In the preparatory part of this project I’m looking at mark-making on surfaces other than regular silk-cut lino which I’ve been using to date. I’m keen to see what effects I can get using both my normal lino cutting tools and some of the other things I tried out in the last project.
This is barely cushioned and is overwhelmingly taking the place of flooring linoleum. It’s only a couple of mm thick and most pieces (as with mine) have a pattern stamped on them. The one I’m using is a slightly textured granite style colouring and feel.
Using my regular tools I found it very easy to cut, like going through butter, but due to the shallow depth it was also easy to cut right through leaving holes. This was particularly the case with the V-shaped cutters as they are designed for a deeper cut. Above photo, top to bottom: large V tool, smaller V tool, large curved tool, smaller curved tool, 1mm tool.
The photos are hopeless here but there are some marks where the tools have either compressed or cut the vinyl. Left: brayer, needle nose jewellery file, narrow blade saw, rough sandpaper. Right: knitting needle, push-pin, corkscrew, skewer.
Textured yoga mat
This is an interesting product and won’t cut with normal lino cutters. They just pull up sections and you are left with huge chunks hanging off the base. There’s no control and the whole thing doesn’t work. So I tried some other methods.
Middle photo: small V cutter which was the only one I could use to take out small random shapes, narrow blade saw which was dragged across the surface. The saw tooth kept catching and bringing up lumps and I hope that’s going to be interesting. Needle nose jewellery file was used to file away the surface texture. Right: soldering iron (from top down) stabbed straight into the mat, criss-crossed lines and drawing a shape. Sandpaper to compare against the marks from the small file.
I thought cardboard would be interesting as this piece has a corrugated layer sandwiched within and when the surface is cut away I might get something good.
The pale blue foam is quite thick and is sold as a smooth yoga mat. The red is 5mm funky foam and is more dense and robust than the other.
Top row left: drawing with the soldering iron instead of making random marks. Right: corkscrew, which jumps and bumps over the surface and a flat jewellery file which has been rubbed over the foam roughing up the surface. Bottom row left: narrow blade saw. Right: small V-shaped lino tool dragged over the top towards me upside down so it forms grooves, dragged push-pin, stabbing with a metal skewer.
I suspect the blue sample may be too soft and compress out of shape when printing. We’ll see.
Thanks to some recent deliveries I have some lovely thick chunks of polystyrene to play with, but what a mess it makes when cutting.
Left: I used several sizes of punches to make individual indentations in the surface then afterwards I randomly jabbed the punches in groupings. The brayer gave a different shaped cut, more elongated. Right: back to the soldering iron. I was taken unawares regarding how quickly it would simply sink into the polystyrene and melt it away. Now this is where I could cut a quite precise image with a little surface texture fairly quickly. The product melts so fast that you have to watch how much pressure you use.
This is a rubber/silicone type commercial product that is designed for carving into for printing. It’s much softer to cut than lino and easier to control mark-making and tool usage.
I image all tools that work on lino will work on this without a problem. I just tried a few today. Clockwise from top left: cross-hatching with a Stanley knife, thick lines with scissors, sandpaper (I’m determined to get it to work on something), soldering iron – this leaves a lot of raised melted lumps on the surface, just as I found when doing it on the lino, knitting needle – this had to be done several times to make an impression.
The next step is to sample print each of them and assess what works.