printmaking

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Art

A Series of Meticulously Carved Panels Combine Layers of Color to Make Tugboat Printshop’s ‘River’ Woodcut

December 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

All images © Tugboat Printshop

Woodland creatures peek out from behind tree trunks, and a stream of water rushes through a dense, forested landscape in Valerie Lueth’s latest woodcut for Tugboat Printshop (previously). “River” uses four intricately carved panels layered into a composition of overlapping, vivid color. Currently a work in progress and nearing completion, the detailed scene features intricate foliage and a smattering of stars throughout the sky and landscape.

To create the nocturnal setting, Lueth began by meticulously carving the surface of a “key block” using knives and gouging tools to create an overview of the entire composition. She then transferred the full scene to three additional panels in gray ink and filled in sections with marker to delineate which areas should be carved and where different pigments would be applied. Printed in succession, each block will provide a puzzle-like piece of the final print.

“River” is available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website, and you can follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

Two process images of making an intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

 

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Art Design

Thousands of Used Tea Bags Assemble in Ruby Silvious’s Delicate Full-Size Garments

December 2, 2022

Kate Mothes

A child's dress made from tea bags.

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

When we steep a cup of tea, we typically toss out the bag once it has served up its brew, but for Ruby Silvious, this humble sachet provides the basis for a distinctive artistic practice. Known for her miniature paintings that use tea bags as canvases, she has expanded her use of the material by employing it as a fabric for larger-scale works that are inspired by her family history and an interest in fashion. “It gives me a chance to do large scale work, the antithesis to my miniature paintings,” she tells Colossal. “It’s only natural that my art has always been inspired by fashion. My maternal grandmother was a brilliant seamstress. I was only 20 years old when I migrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, and my very first job was at Bergdorff Goodman in New York City.”

Silvious began making garments in 2015, spurred by an ongoing fascination with the various methods of printing, staining, and assembling the deconstructed segments together. “I have accumulated bins of used tea bags,” she says, “not just from my own consumption but also from friends and family who have generously contributed to my growing collection.” She has made more than ten full-size kimonos, each requiring up to 800 used bags to complete. Pieces in her most recent series, Dressed to a Tea, average approximately 75 to 125 sachets, each one emptied out, flattened, and ironed before being glued together into shirts, slips, or child-size dresses. “Some tea bag pieces have monoprints on them, and the simpler designs are assembled with plain or slightly stained, used tea bags, giving them a more delicate and fragile look,” she explains.

A number of pieces from Dressed to a Tea will be on view in a weeklong exhibition at Ceres Gallery in New York from December 5 to 10. Her work will also be featured in a solo exhibit at the Ostfriedsisches Teemuseum in Norden, Germany, from March 4 to April 29, 2023. You can find more of Silvious’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A shirt made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

Slips made out of tea bags.

Two images of a kimono made from tea bags, shown front and back. A child's dress made out of tea bags.

Two dresses made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

 

 



Art

Delicately Carved Wood Engravings Are Transformed into Dreamlike Paintings by Matt Roussel

November 3, 2022

Kate Mothes

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel featuring a face in the silhouette of a cat with flowers and a snake.

All images © Matt Roussel, shared with permission

Characterized by the use of specialized tools called burins, gravers, or gouges to carve thin, elegant lines, wood engraving developed in the late 18th century to produce more precise detail than earlier techniques. For French artist Matt Roussel, the linear forms created on the surface of linoleum or wood are just as compelling as the prints that can be made from them. In his series of mounted printing blocks, he highlights the curving textures of lilies sprouting from a scarab beetle or leaves emanating from the body of a trotting horse.

Roussel first sketches directly onto the material and then carefully guides the gouge to produce markings that he likens to brushstrokes. While he often prints black-and-white multiples from the engravings, he began adding acrylic paint to the reliefs and presenting them as original artworks in their own right. Inspired by mythology and ancient motifs, he focuses on connections between culture and nature. “Whether it’s mountains, clouds, plants, and animals, I like to mix all these elements to tell or symbolize stories,” he tells Colossal, describing the painted panels as windows to an imagined realm. “Our world is beautiful, provided you know how to see it from this angle.”

