04 September 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - reduction

The new project is based on an Anni Albers weaving seen at Tate Modern's show. I was drawing the structure and enjoying the way the black and white threads are combined to get two shades of grey, and how these relate to the black and white elements, when a kind woman took pity on me and mentioned that there's a postcard of that one.

The postcard was helpful, but knowing a little about weaving and doing the drawing was essential for quickly making sense of what Albers was doing.

What I ended up doing digressed rather from the original intent.

A section copied onto a small block, 8cmx8cm

Using a larger block - 20cmx20cm
 At that point I discovered that I'd blithely cut "a four" that should have been "a horizontal two" and of course that unbalanced the design. Much revision and this version will have to do...
Layer 1 is cut

An investment in "proper paper" (and blocks for the next project)

Thinner paper, from a roll, on the left;  ho-sho on the right
 I wanted a nice solid pale grey and ended up with lots of wood grain. Would cutting back on the nori help?
 Would using less "ink" (watercolour) help -- or diluting it....
 So for each of the six prints on ho-sho I diluted the paint, with seemingly little difference -

 And finally, a couple of prints with 1cm borders, printed using a floating kento -
The effect of paper at maximum dilution of watercolour
 Next, reduction. Careful delineation of what needs to be cut -
 Ready to print layer 2 -
 Rubbed so that rough areas can be identified and dealt with -
 And printing can start -
I discovered that a couple of "fours" squares hadn't been completely cut, just the verticals (or was it horizontals, doesn't matter, too late now) but a couple of days later am hard pressed to find which ones they were -
Thin paper on left, ho-sho on the right, and layer 2
is too dark on both!

Too much pigment, leaving blobs in all the wrong places

Trim as necessary...
 Diluting (considerably) with each print eventually got the grey more to my liking -

Next, reduction again. The areas are marked and I'll wet the block before cutting, it's so much easier to chisel it off that way.
Pared back and ready to print -
 Same old procedure - first the two on thin paper, then the six on good paper, then two with a little border ...
 This time I didn't dilute the black - I wanted it to be black, especially where the dark grey was too dark, eg the first print -
Print 6, on the right, got pretty much the balance of values I was aiming for.

At the end of the day the block and I were exhausted!
Time for a glass of wine, and a quick trip across the road to find something for supper.

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