Friday 7 September 2018

'Manchester Old & New III' or 'Why choose Easy Cut Vinyl over Traditional Lino?'

It's only taken me about three years to finish the little set of three 'Manchester Old & New' mini linocuts that I originally intended to create.  Manchester has changed quite a lot in the meantime!

This year I added the last one to the series:

First proof of 'Manchester Old & New III'

This linocut complements numbers one and two, shown below:

'Manchester Old & New II' (on the left) and 'Manchester Old & New I'

For the whole set I chose to use 'Easy Cut Vinyl'. I buy the type I use online from Artesaver. You can see the plate during and at the end of cutting:

Part-way through cutting - with marker pen clearly visible on the easy cut vinyl plate

The finished 15cm x 5 cm plate with cutters
I know some people don't like the character of Japanese vinyl or easy cut vinyl at all. In the dark grey, it can be tricky to see the pencil marks you have transferred to the plate too. I tend to use a marker pen to fix the lines and get them to show up more easily before I start cutting. Some say it lacks 'soul'. It's certainly less green than traditional lino, which is made from clay and linseed oil.

The feel of the vinyl is certainly different and pieces of cut lino do not 'ping' out, as they would with traditional lino. You have to finish the cut and allow the tools to rise to the surface. For me, it has it's place and sometimes I chose traditional lino and other times I choose easy cut lino, depending on the project. For reduction linocuts, for example, I'm more likely to use traditional lino, as the process is a one-off and the lino is finished with at the end.

Here I've summarised some of the advantages I find in the easy cut vinyl I use:
It's robust and does not deteriorate - so good for longer editions or returning to a plate later
  • Plates can de cleaned in washing up water
  • The very first print comes off clean and crisp
  • You can achieve fine detail, as well as you can with traditional lino
  • There is no hessian backing to release small fibres
  • It's probably slightly cheaper and comes in a range of sizes
  • It's easier to cut, especially in the cold
To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

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