The short answer is yes, you can print using linoleum flooring. While they are very similar, I found there were some differences to this material from artist grade linoleum. Recently, my sister (who works for a flooring company), gave me some samples of discontinued linoleum flooring to try. On initial inspection, they looked almost identical to battleship grey artist grade lino.
To touch, I found that the flooring was more pliable and had a very, very slight texture to the cutting surface. I did not sand this sample down, because I wanted a baseline test to see what out-of-the-box lino would be like to work with. In future tests though, I will take a very fine grit sandpaper to the surface to reduce this. It almost feels like a surface coating.
Cutting the flooring was a pleasure. I honestly breezed through the entire sample. It was somewhere between a soft block and standard artist grade. It held the tool well without me feeling like I had to force anything. The line quality was decent. One thing I noticed though was hit the bottom layer very easily (making for a not as pretty block) Since it is a thinner material, there is a finer layer of the linoleum surface on the hessian.
Once I got to inking the piece, I noticed the surface texture a lot more. It is very smooth but minutely pebble like to touch. When I rolled the brayer of oil based ink on it, I noticed it didn't drink it up quite the same way as the first layer of ink on artist grade linoleum.
I let it sit for a moment to soak in, applied another coat of ink and then proceeded to print. After a few proof prints, it printed almost identically for for the first 10 prints or so. I achieved nice inky, deep blacks and crisp lines with the usual amount of effort. As an aside, I pull prints with the help of an antique book press, so I don't know if hand burnishing would get the same results.
I found after about 10 prints, I started fighting an odd resistance to the ink. I noticed my edges were fuzzing out a little here and there and had a closer look at the block. I appeared to be that the all the cut lines were pushing back the ink. I blotted the block when I noticed this happening and it seem to alleviate the issue for a few prints but it always came back. I'm pretty sure sanding the coating off the top layer is the way to fix this issue.
All in all, I will keep experimenting on this, for sure. I really like how it carved and I like the fact that if I wanted a bigger piece to work on, this would be an economical way to get materials. I'm not worried about the "artist grade" part of this on a conservation level because the time span that a block is in use is so short and the contact with things that need to be artist grade (ink and paper) is very brief, it wouldn't have much of an effect. Remember, flooring is where linocut printmaking all began in the Die Brucke movement... it was a cheap, easily sourced alternative to woodcut blocks.
Stay tuned for the reveal of the print I made with this block! I'm not quite done with it yet.
I have exciting news - I've taken the step of seeking out gallery representation! This move has been in the making for some time, I wanted very much to find a gallery that not only suited my paintings, but also was supportive of my printmaking and letterpress work as well.
I am delighted to partner with Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta - they have an amazing collection and great curation. Every time I step foot in this space, there is a buzz of colour and energy. There are many artists also represented with this gallery that I feel honoured to share wall space with.
Check out what work of mine they are carrying here. Thank you, Bluerock!
I am so happy to have a chance to sneak a trip in to the Lower Mainland in British Colombia before the mountain roads get super unpredictable. I do have my winter tires on, just in case though!
This weekend I have three demos at Opus Langley - an amazing art store that has been a part of my life for over 20 years! The two Saturday demos are all about Acrylic based products and how you can use them together in a variety of ways to create your art. The Sunday morning demo covers mixed media printmaking and some different approaches you can take to get striking results. There is room in the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning class for sure - it is not too late to register (see below for registration info). I'll have along some interesting examples, lots of products and my usual enthusiasm - it would be amazing to see you if you can join me.
Also, I have received some inquiries already about bringing flour sack clothes and artwork for purchase to save on shipping. If you are wanting anything in particular or have questions on what is available for early Christmas shopping - please contact me by Thursday night and I can let you know what is available, prices and arrange drop off at your place. I accept Visa, Mastercard, and cash, receipts are no problem as well. (I might even throw in a little discount as well!)
Here are the descriptions:
Opus Art Supplies, Langley: Intermixing Acrylics with Flair and Ease Demonstration
Sat, September 30, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Sat, September 30, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Join Michelle Wiebe as she explores the versatility of intermixing various types and brands of acrylic paints and mediums.
From ink, fluid, spray and standard heavy body paints, she will demystify the differences between them and give you ways can breathe fresh life into your work. She will explore some techniques on paper and canvas that will combine these products in inventive ways so you can bring together new body and textures for your own signature style.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Opus Langley or contact them at 604‑533‑0601 to register.
Opus Art Supplies, Langley: Breaking Boundaries in Mixed Media Printmaking Demonstration
Sun, October 1, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Add colour to your linocut printmaking through a variety of mediums and techniques.
Join Michelle Wiebe as she covers a number of approaches one can take with mixed media printing. Demonstration time will cover basic linocut carving, inking and printing skills as well as how to use them with other art materials.
