Monday, April 11, 2011

Wood Printing in Art Class

I am in an art class this semester, and it is one of my absolute favorite classes. That I've ever taken. Because I basically get to be all creative and artsy for six hours every week, and it's like a small peace of heaven.

Right now we are working on wood printing, which is a blast. Wood printing is a process where you basically make a giant stamp out of compressed sawdust. It lends itself well to pictures with simple lines and off-the-wall creepiness.

I swear. Not sure why, but most wood printing art is really strange.

Anyway, the process is really neat -- and fun.

First I drew out my design on paper, then scanned it in to Photoshop and fixed it up. Then I printed it off with a LaserJet printer -- which is important. It's LaserJet or nothing with this baby.

After LaserJett-ing, we sprayed, on the back of the paper, some sort of solvent that strips paint off wood (and smells deliciously citrus-ey... dangerous stuff). We then placed the paper face-down on the block of wood (really just compressed sawdust), rolled it under this giant roller, and the pressure transferred the image to the wood. Like magic!

We were all really excited at first, because wood printing is basically a destructive art by nature. Instead of adding things, you are carving away. And while it doesn't forgive mistakes very easily, it's still really cathartic to attack the compressed sawdust with a carving blade.

That last sentence makes me sound like I'm crazy, doesn't it?

I'm not. Promise.

I'm just working through some unresolved issues about becoming a grown-up. Like I said before, it's an inner angst phase. No worries. I'll snap out of it and start painting lame things like butterflies soon enough.



Anywho, we've been at the wood-carving business for three class periods now, and it is starting to get old. Even destroying things loses it's allure after a while. And it starts to hurt your hands.

In the picture above, my lovely classmate is demonstrating the technique of carving. All the places carved out will be white, and the areas remaining untouched (i.e. raised above the rest) becomes the stamp and stays black (or whatever color the ink is).

It's actually pretty neat.

The project I am working on is a birthday present for my dad. It involves wood printing and painting, and until my graduation, when ma pops will come down to Oklahoma, I think I'll hang it up in the living room. Hope the roommates don't mind!

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