In the evening after Cally’s workshop I took out the circle drawing I had made and using imagetrace I transferred it to a square of plywood I’d purchased to experiment with. I have only tried carving into wood once and it went pretty badly, so I was fully prepared for this to go similarly.
I hadn’t quite anticipated just how complex a thing to carve it would actually be, but I gamely started. It took me about 2 hours, and even at the end it still felt totally alien to be pushing my tools through wood. I’m most used to the rubbery easy carve kind of lino, so the resistance and variable quality of the plywood was a trickier beast.
With that done, I took it into the studio and rolled out a nice deep dark blue, which I transferred to the plywood. I didn’t have large enough paper to cover the entire board, so I chose to roll it randomly around the edges with some bits thicker than others.
First off, I used my regular speedball baren, but wasn’t happy with the print it created. (Bottom left, angled and bottom right) I had a bit of a root around in my shelves and came up with an unexpected superstar – a meat tenderiser. I tried both sides of it, the smoother convex one, which led to the top middle and top right prints. The middle one I tried to move it in circular motions to mimic the pattern. The top left and middle bottom one were created using the pointy side. I really like the lines it created, especially as by this point I had let go of the idea of being able to get a “clean” print from this. I feel like the ply was soaking up the majority of the ink and I wonder whether there was something I could have added to the ply to act as a barrier to that.
I think it’s reasonably unlikely I am going to abandon lino in favour of woodcarving anytime soon but it was an enjoyable experiment and I liked the results.