Hand printing is only an occasional activity for me, but it’s useful to know the basics. Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens, by Lena Corwin contains all you need to know to carve stamps, cut stencils, make silkscreens, then print on various surfaces. At 144 pages with plenty of photographs and a lay-flat spiral binding, it’s sure to be well-used additon to the studio. The projects range from the simple (pouches) to the complex (a set of sheets) with the author’s clean and versatile designs.
On the page below, she explains the difference between standard and reverse stencils, as well as the use of “bridges” when designing one.
I’ve carved a few stamps and enjoy using the soft carving blocks such as Speedy-Cut, made by Speedball.
This simple stamp was used during my B.Q. era (Before Quilts) to print a feathery pattern on canvas with acrylic paint. I started with a blueish-gray base color, then stamped on the lighter feathers more or less randomly using a range of near-whites.
This collage consists of canvas, clear plastic, and aluminum foil, all painted, cut out, then adhered to a stretched canvas with gel medium. For example, the brown stem is plastic. I’ve always liked the flexibility of collage, the way you can move the pieces around until the last minute. In many ways it’s similar to using layers in Photoshop, which is how my book illustrations are created.
The completed image, Fishing, shows a heron on the prowl. Normally a large white water bird in Florida would be an egret, but in the Keys there is a native white heron.
I love the way this turned out, but have a notion to do a similar design with fabric and stitching. While collage is a wonderful art, the hard varnished surface is not as appealing to me these days. Give me that soft undulating fabric that can be painted, crinkled, stitched, beaded... it seems endlessly flexible from a creative standpoint. And if you can’t find the fabric you like, why not print your own?