For the last four Wednesdays I have been taking part in a Woodcut Printing Class at The Hotbed Press in Salford/Manchester. Our lovely course tutor was Oliver Flude who has a website here-
Oliver inspired us by his skill and enthusiasm for his craft and showed us some of his own prints together with the blocks he had used.
Previously I have tried my hand at wood engraving where the image is engraved onto the end grain of a piece of hardwood. In woodcut printing the long-grain is used, this is very different and has a charm all of its own. Unlike wood engraving, this method of printing is capable of showing some of the character of the wood. The wood is softer and the grain more a feature in the final print.
Over the course we had four three-hour sessions, to learn the basics. All our efforts had to be concentrated into creating an image in a short space of time. This meant that a bold, energetic and free style took over from my usual tightly controlled style. This was both liberating and scary in equal measures.
We had the luxury of printing on a beautiful old Columbian Press, the hours flew by and everyone had an enjoyable and productive time.
In the first week we got to try out various tools and learn the kind of marks they made. The wood we used was a Japanese plywood which was easy to cut into along the grain, not so easy cross grain. We all managed to produce a one colour print- here is my first effort.
In week two we introduced colour, using a reduction technique. My print was a disaster and went into the bin. However, they say you learn by your mistakes.
On the third week we used a combination of techniques including paper stencils.
On the final week we pulled everything together and produced our final images.
My penguin was a reduction print using a gradation of blue into white and then a second printing of black on top.(see top).
At the end of four weeks we were all sad to say farewell, everyone enjoyed taking part and I think we will all use our newfound skills in the future.
If anyone is interested I have put some of my prints in my Etsy shop- https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/acornmoon