Do you remember when I wrote the post about cutting my first linocut a few days ago? I pondered about better tools and better equipment, and I emailed the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative and got a lovely email back from instructor Catriona Brodribb inviting me to come round this Saturday for a look and a play with some tools. How could I resist?
Oxford on a summer Saturday is a nightmare and is completely stuffed with tourists on the weekends, and the Printmakers building was right thru the heart of tourist central and down High street! But then the five mile walk from the park and ride did afford me a lovely hot chocolate from Costa coffee and a butter croissant from Pret a Manger, so crowd surfing while sipping a sugary hot chocolate and munching a buttery croissant was just about tolerable. (I may have accidentally photobombed a few holiday shots though…lol)
I met Catriona at the studio and we talked for a long time and she answered a lot of questions I had. I showed her my work up to date, and, even though students are required to take a mandatory beginner’s course, she felt I had done enough work and knew enough technique that I could just build on my knowledge without a course.
I felt really wonderful about that.
Catriona explained the carving tools and let me use them all to see which ones felt the best to my hands.
She gave me a small piece of lino…far superior to the lino I bought at the art store, and I sketched a small simple field mouse on a scrap paper and then onto the lino.
As soon as I made the first cut with these superior tools and as soon as I found my rhythm, it was such a pleasure to carve this design.
These tools are fantastically smooth and sharp and wonderful to work with. I much preferred this lino to the art store lino, but there is a trick to the art store lino. Apparently it works a bit like butter and must be heated. Many artists work this lino on a heating pad! (Tricks of the trade)
I carved this little field mouse and as I carved the design changed somewhat from what my original idea was, but isn’t that the way it always is?
When I thought I was finished, and when I used and tried all the tools available, I decided that these woodcarving tools felt good in my hands and were manoeuvrable enough for me to make fine cuts with. These, and a very expensive small wedge shaped tool from Japan.
By this time two hours had simply vanished and I decided I had to get back to the car and out of Oxford before I hit rush hour and so thanked Catriona for her help and headed back.
When I got home I couldn’t wait to run upstairs to my studio and ink this little linocut to see what I got.
And here is my little field mouse overlooking the Oxfordshire fields!
I’m so excited to have so much more knowledge and a friend who I can ask more questions of. If anyone has any questions about linocuts, I know so much more than before and would be happy to tell all, and, if I don’t know I’ll find out.