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Project Update: If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now

Last week was filled with events and meeting new people, and this week I have been busy attending to Grey Gardens. My studio time hasn't been as plentiful as I would like, but I have made some progress on the large wood block I shared earlier. The drawing is complete and the upcoming print has a title!

Wood block for the upcoming print If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now © 2013 Kristen Necessary

Wood block for the upcoming print If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now

© 2013 Kristen Necessary

If you are not familiar with Relief or woodblock printing, this drawing is not intended as a finished artwork. Think of it as a sketch, or better still, a map. I am using the drawing to lay out my idea, to guide my hand in carving an image from the block.

This block is 1/2" MDF with a Birch veneer. I haven't worked with this material before, typically I favor Birch Plywood or Shina Plywood from McClain's Printmaking Supplies. Yes, I probably should choose a less ambitious image when using an unfamiliar material, but that would just be too sensical. 

Detailed view of wood block for the upcoming print If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now © 2013 Kristen Necessary

Detailed view of wood block for the upcoming print If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now

© 2013 Kristen Necessary

Next I will stain the wood with an intense color, I like to use hot pink. Using a series of wood carving gouges, I then remove areas that I do not want to transfer ink in the final print. As I carve, the contrast between the hot pink stain and the areas of unstained wood revealed by the gouge makes it easier for me to see what I am doing.

Physically creating two levels of surface height, I remove the negative space of the image with my gouge and the positive space of the image emerges as a raised surface. Ink is applied to the block using a roller or brayer, thus it adheres only to the raised (un-carved) surface of the wood. The ink is then transferred from the raised surface of the block onto a sheet of paper using pressure. That my friends, is the basic definition of a Relief print.

I am going to continue to document the creation of If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now in future posts, so be sure not to miss a step by subscribing to the blog using the link at the bottom of this update.