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11”x14” relief print on washi paper. Mounted and matted.

In the summer of 2023, I set myself a goal to learn relief printing methods, specifically linocut and woodcut printing. I’ve worked in printmaking before but focused on intaglio (copper plate printing) and serigraphy (silk screen printing). I read, I watched, I learned and practiced through the fall of 2023 and into the winter. My first attempt at woodcut printing convinced me I ought to retreat to linocut which suited my inexperience with carving a lot better.

As my solo show at Gage Gallery approached my decision to help raise funds for Umbrella Society furnished me with an opportunity to do my first complete edition. The idea occurred to me that Umbrella’s focus on housing provided a ready-made theme – many icons of umbrellas forging themselves together to create the form of a house. The theme works for me on several levels. First, it’s a literal representation of what Umbrella Society does helping their clientele forge a new life. Second, the notion that “many hands make light work” relates well to the overall theme of the show – that together we, as a community, can accomplish things that we cannot do individually. Third, the layering of three plates using translucency so that each layer shows the preceding layer really appeals to my current aesthetic. Finally, I’ve had a long-time fascination with iconography – simple symbols that effectively communicate complex ideas.

I’d never done a multi-plate print before and this was my first time attempting to complete a full edition of 50 prints. There were many technical challenges I had to overcome. Registration between the plates – making sure all the edges and overlaps lined up. Inks – maxing down traditionally pigment-dense relief inks to the point that they were translucent and showed the layers before. Timing: Allowing enough time for oil-based inks to dry between printing each plate. Paper selection: finding a paper that was delicate and translucent enough to match the printing, but durable enough to survive the process.

Along the way, I made a point of documenting the process for social media. I’ve included links below to those videos.

In the end I’m pleased with this edition and thrilled to be able give all the proceeds from this project to Umbrella Society.