Sometimes just a little change will give you a different perspective

At the printmaking evening at WonderLab I was thrilled to unveil my bromeliad flower. I finally realized that rather than trying to put another strong color on the print, a transparent one would be best. A bit more carving and a transparent blue brought out the shadows of the very pink flower.

Elizabeth Busey, Bromeliad Flower. Reduction linocut on Masa paper, 3.5 x 3.5in, open edition. Printed by many at WonderLab Museum in Bloomington, IN.
One of the biggest challenges of reduction printmaking is registration. We were printing with spoons at the museum, so I created a mini-registration jig complete with pins and tabs. I cut the hole for the block in a piece of foam core — just large enough to hold the block snuggly. My printers did not need to take the block out at all, just use the brayer to ink the block. Then the tabs could be clicked into place and the spoon rubbing began.

I found this mini-jig made registration easy for people while they were printing with a spoon.
Most kids and adults were surprised when they pulled up their print and saw the change. I just love that aha! moment, and I was glad to share it with them.


I love that Aha! moment when you pull up the print.

In my studio, I’ve been working with the idea of a matrix that overlays the image. I posted the last post about this on several Facebook groups and got some interesting feedback on what people saw. I’m actually working on two different blocks, and when I had finished, I saw that I had carved one differently.

I saw chicken wire fencing….

The first one I followed the corners of the hexagons. When I looked at it, I saw chicken wire. It wasn’t what I wanted.  So I carved away some more, smoothing the corners a bit…

Now I see honeycombs — thank heavens!

With more rounded shapes, now I saw what I was looking for — honeycombs. I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about bees, their importance in our planet and food system, and the dangers they face. Now I have to continue my experiment with matrices and see how well it works on a large scale.

It is amazing to me how easily perspectives can change.

4 Replies to “Sometimes just a little change will give you a different perspective”

    1. Hi Diana,
      I use the plastic tabs that are made to use with the pins. You need to add (into your measurements) a sacrificial scrap of the paper at the edge where the tabs will be taped. (For example, I have two inches on the side, plus four inches on the side nearest the tabs.) I have marks on my jig at inch intervals so I can align the paper. I put the tabs on the pins and tape the part of the tab that extends over the paper with masking tape. When I am finished I just tear off the two inches I don’t need, so that the back isn’t marred by the masking tape being removed.

      I use an etching press and found that the holes I punched would stretch over time. Super frustrating. I love the pins and tabs because it makes misregistration rare.

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