Friday, 5 August 2011

The Enfolding Landscape - Bigger Book

A while back I mentioned I wanted to make a longer, taller, double-sided version of the Enfolding Landscape book for the residency exhibition at Cliffe Castle. I started work on this over 2 weeks ago.

Three new A2 blocks needed to be cut, each 60 cm long and 42 cm tall, featuring the cotton grass and two versions of rippling water.  The birch plywood blocks are considerably harder than the Japanese ply but I like the crisp lines you can get in this surface.

Anyway it was a mammoth cutting job with lots of areas that needed to be completely cleared and I had aching arms, wrists and fingers for days.  In the photos you can see where I've painted the design onto the block as my guide for cutting.  Sometimes you can't stop the gouge from carving deeper down into the layers than is necessary, so the block looks a bit rough, but none of that will show in the print.

I realised that I had seriously underestimated the number of prints I will need to pull.  Including the covers and all the flag 'pages' I will have to ink up and print the A2 blocks 84 times!

On Monday and Tuesday I printed all the cotton grass ones on one side, using black ink.  Here they are in the drying rack with part of the ornate converted mangle press peeping through behind. The oil-based ink I like best takes a few days to dry.

On Wednesday I started printing the water and today I wanted to complete that part so I've needed to work really hard to print 31 sides - all day, hour after hour, inking and printing. Its amazing how much ink you need to cover A2. I forgot my camera so can't show you but the print rack is full of lovely bluey grey sheets now.

On Monday if I can face it I'll print the reverse side of all 22 cotton grass pages.  Then the printing will be over and it'll be long sessions of folding, cutting and gluing.  At this stage its easy to lose sight of what you're trying to achieve, and to feel a bit overwhelmed by the drudgery but hopefully I'll have the stamina to get to the end.

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