I specialise in woodcuts, linocuts, wood engravings and etchings. I used to work a lot with photopolymer etching, but I now prefer to use eco-friendly materials. I teach workshops in beginners’ printmaking, especially monoprints and linocuts. All my prints are in limited editions, ranging in number between 5 and 50.
Wood engravings are usually tiny, as the end grain of the wood is used, which is the diameter of the branch, as opposed to the plank, which is cut along the grain of a branch or tree trunk. Suitable woods are hard with a dense grain, such as box, cherry or pear. Wood engraving tools are extremely fine, like jewellers’ or metal engravers’ tools, unlike the woodcut or linocut tools which are ‘v’ or ‘u’ shaped. The measurements indicate the actual size of the blocks.
Woodcuts are cut from the plank, so the grain can be incorporated as a texture, but if the wood is soft the lines will be less precise. They can be quite large, but these examples are pretty small – about 10 x 10cm.
Linocuts are often the first form of printmaking that people encounter. The first thing you need to learn when planning a linocut is to think about the black and white balance. It isn’t just about carving white lines into black: you can leave large white spaces and created black outlines by carving out on either side of them. When you start working in colour, you can hand colour your prints or produce several colours from one block by carving the block away each time you print the next colour. This is known as a ‘suicide block’.
Other printmaking methods
About 25 years ago, a pair of rabbits popped into my head and decided to make their home there. They have been very demanding, commissioning portraits of themselves in all sorts of postures and different media. The following images were made using the relief solarplate method, which requires no carving at all. All of the editions of these prints have sold out, but you can still buy the images as cards.