Roussel often has prints available for sale on his website, and you can find more on Instagram.

 

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a scarab beetle with lilies.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a magenta fish.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a horse with leaves flowing off of its body.

A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of two fish with flowers on their bodies.  A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a school of fish.  A wood engraving by Matt Roussel of a blue beetle with flowers on its body.

 

 



Design

The Open Press Project is Making the World’s Smallest 3D-Printed Press Even Tinier

October 18, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Open Press Project, shared with permission

A few years ago, Cologne-based designers Martin Schneider and Dominik Schmitz noticed that access to intaglio printmaking resources was limited because presses are prohibitively expensive, require lots of space, and are often located in private workshops or institutions. To make the practice more accessible, the artists launched the world’s first 3D-printed etching press in 2018, and the Open Press Project was born. Schneider and Schmitz’s miniature, open-source, fully-functional model allowed people to download and assemble the machine themselves at a fraction of the cost of a traditional press—and a fraction of the size!

Now, Schneider and Schmitz are scaling up by scaling way down in a new Kickstarter campaign that launches the smallest press they could make. Complete with ball bearings and a stainless steel roller, “it can be used for any intaglio and relief technique, like drypoint, etching, engraving, or linocuts and woodcuts of up to 13 millimeter thickness.” Learn to make your own press and tiny prints on the project’s website and join its growing community on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Birds Swoop and Swell into Imagined Inky Murmurations in Fiona Watson’s Etchings

August 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Murmuration Tree.” All images © Fiona Watson, shared with permission

“Biology is a very visual science—macro and microscopically,” says Fiona Watson. The Scotland-based artist channels her background in this field into a multi-media practice that spans photography, painting, land art, and printmaking. Observation, interpretation, and creativity by way of critical thinking are fundamental in both the sciences and art, and Watson harnesses these skills to create etchings of murmurations that mimic birds’ paths as they swoop through the sky. Collective flights “are extraordinary both metaphorically as shapeshifters occupying the space between heaven and earth and biologically as hundreds of organisms moving as one,” she tells Colossal.

Beginning with a digital sketch, Watson imagines various phenomenological patterns that she then translates to a copper plate using wax resists and acids. After inking the drawing, she sends it through the etching press, a process used for centuries.

The artist works out of the Glasgow Print Studio and has a new piece in the upcoming 50th-anniversary exhibition. Explore more of her practice on her site and Instagram. (via Women’s Art).

 

“The Persistence of Sound”

“Dark Sun Murmuration”

“And Then Songs Filled the Air”

“The Kindness of Trees”

“First There is a Mountain”

“Once Upon a River”

“The Waggle Dance”

 

 



Art

Dozens of Carved Layers Compose Vivid Linocut Prints of Cats and Bouquets by Vanessa Lubach

June 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Helen with Geraniums.” All images © Vanessa Lubach, shared with permission

Norfolk-based artist Vanessa Lubach likens her printmaking practice to that of oil painting and draws on the latter to inform her vibrant compositions. “I linocut like a painter and paint like a linocutter, and the two disciplines work together to inform and enhance each other,” she tells Colossal. Whether depicting bunches of dahlias and cosmos in a ceramic pitcher or an enchanting forest landscape, Lubach’s works center on quiet moments in domestic interiors or out among nature.

Each piece begins with a sketch and a general idea of the palette. “I’m always optimistic that I can limit the colour layers to around a dozen at this point, but that almost never happens. They almost always end up in the 20s,” she says. After drawing and carving the main image, or key block, she prints and transfers the composition to additional blocks designed for each individual color. Some pieces, like the ceremonial “Allotment Bouquet,” take almost a year to complete.

Two of Lubach’s works are included in the traveling 84th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers, which is on view through July 9 at Sea Pictures Gallery in Suffolk. She also has a variety of prints available on Etsy and shares much more of her process and glimpses into her studio on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

“Hector with Dahlias”

“Hector with Dahlias”

“Hector with Dahlias”

“Allotment Bouquet”

“Allotment Bouquet”

“Blickling Through The Trees”

“Blickling Through The Trees”

“Dahlia and Cosmos”