Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Feb 1 / Print 1 of 29 - Causeway

making my first linoblock to print

So I proofed my first print onto Yuanshu paper. It's called causeway and I realized as I was carving it that the reason I was making it was to express "heat" as in hot temperatures-those shimmering lines of heat off the roadway and the bleached out pavement. Hot roadways, pavement, endless travel, never ending. That was today's theme. No surprise why that's come to me first.

4" x 5" linoblock print on
Yuanshu paper with Caligo safe wash relief ink

I am using this residency to try some new paper and some new ink. As I go along I'm going to post my thoughts and my experiences working with these new materials as well as my subject matter.

So, what we have here is a paper made from bamboo fibre. I bought it because it was cheap and plentiful and I was going to just "put up with the colour of it and make it work". As usual, it's never as bad as you think it could be. The colour is ok. It's actually richer than I expected.

I bought my paper from Blue Heron Arts who I find on He has a great variety of paper which is marketed toward the Chinese calligrapher. The sheet sizes are really good: 27 x 54 is pretty common. Depending on how you work you can get quite a lot of prints from one sheet. I find most of the paper I have bought from him works really well for prints, but some is pretty delicate. This is why I am experimenting right now. With the month ahead of me I can see what really works and what's just too fragile for me and how I work. Anyway, onto the Yuanshu. This paper is described as follows:

bamboo fibre paper

The name "Yuan-shu" means "first-writing,"

Used by the emperor in imperial rituals on the New Year's Day.

Made of tender bamboo fibers .

For brush painting and calligraphy.

Unbleached natural tone.

Antique-looking paper.

Ideally for classical style flower-and-birds, and landscape .

Medium thickness.

Texture is fine and soft.

Absorbent but does not smear that much .

first prints produced in residence on my first day of residence

My thoughts on Yuanshu are these:
1. it's very soft and really absorbs the ink
2. it's pretty tough as I really worked the wooden spoon over it
3. the ink transfer was pretty clean and clear

and this brings me to my ink.

I'm trying this stuff

Manufacturer's info here: Caligo Ink

It was a good call to get the non-toxic ink for this studio. First of all I don't have big industrial sinks and second of all there is a real emphasis on the island environment. I think it's just the right thing to do. Also others will be working in this studio after I go. I won't be leaving any toxic stuff behind. Not even a little bit so that makes me feel good.

Thoughts on the ink:
1. really smooth, moves really easily, easy to roll out
2. super easy to clean and it really cleans completely up
3. no smell to the ink that I can detect so good for a small work/live space
4. related to #1 above... the ink really moves. I am wondering if it moves too much.
I suspect that the humidity here is making the ink pretty loose and then there's the heat too, which I am sure also makes it move. A little goes a very long way. It'll be interesting to see if the other colours are the same, and then again when I mix my colours up.

All in all a very good start.

1 comment:

Timothy Hunt said...

so glad to see you are settling in and already busy in Key West. Love your "causeway" print. Really looking forward to seeing what else comes from your work there this month.