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Art

Enchanting Scenes Combine Multiple Precisely Carved Woodblocks into Full-Color Prints by Tugboat Printshop

June 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches. All images © Tugboat Printshop, shared with permission

Valerie Lueth, who’s behind the Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously), continues to cultivate dreamy scenarios painstakingly printed with intricately carved woodblocks. Her recent creations include a distant truss bridge peeking through vegetation, a whimsically intertwined pair of trees—now in full color, this piece began as a black-line woodcut commissioned for an edition of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s The Most Precious of Cargoes—and a web of vines dripping with rain and jewels evoking a dreamcatcher.

After sketching with pencil on plywood blocks, Lueth hand-carves the meticulous designs with knives and gouging tools and often cuts multiple panels with slight variances for each print. In addition to building depth of color, Lueth’s sequential process yields greater highlights, shadows, and overall detail to the completed work. The lush, leafy scene comprising “Blue Bridge,” for example, is the product of four blocks coated in black, blue, green, and purple oil-based inks, which are pressed in succession to create the richly layered landscape.

Prints are available on Esty or from Tugboat’s site, and you can see more of Lueth’s process and a larger collection of her works, including a glimpse at a new floral relief in black-and-white, on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches

Detail of “Web” woodcuts

“Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

Detail of “Blue Bridge” woodcut, 18 x 22.5 inches

 

 

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Art

Four Meticulously Hand-Carved Woodblocks Bloom Together in Tugboat Printshop’s “Clover Blossoms”

June 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Intertwining stems and leaves crowned with bright pink blossoms comprise the newest print from Tugboat Printshop (previously). Clover Blossoms is a four-color woodblock print, which means that Tugboat owner and artist Valerie Lueth drew, hand-carved, inked, aligned, and printed four separate panels to comprise the finished piece. Lueth prolifically dreams up and creates new work, and frequently exhibits her prints across the country. Tugboat prints are currently on view at the Staten Island Museum in New York City as part of the Field Notes exhibition, through February 23, 2020. Leuth also has a solo show at Bloom in West Virginia in November, 2019. Clover Blossoms and other prints are available on the Tugboat website and Etsy shop. Follow along with Lueth’s meticulously documented studio process on Instagram.

 

 



Art

A Tall Leafy Tree Grows in Tugboat Printshop’s New 4-Color Wood Block Print

April 4, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In her newest artwork, Valerie Lueth has grown intricately intertwined roots and branches to form a 4-color woodblock print titled ‘BRANCHING.’ Lueth, who owns and operates Tugboat Printshop (previously) in Pittsburgh, hand-illustrated one key block and three additional color blocks to combine black, yellow, blue, and grey in the formation of the tree. To create the tree’s subtle shifts in tone and shape, Lueth first drew and carved the key block on 3/4 inch birch plywood. Next, she transferred the image via press onto the three color blocks, and hand-drew and carved each of the three color blocks. Finally, using very precise alignment, Lueth printed all four blocks sequentially on one sheet of paper to create the complete artwork.

The artist describes BRANCHING as “an image of generation and growth,” and it scales thirty inches tall and twelve inches wide. The print is currently available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website. Lueth also shares her works in progress on Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Eve: A New Intergalactic Woodcut Print by Tugboat Printshop

May 24, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Eve is the newest multi-colored woodcut print from Valerie Lueth of Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously here and here). The limited edition print is created from layering four different blocks, each containing a separate color. Once combined, an orange and green hand is seen suspended in the cosmos, flowers and plants growing wildly from the extended limb. The print is currently available for pre-order, with an anticipated ship date of mid-June. You can learn more about the making of Eve, as well as order your own print, on Tugboat Printshop’s website.

 

 



Art Illustration

Tugboat Printshop’s Lush ‘Overlook’ Woodcut Print Rolls off the Press After 3 Years of Carving and Preparation

December 28, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Three years in the making, we first teased this phenomenal new woodcut print titled Overlook from Valerie Lueth and Paul Roden of Tugboat Printshop (previously) back in 2014—the carving of a single woodblock was intriguing enough to warrant its own article. After thousands of hours of preparation, drawing, carving, testing, and printing, the completed color proof was finally revealed this week.

Overlook is a color woodblock print created from 5 plates including 4 color blocks (yellow, red, light blue, dark blue) that define areas of color in the image with a 5th block (black) on top called the key block. All the woodblocks are entirely different carvings on 3/4″ birch plywood that contain different information. As each is printed in succession on handmade kozo fiber paper, the colors merge to produce additional hues, highlights, shadows, and other details of the final print. The splendidly detailed 46″ x 30″ artwork depicts a mid-day scenic view of a mountain range surrounded by dense forests, groves, and sprawling vegetation in a myriad of colors.

The final limited edition of 100 prints will be completed early next month and are currently available for pre-order on Tugboat Printshop’s website. You can see of behind-the-scenes process photos and videos of Overlook on Flickr.

 

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Art Illustration

Overlook: A New Woodcut Print from Tugboat Printshop

September 4, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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After two years of preparation and meticulous carving, “Overlook” is an upcoming woodcut print from the minds and hands of Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth of Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously). The duo make some of the most stunning limited edition woodcut prints around, having churned out a number of new pieces since we last checked in including Woodcut Valley, Community, and Desert Island. The final color print of Overlook (above is just the woodblock used for printing) will be 28″ x 46″ and is available for pre-order.

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Artist Cat Enamel Pins