Islands on the screen – Episode 2
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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2M ago
A follow up post on the use of vinyl masking stencils As a number of issues arose from my first attempt at using vinyl masking films as screen print stencils, I decided to continue with the experiments. But before I describe the efforts, let me make a couple of points:   I know I am not the first by a long way to try this. However I am not interested in simply creating a digital image, having it mechanically cut out for me on a Cricut and then printing it! That might be good for printing professional looking T-shirts at home, but I am a printmaker and my ambitions lie in creating origina ..read more
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Islands on the screen. That is what we are...
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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2M ago
In further pursuit of possible ‘table top printmaking’ techniques: using vinyl stencil film to make hand cut screenprint stencils   Although I personally have all the kit to make and use any kind of screenprint stencil, many people will not have the ability to wash out and reclaim screens. Simple paper stencils are ok but fragile and almost impossible to accurately leave ‘islands’ of stencil, surrounded by open areas. I saw this product - Oramask 813; made really for Cricut type digital machine vinyl cutters, to make paint stencils; and wondered if I could hand cut a stencil and effectiv ..read more
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Further thoughts on the Big Shot Pro
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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1y ago
I don't post much on here these days, but following on from my previous post, a few people are interested in the details of how I now set up to print lino on the Big Shot Pro craft press. So here we go.... But before you read on, as always, please accept that this is my way of doing things - that suits me. There are as many ways to make a print as there are printmakers! ​Also, as I've said many times - don't forget that any press is really just a gap between two hard things. It is the nut that operates it that will control its effectiveness! 1. The Big Shot Pro is The Daddy of all the craft pr ..read more
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'Trio'prints
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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3y ago
This post will add a little detail to some social media posts I’ve been making over the last few weeks. I’m always searching around for new (to me) ways of making prints. I also seem to be making a slow and stealthy approach to doing some actual painting. As described earlier on here, I have enjoyed painting blocking fluid directly on to the screen mesh to make stencils. So I thought I’d explore a little more of a technique I’ve only demonstrated to students before: making mono screenprints (well actually perhaps better described as ‘trioprints’ – as one does get at least three versions of th ..read more
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Back on the Blog - with a Big Shot Pro
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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3y ago
I can't believe that its been a year (and a very strange one too!) since I last wrote something on here. It’s also been all of four years now since I discovered that ‘craft’ presses could be used successfully for printmaking. A Facebook group I set up – ‘Craft Press Printmakers’ now has over 4000 active members and people all over the world are making terrific work using these small presses. The original press I used – The XCut Xpress - is now in short supply and seems likely to disappear. It was very portable and had the very useful pressure adjustment, but had size and strength limitations ..read more
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Keep Safe - Keep Sharp!
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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4y ago
Stay at Home – Stay Sharp! A while ago I wrote a piece about my favourite Pfeil gouges - and in that I said: “Most important of all, your tools must be sharp and kept sharp. A quality gouge will not only take a good edge, but with practice, can be quickly ‘stropped’ to retain it.” It is possible to send your tools away and have them professionally re sharpened, but really It is best to learn to keep them in full working order at all times. Little and often is the key and a quick check and strop before each carving session should be part of your creative preparation ritual. It may be, with hea ..read more
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My Five Favourite Pfeils
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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4y ago
This is the bulk of the blog post commissioned by Jacksons Art Supplies in London - hence the links to their website. Through an understandable reservation about spending too much on something new, or perhaps attending a group workshop, most people begin lino cutting with cheap, often poor quality tools. And one of the most common things I hear is “I love lino printing and I’d like some better tools, but they are so expensive! – and I don’t know which ones to get” But to put it in perspective; in terms of value for money, even the very best gouges cost less than a cheap meal and a drin ..read more
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Making a Raven Sing
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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4y ago
​It all began with a tidy up of the ‘ten a penny’ drawer: the place I stick bits of ideas and reference and half plans. It was a very productive session. From the depths came a set of film positives I’d made some five years ago –  four tonal separations from a digitally created image of a raven; a time when I was working in a slightly different style. I’ve recently improved my facility for making photo screen stencils. So I thought, rather than waste these, I’ll make a couple of screens and have a play. Absolutely no plan other than a vague notion of making a print of a ‘black’ bird with ..read more
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Creating Habitat
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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4y ago
​This is really just a quick description of the printing process of my latest effort: ‘Habitat’. It is of a small bird called the Aquatic Warbler and is for a book about the 67 species of UK birds that currently make up the ‘Red Data’ list of conservation concern. There is a background story to its commission. But more on this and the book later. As you see it is a linocut and screenprint combination; edition of 20 plus one Artist's Proof on 300 gsm Somerset paper; 30 x 40 cm. ​Although I sometimes do a complete finished compositional drawing in preparation for a new piece, the initial draw ..read more
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Winter Visitors
Colin Blanchard - artist and printmaker
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4y ago
A few pictures of the process of making my latest print: 'Winter Visitors' A Linocut with Screenprint, 38 x 50 cm. ​Preparation and composition; using lots of bits of various tracings from enlarged/reduced/flipped/distorted/collaged images of the birds (Redwings and Fieldfares) and apples. A full day’s work just to get the composition and sizing right. Meanwhile 300gsm Somerset (beautiful versatile paper) is laid out in the studio drying rack for at least 48 hours to stabilise size changes due to temperature and humidity combinations. The plan is for around 20 in the edition, so 25 or so she ..read more
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