that is very light is extremely difficult to control going onto the block.

    I have no idea where you find paper in Ireland, but there is a shop in London that carries quite a range of Japanese papers that should be suitable for your work ...

I look forward to seeing your next step!

Author:  Michael Cunningham [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 6 blocks ready for printing.

Thanks for your advice David and that link to the London store. I really would like to purchase one of your prints, 'am not sure if you sell them singlely..

Author:  David Bull [ Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 6 blocks ready for printing.

I have many small prints available - just take a peek at the Mokuhankan shop, or the Gift print page ... Thanks for the interest!

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