Design Play: Exercise 2 – creating the designs

Exercise 2: designing and cutting stamps

The goal: to explore the possibilities of stamping as a design tool.

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks carving 11 stamps from some of my comma designs (posted here) and then printing them.

Collagraph plates:
On the left is some thick textural cardboard (from the back of a sketch pad) with sandpaper shapes adhered to the surface.  I like the printed texture of the background but the sandpaper hasn’t really worked.

On the right is a piece of mountboard with shapes cut from thin cork sheet.  This has come out very well with great definition around the raised areas.

Carved vinyl:
There’s one thing about vinyl, it’s very easy to carve quite precise shapes.  You need to be careful to cut right through to the surface before lifting off your ‘strip’ otherwise it can run and take off more than intended.  It’s also easy to ink up.

In Photoshop I cleaned up around the edge of the first print but now I’ve done it I think I prefer the accidental ink pick-up from the plate edging.  I could have cut it away right to the edge of the design, but didn’t.

Quite like these as vinyl gives such a sharp, solid image.

Easy-carve block:
This strata is super-soft, super easy to carve and gives great results.  As it is so thick it can also be used on both sides.  The downside is that over time it dries and crumbles away.  Doesn’t really bother me.

I think this is Japanese maple.  However, when cutting it three layers were revealed adhered together.

As soon as I started inking up and caught the carved edge of the block I liked it so I continued deliberately.

These prints based on positive and negatives of the same image came out quite well.  I like the first one best.  Lovely and simple.

These next linocuts are, again, positive and negatives of the same design.  I like the organic curves on these.

Finally I have the most simple linocut I made.  It’s quite small but quite effective.

At this point, whilst there is nothing terribly exciting about these, I have learned that at heart I’m a collagraph printer.  It’s my favourite style.  I love the background pick-up and I enjoy making the plates, sticking bits and pieces onto a base, cutting and slashing patterns and lines and just seeing how they will turn out.

So, basic this may be, but I’ve already crystallized where my preferences are.

About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
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