Thursday, May 6, 2010

The first cut

Last night I took the first of 3 classes in laser cut Japanese woodblock printing at AS220. I thought it would be a good chance to check out their new cutter, which uses a laser beam on wood, metal or even stone to make super sharp and exact cuts. I also figured I could do some printmaking and show my face in the studio again.  I had taken few classes at the AS220 print shop before, and vowed to book some studio time, but I never did find the time even though I can see the shop windows from the building I work in. Paying for a class forces me to show up though, so last night I completed the first run of my block.

Since I've never used this method before, I don't think my drawing was quite appropriate, so I had to manipulate it on the computer, something I don't like to do with my work. It has to end up in the computer eventually anyway though, to be sent to the cutter, so I broke the drawing down into black and one shade of gray for a 2 color reduction print. This is the gray plate. After printing I'll send it through the cutter again to cut away more, then print it again in black.

I'm not sure how I feel about this method. The block printing I've done before has been laboriously cut from pine planks, which dictates the type of line and detail you can get. The laser cutter can do virtually anything you can send from a computer, without regard to the grain of the wood. I think it might be good for a look of it's own, so I'll see how my print comes out and what it suggests for future work.

The plate looks kind of cool though, almost too pretty to cover with ink. I'll post more about the method after my next class.

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