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Move Over, Linoleum

Updated: Nov 10, 2021


Last week I cut the block for a new relief print, which depicted the early Celtic saint, Malo, celebrating Easter Mass on an island in the North Atlantic, that, unbeknownst to them, was an enormous whale.


For the printing block, I tried out, for the first time, Gomuban, a relief printing material from Japan. Until the 20th century, relief printing blocks were made of wood (hence, prints made from a wooden block are called wood cuts). In the 20th century, printmakers discovered that linolium could be used effectively for relief printing as well.


I found gomuban easier to cut than either solid wood or plywood blocks or linoleum. It was not difficult to carve fine detail into the block. The ink rolled out evenly on the block and printed well.


The only downside was that the intense green (or blue) color on each side of the plate made it difficult to see the drawing unless its drawn on in black (which I discovered by trial and error. It's a thin material, which I found challenging to handle while carving it, so I found that gluing the gomuban sheet onto a wooden block helped.


I think it will become a go-to material in my studio.


The US supplier of gomubon is McClain's Printmaking Supplies https://imcclains.com




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