Monday, February 4, 2013

Just Split

© Hannah Phelps
Print in Progress
jigsaw reduction woodcut, 18" x 24"

**Luckily for my arm, I wrote most of this blog post a while ago. I might as well share it now. Enjoy!**

I haven’t had a lot of new work to share with you because, while I was creating at a mad pace for the entire autumn, I didn’t finish much. I started 5 new prints and exactly one is completed.

I thought I would post the works in progress anyway. The first one is big - 18”x24”. I have to use the big French Tool Press at the New Hampshire Institute of Art to print it.

When I started this print, I was excited AND nervous. I have recently learned that making reduction prints is often called “the Suicide Method”, because you can’t go back and make more once you’ve carved the block (Remember the reduction method?)

So here I was with a huge block of wood, full sheets of Stonehenge paper and absolute gobs of ink, knowing that once I had completed layer one, there was no going back. 

Scary stuff. On the edge of panicky stuff.

I didn’t panic - this isn’t truly life or death after all. Instead, after making 12 large blue rectangles and carving out some white highlights, I “went back” and created 12 large yellow rectangles with some white highlights. Now I had two distinct prints I on which to play and experiment and learn.

This is called “splitting the edition”. 

If you clicked the link above, you know that I have done this before. It always feels a little like an act of cowardice. Really, I know I am taking full advantage of the present project. I like making new things and learning the absolute most from one piece of wood. A huge benefit to this choice was that each print got two weeks to dry between layers because I had two to work on at the same time.

The prints aren’t finished and I am not sure when they will be. I am really deciding what to do with each layer as they come up. That is the painter in me at work. Many pure printmakers plan all the layers and colors out ahead of time. I mean to do that, I really do. Then I end up changing the plan as I go anyway.

Hopefully, I will work on one set this week. We'll have to see....

What about the other 4 prints I mentioned earlier? I will share those soon!


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