I’d spent a little time a Kings working with the class now, and as such I was learning things. Mainly that it would be beneficial for me to give the young ladies a little more time with the sessions. I’d forgotten quite how quickly a school lesson goes! At Kings they are an hour, but within that you must account for people arriving and leaving, explaining what is to be done, and clearing up! So really this all leaves you with 40 to 45 minutes maximum. This, as you can probably gather, is not a lot of time. Because of this I decided to pre-emptively adapt my schedule slightly, and upon the suggestion of Zoe did the same for my plan after Christmas. This meant our initial 3 sessions of lino turned into 4 with myself, and one extra with Zoe herself. Although a little tentative about this at first, as I thought it could be too many, we ended up with some beautiful results and some fledgling lino cutters!
The first week was the week to learn the basic techniques of actually cutting the lino. It is almost like learning to use a pencil for the first time.
The Japanese vinyl is a new canvas with a new texture and feel, and the lino gouges are a new tool with a completely different technique to master! I pushed all the tables together, so we were all working and helping one another, and so as the staff and I could keep an eye on people to ensure they were using the tools safely.
We began with a small section of the vinyl as a practice piece. The best thing about Japanese vinyl as oppose to traditional lino is that it is double sided, so you are able to create twice the work. This was especially handy on these little practice pieces as they weren’t intended to be printed so reduced the amount on wastage.
On the first side lines and marks were made; this was mainly to get to grips with the pressure required, and to decide which of the different gouge styles they liked best. Once this was completed we went on to giving initial writing a go. With this I could teach that text needed to be the opposite way around, and which sections to remove in order to achieve different looks.
This seemed to get pretty well, and although there were some hitched, everyone seemed to get the idea. Most then moved on to creating a circular stamp to use as a logo stamp for all their work. Not all these were finished in this session, solidifying the need to adapt my plans slightly.
The other issue I came across in this session was a lack of confidence of some of the young people. They required a little more encouragement and support due to the completely new techniques. Encouragingly though, as the weeks went on even the most tentative with the material ended up creating successful outcomes, a lot of them asking to take tools and materials home to continue the work!
Week two began with finishing off our logo stamps and ensuring everyone had had chance to print theirs. This was even more important as this time we introduced the linseed oil ink, a little harder to work with, but with much better results! It was good for each of the girls to get a feel for this tackier ink on a small surface before applying it to a larger lino block.
As planned we then moved on to carving out our single colour lino prints. Sticking with the theme of natural forms we looked at the Pinterest, and in a variety of books to get inspiration for these. This was a good week for building up the confidence of the girls as most of them were completely happy with the process of cutting and printing by the end of this week.
This meant that during weeks three and four I was positive in introducing some more complex methods. We moved onto reduction lino prints, layering prints, and creating a two coloured graduated ink for printing with!
Overall I am incredibly pleased with how all these sessions went, potentially being as lino is one of my favourite methods so I may be a little bias… But that aside! I won’t be able to include all the images on this post, so please do check out the Instagram linked below to see some of the girl’s exceptional work.
Follow this project
On Instagram @deburiart