Day two of the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative’s relief workshop.
This session was again jointly led by Andrea Starkey, Sherraid Scott and Kim Vito. Each workshop attendants, including myself were well into their relief; I had decided to work on a woodcut. I have an affection for wood, in both print and sculpture. Often I catch myself running my fingers along the incised surface, the change between the grain and the chisel marks provide a pleasant contrast.
Kim was gracious enough to share a collection of relief prints, allowing us to study from them. Being the visual learners we are, it was a nice reference tool to have accessible. The selection was ample, including the likes of metal relief, woodcuts, linocuts, and other non-conventional relief techniques.
One of the nice things about this workshop was that each instructor has a different training background, yielding an array of techniques. Sherraid’s print experience includes numbers of study in Japan; Andrea has connected with moku hanga, the traditional hand pulled Japanese printmaking method; and, Kim, a Professor of Art, teaches intaglio & relief printmaking. Each artist is widely recognized for their skill and exhibits regularly.
In watching the gesture of each artist, its clear that tool technique is unique to the person. Both Sherraid & Andrea frequent Futatsu Wari Moku Hanga carving tools. These are controlled by placing the handle between the thumb and index finger, the free hand is used as a control/guide. The gesture was unique, in that the tool is held from behind, not within the palm. Controlling the tool in this manner allows for better carving control, with the benefit of the hand muscles being less strained.
Kim demonstrated using Brookstone and Flexcut carving tools. These are intended to be held within the palm and allow the cutting edge to be closer to the controlling hand. This is a carving technique I’m familiar with; in the end, I think it boils down to preference and what works for the artist.
Additionally Andrea can wield an X-ACTO blade like no one I’ve seen; bending the blade while making the most intricate of cuts. I have since tried to mimic this technique and feel as if I will be investing in more safety goggle… my blades break.
Despite that my woodcut did not meet with my own expectations, the workshop was a great success. What a gift to have tutelage from these inspiring women.