Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Liz Mitchell Printmaking Workshop

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take another printmaking workshop, this time with a local artist named Liz Mitchell.  The picture above is a reduction print.  First I carved away the stars and printed with red and orange.  Next I carved away the Northern Lights and printed with blue.  Next I cut away everything but the mountains and printed with black.  We were printing with water soluble block printing ink.  I am not at all happy with the hand of the fabric and I am sure it is not permanent.  But, I believe that after it cures for a couple of weeks, it will be as permanent as it needs to be.  My worry is about stitching through three layers of paint.  Cool, but probably not a great technique for fiber even with different ink.

 I also carved this little bird.  Last summer my husband put a piece of plywood down on our front porch and covered it with bird seed.  What a mess, but so cool.  At any point in the day, there would be up to 20 little birds gathered.  This guy amongst them.  I didn't get any great prints in class.  The one above was about the best.  At home yesterday, I printed some more.  I wasn't happy with the eye and tried to carve it deeper-disaster!!  I destroyed my block.  Luckily I had another piece of linoleum so I recarved him.  The really stupid part is that I carved away the eye again!  Luckily with some E6000 I was able to glue the piece back in.  You can see the results below.  I tend to carve too deeply in the area directly surrounding the subject of the print.  Something to watch for next time.
 Now that I have printed this edition. with a background, I cut away the backgroud and have just the bird to print.  That is where the fun really begins!
These are prints I made with just the mountain that was left from my reduction print.  The contrast on the darker pieces is less than what I would like, but stitching will remedy that.  Now I just have to find an ink that I like.  The oil base ink that I used in the previous workshop I attended is permanent, and has a good hand but is difficult to work with and needs solvents for cleanup.  The water based inks are not permanent, dry very quickly on the plate so you have to work fast, and I don't like the feel of the paint on the fabric.  I have tried Versatex screen printing ink for fabric, and Jacquard fabric paints but they are too thin.  Any suggestions?


  1. Hi Sally, thanks for sharing these photos; I like your little bird. Have you tried acrylics yet? That is what I use and I have no complaints.

  2. Hi Sally, thanks as well for your discussion. I have used the water based block printing ink and it worked fine -- the hand is a little rough, and that worked for my piece.



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