Good Impressions Part 2: Linocut prints on clay

Carved linoleum = block printing on paper, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, but lino is used to make impressions on clay, too. An acquaintance of mine from our Open Studio uses this technique. He makes gorgeous pieces with a tropical feel. Click here to see a slide show of Dan Severance’s work and to read a little bit about him. The colorful ones that look embossed are the ones I’m referring to above. I also saw some ceramic tiles online that were made from such impressions. Made by Camas Creek Pottery, they are Craftsman-style. I couldn’t find much about the technique behind the art until I found a Ceramics Art Daily article which featured Cynthia Guajardo.”Printmaking and Pots: Using Linocuts to Make Clay Prints,” was written by Annie Chrietzberg. Click here to see Guajardo’s work on her blog site. “Cynthia first sketches her design onto the linoleum with a pencil then holds it up to a mirror to see what the design will look like in clay,” states Chrietzberg. “Once she’s satisfied with her drawing, she goes over it with a Sharpie then proceeds with the carving.” Guajardo also passes on a number of tips, like warming lino quickly in a microwave to make it more malleable. She suggests working with woodcarving tools, not just linoleum carving sets, too. In addition, Guajardo told Chrietzberg that “a bench hook is especially useful for people new to carving linoleum.” She said, “This Z-shaped piece of metal hooks over the edge of your table, and securely holds your work as you carve.” Most of my relief work is deep, but that could change if I become familiar with this method. My work could be more shallow, my tiles thinner. However, cutting a reverse image sounds mind-boggling. It would be workable, though, if I use the mirror technique. I could also have a small piece of clay at hand to test the relief as I was working. In August, I’ll be visiting relatives in the States and, while I’m there, my brother is giving us a woodcarving set. So, perfect timing. As far as materials, there are many online sources for linoleum blocks. Google it to find it and wood and lino carving tools. Most linoleum block carvings are used for printmaking but, depending on the design, it is perfect for making good impressions on clay, too.

About Jan

I have a background in ceramics, graphic design and journalism.
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