Linos are a bit tricky to ink up. It's easy to over ink or under ink the block, so I have to do a lot of pulls to get a few decent prints with my make-shift printer. The problem is that after about 20 or 30 pulls, the lino is breaking down.
Because the pasta machine only opens so wide, I can't put in a kind of "printing bed" that would keep the block flat as I crank it through and as a result I think there's too much torque on the block. (Or maybe my lino is just too al dente?) The samples below were all printed on different types of paper, which accounts for some of the differences, but take a look at what I mean:
This is an early pull. A proof to see if the block needed more cutting and if I liked the border I left as a frame. I knew I wanted to clean up the carving around the cloud and thought that the lino may feed more easily if the border were removed.
Ok, this second example is mostly over inked and a patch under inked on the far right. This print is showing the stress fractures I was talking about. Look at the base of the ear on the right, the wrinkles around either eye, the X on his sweater is starting to crack. Bummer. I really liked this carving, too.
Here's the final example in our forensic study. The hairline (hare-line?) cracks are much more pronounced. I have some ghosting in the cloud from where the paper probably shifted mid-print. Back to the drawing board.
Possible solutions I am toying with:
- Using a different kind of lino? The kind I'm using is softer than the traditional battleship gray variety.
- Printing on Japanese paper and using a baren instead of a noodle maker.
- Buying a scratch-off lotto ticket, winning millions and purchasing a press
- Joining the APS.