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Blue Bar Linocut Workshop 10.5.22

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

A sunny gorgeous day spent at Blue Bar Porthtowan. Usually I'd be wave watching with a pint of some lovely Cornish ale, but no, not today. I had the Board Room for a workshop. The fab Blue staff had arranged all the tables and organised tea and coffee for the day. I added a few brownies and we were good to go. Duty Manager Kieran checked all was ok and was on hand throughout the day.

I had taken a selection of linocut blocks (the thing you print from) with the corresponding prints. I wanted to show the ways in which you can use a single colour, multiple blocks and variations in tone.

My three block Blue Bar print below - one layer is printed on top of the other.

Nine women were booked on and once everyone was setlled with a cuppa we had a look at different types off lino. I had taken some scraps from my previous blocks that we used to make small stamps. We printed on newsprint paper with Versa Ink Pads. These dry quickly and give a good solid pop of colour. We experimented with flipping the tiny blocks around to create patters. I do love a star and several people had included them.

People them chose either softcut or traditional lino to carve their main block. I've explained the differences previously here . Some people are happy to draw straight onto the lino and cut, others like to transfer an image from a picture. With grey softcut this is quite hard, you can just about see pencil if you squint and hold it at a funny angle. Most people chose traditional lino which is easy to transfer an image on to with carbon paper. You need to remember that whatever you carve will be reversed once printed. So lettering must be carved in reverse.

I love to see the different ways that people work, and there is no right or wrong way - except DON'T BLEED! That's pretty much my only rule, always cut away from your body. I've been teaching people and children that for years using tools at Forest School. A few people knew what they wanted to do, cut their blocks and got stuck into printing. Others drew several designs before deciding, some spent time flicking through my print books and searching for specifics on google. We had a request for images of lighthouses and another for dandelions.

We looked at inks and used plain (but gorgeous) Black, Process Blue & Extender and then Process Blue & White on another. This showed the range of colour that can be made with simple primary colours and the addition of white (pastel colours) and extender (translucent colours)

We tested prints on newsprint and experimented with the following papers; Copier paper, Hosho, Somerset Satin, Zerkall Smooth, Awagami Bunkoshi and brown wrapping paper which surprised a few people. Colour looks different against different backgrounds so white, cream and brown all look different even though the picture and ink are the same.

You can read about the Awagami papermaking process here

Everyone was keen to print and one person carved up to eight minutes before the end of the session and still managed to pull some good prints. There were many 'ooohs' and 'ahhhhs' That first roll of colour on a block, and the first time you pull a print are pretty special moments!

Wet prints were carefully wrapped in newsprint to go home and be dried. A great day with some cracking future printers!


Papers mentioned above

Caligo Safewash inks & Extender

Shopping list mentioned in previous blog Absolute Basics

Next Workshops

The Barn Lanivet - June 25th - FULLY BOOKED

The Barn Lanivet - July 14th

Blue Bar Porthtowan - Sept 22nd

Blue Bar Porthtowan, Feeling Festive? - November 9th

West Acre Gallery, Norfolk - November 23rd

West Acre Gallery, Norfolk - November 24th FULLY BOOKED

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