|The pristine A1 lino from Hawthorn|
|The image reversed and transferred|
On Friday I went in to Hot Bed Press anyway. I needed to test a few things, using the real A1 lino plate (even though it wasn’t yet ready to print). Lesson 1: A1 lino doesn’t fit in my car! Fortunately I was able to swap cars with my husband.
I placed the A1 lino on the Polymetaal press, the largest etching press at Hot Bed Press. I put a large piece of Canaletto 300gsm paper into the kento marks. Lesson 2: the paper and lino together were too wide for the press. I spent over an hour cutting down the paper. I decided to start creating 12 original linocut prints in the hope of getting sufficient good ones at the end of this risky process. Somehow 10 seemed too much added pressure on a first-time giant reduction!After I’d cut the beautiful smooth paper, I learnt another useful lesson. Lesson 3: the trimmed paper is bigger than the A1 folder. Thank heavens Karen Joyce was kind enough to lend me her folder to keep the paper safe and clean!
Over the weekend I eventually finished the cutting stage – with piles of lino pieces in the studio and rogue lino bits gradually spreading all around the house. On Monday, I returned to Hot Bed Press and set about the mammoth task.
Printing went well. I had intended to take a first proof on newsprint. However the newsprint was too small for the plate, so I did my best to proof onto 2 pieces – not ideal.Overall things went pretty well on Monday. Positive lessons: I had mixed just enough very light grey ink to complete the 12 prints (a bit close for comfort though!) and I managed to print all 12 just before Hot Bed Press closed. Conditions were icy, but I managed to work up some warmth eventually through the physical effort of rolling so much ink, transferring the huge plate to and fro, printing and moving the prints on the drying racks for storage.
|Printing on the Polymetaal at Hot Bed Press|
|Colour 1 - a very light grey - on the drying racks|
I was also delighted to find that I could, with care, place the paper onto the plate using the registration marks on my own. It was a 1 person job! At 5pm I was shattered and went home for a rest. I’ll be back on Wednesday to print colour 2. In the meantime, today I’ve cut the lino plate further, to remove lino from areas I want the very light grey to be visible. There’s no turning back – bit by bit the lino reduces with each colour of the process. Fingers crossed for a positive day on Wednesday. I’ll be wearing my hat as well as my thermals next time!