last print today, number 25

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.

 Day 1

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.

Day 2

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.

WIP. plate after day 2
lino plate at end of day 2

Day 3

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.

WIP plate after day 3
lino plate after day 3

Day 4
More cuting in the morning:

WIP plate after day 4
state at the end of day 4 workday

and yet more cutting in the evening. And so I could start day 6 – which was today, with a slightly more finished plate:

Day 6

This looks do-able:

WIP plate beginning day 5
plate at the beginning of day 6

After about another hour I was finished:

WIP plate cut

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.

WIP washed
cleaned plate, still before the first print

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.

inked up for the first time
inked up for the first time
In the Library
and her eit comes: the very first proof

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:

25 down, 75 to go
25 down, 75 to go

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.

6 replies on “Printing”

  1. Love this design, Hilke! To dry them, you could do what I was taught – make a “washing line” with string along the edge of the room, then peg up the prints with ordinary clothes pegs. You should be able to space them quite closely and just leave them to dry, while you do another batch!

    1. Hello Lizzie,

      thanks for commenting. – I am happy to hear that you like the print. “Infiltrating the library system”, hihi 🙂
      Thanks also for the tip with the washing line. Problem is: my studio is really tiny, the space where I can stand up is just half a meter by half a meter, and even there just so. Therefore the only place where I can hang the prints is over the staircase, which I do. – It gives me space for just under 30 prints. (
      I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for warm, dry weather.

  2. Hilke, these are wonderful!! I love the design, and the printing looks great. (And thanks, as always, for sharing your process, which is always interesting.)

    I’m not sure I’d want to rub 100 of these with a spoon either, though… (!) Good luck. But it does look like you’re making a very good start.

    Speaking of the bookmarks, I haven’t forgotten to send you a few of my old ones. Honest! I’m still finding them here and there… the studio is a mess… But I plan to have at least a little something in the mail to you soon…

    1. Ellen, thanks for coming by and taking a look. I am looking forward to your bookmarks. But of course: no worries if it takes longer.

  3. i am amazed! The design is incredible and the prints are beautiful. I’ve never tried this so I had no idea how much work was involved. So lovely and fun to see!

    1. Hi Audrey,

      thanks for commenting and thanks for the compliment! I am really happy that you all seem to like this reader on a shelf 🙂
      How much work is involved in a lino cut depends heavily on the design of course. And the speed is in the end very personal. It took me so many days also because I don’t have much time to work on each day.

Comments are closed.