Coming Together

Box Printing

Box Printing Complete

When printing with blocks carved from MDF (medium-density fiberboard), which are economical (cheap) but also typically warped (cheap), a bit of chance is added to the printing mix. One solution would be to put on my big-girl pants and buy some nice wood sold specifically for wood carving, but that can get pricey. So, for a project like this with simple graphic shapes, I wanted to go with an economical (cheap) solution for the blocks.

In this case I carved two blocks, one for each color (opposed to doing a reduction print or making my second block from a print of my first, Peach Farm Studio does a nice job explaining some of these methods.). The blocks were basically the same size, but due to the inconsistencies in the MDF as well as the cutting of the blocks, and the carving, there seemed to be quite a bit left to chance. If I could have closed my eyes when pulling the second color, I would have. To my delight the second color registered really well with the first and I didn’t have to do any adjusting to achieve good registration. I’m guessing this will be the first and only time it works out so nicely.

Vivere Disce, Cogita Mori

…or in English: Learn to Live, Remember Death.

I did a large wood carving when I was in school (long, long ago) that had a similar theme, although it was more focused on the stages of life. While trying to remember and search around to find what Latin quote I used in that piece I came across this one and thought it quite appropriate for a day of the dead skull I had doodled one day (…there are more which will soon be turned into a set of note cards.)

Learn to Live Remember Death woodblock letterpress print

Although hard to see in this photo, I was playing around with transparent white in my inks. The green skull shape was the first to go down, then a transparent green went over that, with the black skull outline on top. I didn’t get quite as much contrast between the skull shape and the type as I originally envisioned but I am  happy with the subtly too.

In the works

I decided that I wanted to move towards more wood carved blocks, opposed to polymer plates. My wood carving is a bit rusty but after a few hiccups (gash in finger, reading sharpening directions–sharpening after every 20-30 strokes DOES make it much easier…) I was able to finish these:

Carved DoD Wood Blocks

There is one more piece, which is polymer—the lines were just too fine for me to attempt at this point. I am hoping to print these in the next few days.