As I mentioned in a post earlier this year, I am participating in Bookmarks: Infiltrating the Library System Project XIII by Sarah Bodman this year. For this I need to send her 100 bookmarks by June. Since Febuary I have been thinking about a good image, tried some, never quite satisfied. My thoughts were mainly focused on fish and feathers because that is what I have mostly been printing in the last years. But then I decided to focus on libraries, instead, and today I indeed printed the first 25 bookmarks. Only on day 2 of cutting the lino I had the idea of documenting the progress. As you might think, it was a quite tireing and delicate work. Therefore I couldn’t do much each day, or else I would have risked destruction of the block by lack of attention.
The first day I did not do much else than preparing the plate and drawing the image to drafting paper. Then I transfered like I usually do by rubbing the graphite onto the white washed plate.
I slowly started to cut the plate. I decided to start at the bottom, with the option to shorten the plate should the first trials not work out well.
I just had a bit more than an hour for cutting. Working on the shelves and books is rather boring and demanding at the same time. So when I got tired I started to work a little on the top.
More cuting in the morning:
and yet more cutting in the evening. And so I could start day 6 – which was today, with a slightly more finished plate:
This looks do-able:
After about another hour I was finished:
The next step then was of course the washing off of of the white paint and with it the graphite. Although I was quite sure about this, I was still a little nervous whether it would still work with the pencil lines gone.
And generally I was happy with how it looked. Some of the books suddenly seemed pecularialy thin, and so I corrected some small spots and here and there, but then it was time for a first ink-up.
I was very happy with how it looked. Of course I corrected some more small things. For the first ink-up and the first proofs I used a water based ink because it is easier to wash off. But with the plate like I want it, I then started to print in oil based ink:
I have made some prints by rubbing with a spoon, and some with my copy (tiger) press. The results with the spoon look much nicer, but are so much more work. There are some like this and some like that under the first 25. I am not decided yet whether I will keep on mixing, or stick with one method for the remaining 75. Another option would be to scan the best (or one of the best) and then print 100 digitally. It is not what I have in mind, but serves as a back-up if the prints are not drying fast enough.
The possibility that the prints won’t dry fast enough do worry me. It is not just about the drying time alone: Due to lack of space, I need a first batch to dry before I can print a second one, and I only have less than fours weeks to finish (and the twin’s birthday with a bunch of visitors and three days of celebrations right in between).
Another thing that worries me about as much as drying time is that I will have to cut each of the 100 bookmarks to size by hand. – I should have made a smaller plate without bleed! But, well, now I’ll stick with it, and will solve each problem when it occurs, I guess.