Linocut – “Kintsukuroi”

H Locke_ Kintsukuroi

I’ve been a bit obsessed of late with the concept of Kintsugi – the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold – also know as Kintsukuroi. The underlying idea – that an object is more beautiful for having been broken.

Cue an opportunity to get the gold leaf out again and practice my l33t gilding skills, when an exhibition opportunity arose at the Mill E17, to be part of the printmaking exhibition Ink, Press, Go.

For this piece, I took the concept of Kintsukuroi into the (always challenging) world of linocut.

I make no secret of the fact that linocut really stretches my skills and my patience. I like the control of pen and ink. I know what is going to happen and I have complete control. Whereas with linocut or lino printing, I have no idea if the thing is going to work until I take it out of the press and peel back the paper from the plate.

It’s probably good for me, and good for my practice, to relinquish control from time to time. But I still find it stressful, especially with a deadline looming.

So, back to Kintsukuroi.

For this piece, I drew and cut a lino plate of a generic vase, which in itself was neither particularly hard, or particularly interesting.. excluding my various attempts to get it to print evenly.

And then I kind of freaked out my lovely instagram followers by doing this..

I admit, I freaked myself out a little too.

Next, I attempted to glue it back together with gold leaf. This is where I learned the importance of LETTING THE INK DRY FIRST.

Yeah, that didn’t work. It’s meant to be a fine straight line. As you can see, the gold stuck all over the place including off the print. Fail. Well, this is how we learn.

So, back we go and fortunately I’d made a few attempts at the linocut print, so I could tear even more of them apart! This time, waiting until everything was dry…

Bit more careful with the glue this time..

And of course I remembered to wear gloves to avoid tarnishing the gold with my human hand oils 😉

And there you have it.

Kintsukuroi – edition of one.

Linocut print and 23ct gold leaf.

Exhibition details here.

Advertisements

Linocut – DFL

DfL h locke

DfL (Down from London) is a limited edition linoprint I created for a series of exhibitions in Margate in summer/autumn 2016.

It was a good test of my linoprint skills – which compared to the control I feel when I pick up a pen – are virtually non-existent.

Credit for the final result must go partially to advice from such sage experts as Martin Adams and Kirsten Schmidt (expert East London Printmakers) and Margate-based Nick Morely of Hello Print. Incidentally, if you want a superb book on linoprint for artists, you could do worse than grab a copy of Nick’s book.

As with all good things, I started with a drawing..

DfL h locke

Please note the wooden spoon – turns out that’s the most important part of the whole process. It’s all about the pressure baby, especially when you’re hand-printing lino.

For this edition, as you can see, I used Jacksons Water-based ink. This is a lot easier to clean up after, but as I’ll cover in other posts, for some editions I use Caligo especially when printing by hand.

DfL h locke

To cut the plate I used Pfeil tools. To be fair, they are the only ones I use or would consider – just so much control and such high quality. They’re pricey but 100% worth it – the best price I’ve found is at Jacksons.

DfL H locke

I love the way plates look when they’re freshly inked. So much potential (but also potential for it to go wrong… 😮 )

DfL H locke

DfL H locke

Here’s what happens when you don’t use enough spoon… sob.

DfL H locke

Here’s the first colour plate going on – with enough pressure! Thanks to my experts for the tips and I can confirm that the only way to hand print lino is essentially by applying pressure until you have worked up quite a sweat and creating one massive bicep. Maybe I shouldn’t have made this edition in the middle of a hot summer..

DfL H lockeThe first reveal of the second (black) plate… thank gawd I didn’t mess that bit up.

DfL h locke

Edition of 10 completed and suspended – it’s always quite satisfying to see them strung across the studio.

DfL H locke

DfL H locke

And I got to show them off at the Viking Gallery in Cliftonville, Margate.

I’ve also made a series of greetings cards based on this work, which are available in my etsy store.