Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Turtle Cards - An Explanation

It's become our personal tradition to make cards each holiday season; we currently have four designs in our turtle "series".

The cards are hand-pulled linoleum prints. In the most basic, think of hand-pulled prints like a set of twins (or triplets or quadruplets, etc). All are originals, no two prints are ever exactly the same, even if pulled from the same plate. Each print, regardless of technique, is an entirely individual piece of art.
Hand-pulled  prints involve a certain amount of physical labor not found in digital prints. For us, that means carving our chosen design into a block of linoleum:

We have a variety of carving tools, each allowing us to remove just the right amount of the linoleum block - these are relief prints, so we need to remove anything we don't want to appear in the final piece and it becomes important to consider both positive and negative space.


The block needs to be inked before each print is pulled - it's a tricky step to get just right, as too much or too little ink results in a poor image.

The inked block is placed in the press and paper placed on the block:

We give it a good press and then use a barren to force the ink onto the paper - the paper is then "pulled" by hand off the block and with any luck, the image is good.

It's quite a time consuming procedure, but so worthwhile and one we plan to continue each year - our personal gift to friends and family at such a special time of the year.

Why turtles?

Turtles and Mackinac are closely entwined, as the Great Turtle of legend is a large part of the creation story of the island. If you visit Mackinac, you'll see turtles referenced and displayed all over the Island.

1 comment:

  1. Knew about the turtle and Mackinac relationship. Didn't know about linoleum blocks and hand-pulled prints. Always learning; thanks for the great blog!