Geometric storm

My attention recently returned to lino cut and tiling patterns. In no small part because my order of Speedball Speedy-Carve arrived. It is a big slab of pink rubber – nice and thick so there’s no risk of carving too deep. It was a dream to work with – very smooth and easy to carve. I initially went at it with the same force I used on the lino and quickly realised that this was overkill and I could be much more delicate.

I’d already decided I wanted to try a hexagonal tiling pattern. I first drew out some ideas but they were crazily intricate with tiny detailing! Eventually I settled on something more achievable. A semi-abstract cloud mass with rain falling to the sea:


I liked the way the cloud/rain/sea image was obscured by the formation of the flower as a focal point but I thought this print was too simplistic – there was not enough variation in line thickness. So I continued carving:


Much better. So I pressed on and made some large tiled patterns to be framed for my exhibition in May. There is a surprising amount of physical endurance needed to create these – you need to press down with a lot of weight to ensure the image fully stamps, and evenly. You have to be very careful to line up each subsequent tile carefully and to ensure as soon as any part of the lino touches the paper it is held firmly in exactly that position until it is whisked away quickly to avoid smudging or blurred images. Once a few of the tiles are printed it gets quite nerve wracking as a tiny slip will ruin the whole thing and you have to start again from scratch! It definitely became easier and more successful as I learned how the ink and tiles behaved.

This first blue print uses the flower motif as a focus:


While what I’m calling “red mist” draws you to look at the triangle created by the waves in green, fading outward to red:


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