Print Process

firstblock

The woodcut prints are made using two identical sized blocks, on the first block, the image is painted, using black poster paint and washes, the image is squared up from smaller pen and ink drawings and reversed.

This first block  now cut out using a craft knife and tools and the block is then printed in a dark ink onto a sheet of acetate which can be used as an overlay.

cutting detail
acetate

An uncut second block , the same size as the first one is now printed with the lightest colour of the image to create a complete rectangle/square of ink the same size as the first block onto the edition paper.
This is repeated onto each sheet of paper in the edition. At this point the artist has to decide how many prints the edition will consist of because the second block will be methodically cut and printed to create a coloured background, this is irreversible.
The second block is now cleaned and is ready for the next stage.

Reduction printing
The second block.

On completion of printing all the edition copies in the lightest colour the acetate overlay (printed from the first block) is positioned over one of the prints and using a sheet of tracing paper, any areas the artist wants to retain in this light colour are traced around and using carbon paper the tracing is transferred to the second block.
These areas are now cut out and the second block is reprinted onto each sheet of the edition in the next colour, the areas that have been cut out do not hold ink and so reveal the first colour.

acetate on ist colour
inks mixing

When the prints are dry, the acetate is once more positioned over one of the now two colour prints and the areas of this second colour are traced out. The process is repeated, trace, cut out, print until all the colours required  are complete. At the end of the process the surface of second block has been reduced to a few areas which are the last to be printed, this is why the method is called reduction printing.

tracing
second block

On completion of printing all the background colours carefully onto the number of sheets in the edition, the first block is now inked up in a dark colour which will unite all the background colours and very carefully overprinted onto each copy of the edition.

At each cutting stage there is potential for utilising different ways of marking and reducing the wood surface and subsequently the ink picks up on textures and patterns associated with the wood grain and surface quality. As the colours build up incidental ink marks and flecks of colour build up to create interesting surface patterns and qualities particular to the wood.

registration table

All the printing is done by lowering the papers onto the inked block, the back of the paper is then burnished with a spoon. Registration is made accurate by having a fixed position on the print table for each block and the paper fitting on to dowel pegs along the top side.
A hanging bulldog clip holds the front end of the paper above the table while the inked block is placed in position, the paper is then lowered onto the ink.

The whole process is highly skilled and hand crafted, each print at every stage is completed by the artist and the editions are small but unique.