Recently I have been thinking about (and also doing some experimenting) combining print and stitch in making new work. The trouble is I don’t really want to screen print, and I have been working on ways of transferring drawings onto fabric digitally with a reasonable degree of success – more on this in a future post; but I used to be very keen on lino cutting and wanted to try this out on to fabric, and this is what I have been doing (keeping it very simple to start with):
Make and print a simple white line lino cut
What you need: Selection of lino cutting tools, soft pencil, lino block, smooth plastic (or glass) surface for ink, relief printing ink, roller, brayer (or wooden spoon)
Lino and different types of cutting tools
1. Find/draw a suitable image. Draw or trace your image on to the lino block using the soft pencil. Don’t forget that if you are using text in your image this must be traced on back to front.
2. Using the tools, cut your image away from the lino. Remember that anything you cut away will print as white. (This is why this type of lino print is known as ‘white line’). Using different tools will give a variety of different thicknesses of line and marks.
3. To print on Fabric: squeeze out a little ink on to the smooth plastic surface. (Any smooth flat plastic surface is fine. I use a piece of plate glass for this). Add a little textile medium (for acrylic paint) on a 1:1 mix. Using a spatula mix the ink and medium together. Now
roll the ink out flat with the roller using a short stabbing motion and lifting the roller up at the end of the stroke to allow the roller to turn freely away from the plate before repeating. Do this until the ink is smooth and flat and silky looking. It should not be lumpy or sticky/gloopy looking. Roll the roller over the lino block. Make sure the lino block is fully covered and the ink looks smooth on the surface.
Now place your fabric on top of the inked up lino block and using either your hand, the back of a wooden spoon or a brayer (special tool for hand pressing print plates), using a circular motion working from the middle to the edges, rub the fabric gently down on to the plate to soak up the ink. Gently peel back the fabric to reveal the image. This is the magical bit, and where you get to decide if you’ve used enough ink or not enough!
I made several of these images with the intention of adding stitched parts. So far I have only managed to complete one with stitch, but there’s plenty of time!