Roughly twenty years ago I first used the linocut in my studies of printmaking. My mother is a printmaker, so I’ve grown up surrounded by her beautiful work in etching, drypoint, collagraphy and digital print methods. At art school I fell in love with lithography, though I experimented with silkscreening and watched the woodcut printers with great interest. I’d love to return to all of it. Linocutting seems like a good place to begin, and I’m delighted to have acquired a gorgeous set of old tools and a stack of linoleum out of my mother’s studio.
Amazingly, I never noticed that linoleum is a word created from linseed and oil, its main component. For a human-made product, it is surprisingly organic. I love that the prints made a hundred years ago were called woodcuts, to sound respectable, and I love it even more that Picasso and Matisse just went ahead and called it linocut. That it is the printmaking tool of choice for children is also pretty fabulous. I’m going to begin with a few experiments with these linocut tools, in small, ornate designs, with more resemblance to rubber stamping. If they work, they’ll adorn the little parcels that enclose the homemade projects from the shop. Ah, and I find myself revisiting mail art!