Woodblock and Stencils

I’m currently preparing for my class and residency with Karen Kunc at Constellation Studios in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is an incredible woodcut printmaker who uses a few “simple” techniques to create spectacular work. (You can see some of the amazing work that she creates with these techniques HERE.)

In order to get the most out of my time with her, I have been practicing everything that I know we’ll be covering. This is my first test of using craft paper stencils to isolate areas of the block for selective inking. This set of plates is pretty simple, they are the positive and negative of each other, giving complete coverage of the block between the two of them. The trick that I tested here was to create a set of stencils that matched the block and gave me enough wiggle room to roll the ink on consistently without getting it in other areas. As you can see, without stencils, rolling ink onto some of the “tiles” without hitting others would be impossible.

 
[Blocks and isolation stencils]
First, I ran the 8×10 craft paper stencils through the press with carbon paper to transfer the image to the paper. Then I cut out the separate stencil areas with an X-acto knife.

 
[One inking]
In this image, you can see how I did the biggest trick of this test run. It looks like I’ve achieved a radial rainbow roll, which we all know is impossible. As you can see, all I did was ink a linear rainbow (orange to purple) into each “petal” separately. Since the orange was always pointed toward the center, it gives the appearance of a fade form the center outward. Pretty cool, huh?

 
[Two inkings on one block]
 
[Five passes]

I then went on to do some tests that used all six stencils in various ways just to show myself what’s possible.

 
[Variety of effects]

Now I just need lots of practice with these techniques so I can wrap my head around how to use them in my real work.

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