Lino Cutting

My linocut santa corn flakes box. Wait what?

Students were introduced to Lino cutting as part of the derive project. Since the final outcomes had to be either lino cut or screen printed, this was very useful. I have a strong bias towards digital because I’m so reluctant to use materials where a mistake is permanent and you have to write off the costs involved. Lino cutting is about using woodwork tools to shave areas away from a piece of thin linoleum to create your own printing block. If your hand slips, you’re stuck with the results.

The flip side is that excellence is less easy to dismiss. Digital artists are easy to dismiss because as the apocryphal saying goes “all you have to do is push a button and the computer does it for you.” Lino cutting is something of a craft, and someone who is good at it can be said to be something of an artisan. A 13-year-old who can put together slick YouTube videos or photo shop illustrations is hardly going to be lauded the same way that 13-year-old would be if they had achieved a certain level of mastery with lino cutting. We all bring our biases with us, after all.

The romanticism of the craft isn’t lost on me. I didn’t really understand the process when it came to bringing imagery suitable to turn into linocut print, but the flexibility of the processes, the modest price points of the materials, and the fact that I can literally do this on my kitchen table and therefore use this going forward after graduation make it quite likely I will visit the medium again.


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