What is a Linocut Print?
Lino printing is a form of fine art printmaking
where traditionally, the printing plate is a piece of linoleum. Yes,
lino as in linoleum, as
in floor covering. More recently, there are other surfaces
being used as well as linoleum. I started printing with a block called Speedy Carve by
Speedball which looks like a large pink eraser. It is easy to carve and softer than linoleum. But now, I also use gray linoleum and Japanese vinyl.
Once your design is worked out, it is transferred to your block. The
design is then cut into your sheet of linoleum with a sharp knife or
gouge. The parts of the linoleum that are cut away create recesses, and
the parts of the linoleum that are uncarved are raised. These raised
surfaces are then inked with a roller, and paper or fabric is pressed
onto the block, transferring the design. This process can be hand done
or with a press.
From one carved block, a number of prints can be printed. This can be
any number from the first, to an unlimited amount. All the prints
printed from the same block are called an edition. The artist decides
how large the edition will be. Sometimes how large an edition will be
is determined by how well the block holds up.
When a print is signed, traditionally it is done in pencil, under the image. Limited editions are considered more valuable than open, or unlimited editions, just because there are only a limited amount of that print image. If it is a limited edition, in the left corner will be two numbers, the first number is the print number and the second number will tell you how large the edition is (e.g., "10/30" for the 10th print in an edition of 30).
Care for your print, as with all works of art on paper, should always be used. Keep your artwork out of direct sunlight and away from incandescent light, to keep your print from fading. And a moisture free environment is recommended, so that the paper does not get water damage from moisture that can collect under the glass in a frame.