There is a few things I wanted to share as to how I work with linocuts. It is a bit different than making linocuts for paper- where you often texture the black in order to create texture- so you will often find there is more of black on the paper than white ( the negative space)- this is partly because the evenness of your black indicates your skill as a printmaker. Also some of the background gouging out does not print on paper as it is a harder surface but it does print on because ,fabric is soft and therefore picks up some of that texture- which at times can be disconcerting.So I tend to gouge quite deeply.
I never use a brayer to ink up my linocuts- I use a dense foam roller that I buy in hardware shops. Over the years I have discovered not all dense foam rollers are equal and some do the coverage job much better than others, so there are now a favourite or two one of which at least one gets to have trips overseas, so that when I feel the inclination to make a linocut I know I can get a decent print. My linocutting tools also travel ,as do bits of lino. I use silk cut lino as I like it's density for carving and I find I can get a good print on fabric with it. There are softer materials to carve available but I feel they don't carve in the same way nor do they give the same kind of print. in France I buy my lino and tools from Joop Stoop in Paris- they are print making specialists.
I use water based textile printing ink- the oil based ones are too messy for fabric and dry too hard. There are several brands available. In Australia I get mine form Kraftkolour and buy the base extender and add my own pigments to create the colours I want- I can also add more pigment to make the colour more dense. Also ambient temperature plays a role in printing- so I find the cool of early morning seems to make better prints than say a warm sunny day.
And last but not least. I said linocuts for paper seem to have more black than white. The linocuts I make have more white than black so that I can stitch in the space- allowing for creative interpretation and adding an extra factor of colour and texture with stitch to the linocut image. And I also print on hand dyed fabric so sometimes the texture of the hand dyeing plays a role in the final print. Being able to stitch my linocuts has opened up a whole new world of ideas for me- and I am really glad that it seems to have done the same for other people- given the enthusiasm with which the Sentinelle project and Medieval project were received.Also having more white space than black space means the actual print on the fabric stays softer and is therefore easier to print and therefore stitch.
So here are some of the linocuts I have made this year and stitched this year. I have also been working on trying to make a name stamp for myself- still not sure but getting there. Most are stitched by hand but there are a few which have been stitched by machine.