Emphasis will be placed on utilizing other dry and wet media with your carved block in a number of different approaches to create one of a kind art with a few simple tools.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Opus Langley or contact them at 604‑533‑0601 to register.
One thing I really love about instructing is that I often will create work to illustrate a point or technique. To prepare for my upcoming workshop at Leighton and demonstration at Opus, I decided to noodle around with some hand coloured linocut prints.
After painting with a limited palette for months, it sure was fun to add splashes of colour to this variable edition of one of a kind prints. I've been playing around with Daniel Smith watercolours and they sure pack a punch with rich, vibrant colour. These are titled "Made of Stars" and will be available for purchased, framed and unframed fairly shortly. Contact me if you have any questions or want me to put one aside for you.
Where to begin? Fall is here, kicking and screaming and I finally feel like I've had a chance to come up for air.
Studio Expansion: My garage is now officially a core component to my studio practice. Late July, we welcomed a third press to our family: a Chandler and Price Old Style platen floor model. Some good friends helped us load and move this along with a paper cabinet, composing table, type cabinet and full sized paper cutter. I am truly blessed.
The flip side to this is making room and extra clean up. Almost all of my open studio time in August has been spent puttering away in my garage doing glamorous jobs like scraping old labels, sanding, painting and degreasing. We are in the homestretch now which is good - winter is coming and my car needs it's shelter for parking!
On a side note, paper cabinets are a beautiful thing. With 25 shallow drawers, this is for my art supplies like what the wardrobe is for Narnia. Things feel so in reach and organized!
Current Projects: I'm in the early stages of some small still life and landscapes for the upcoming Christmas season. I am also busy printing all sorts of letterpress goodies for market as well. Add in some collaboration involving a laser engraver, block printing more flour sack cloths, instructing as well as the aforementioned studio expansion and I am a busy girl.
Website Update: I've cleaned things up and added some greater detail on events and workshops. I've been planning this out in my head for a while and finally sat down long enough to get it all up on the web. I still have loads more pictures and details to add, but this should suffice for the moment. I have a love hate relationship with digital tinkering.
Plein Air Postponement: My deepest apologies to all of you who have expressed interest in further plein air meetups - this has been on my mind constantly. I had a domino effect happen with that equipment acquisition that affected too many areas of my household. Add in multiple extra weekend bookings for August and I couldn't make it happen. Stay tuned for spring though - I have some alternate ideas I'd like to try out with plein air!
Long time, no update. It has been very busy both in the studio and in our household. One of the things taking a lot of my time lately has been Letterpress related. It is a long (and hopefully interesting) story that I am saving for it's own post (Hint: it involves costumes and moving crazy heavy pieces of machinery!) Anyways, in amongst all this busyness, life in my studio has been puttering along at a brisk pace.
I love this time of year because the roads are reliably decent and the weather is good so I can plan to travel to deliver fresh art, teach or demonstrate. Here is some stuff I have coming up in the next few weeks in June and July:
Muk Luk Magpies: The initial batch of Flour Sack Clothes sold very quickly so I recently dropped off a large batch with lots of colours and patterns. Just in time for teacher gifts! You can get store hours and more information here.
Impressions Printmaking Exhibition: The Leighton Art Centre invited me to participate in this upcoming show done in partnership with the Alberta Printmakers Society. There are some amazing local artists represented here, so I am quite excited to hang my work on the same walls as them! The opening for this show is this Saturday from 2 - 4 pm. Hope to see you there!
Canada Day at Just Imajan Art Gallery: I will be painting alongside 14 other local Cochrane artists during the Canada Day festivities. I'm looking forward to connecting with the locals and will demonstrate my process as well as have a selection of my work available for sale (working on some fresh stuff that I hope will be ready on time!). You can get more information here.
On the Road Travel Sketching Workshop: SECOND DATE ADDED We are so pleased to be able to add a send date for this sketching workshop at the Leighton Art Centre. The July 8th date filled up really quickly and we think there is ample interest in adding a second date. I think its the combination of getting out there with a sketchbook in hand paired with mysteries of bringing art supplies with you when you travel. We are going to cover both of these in an action packed day long class! Second class date is July 15th - I hope you can make it. You can register here.
Red Deer College Basic Linocut Printmaking: I am very excited to be offering a class through this venue! I believe there is still room to sign up if you are in the Central Alberta area and want to take the plunge into creating your own relief prints. You can register here.
If you have any questions about any of these classes, my work or how to book me as an instructor, please send me a message and I am happy to get back to you! Its been a great start to summer and I am really pumped about these upcoming events.
Airdrie, Alberta is home to a very neat studio and shop, Mukluk Magpies. While it is primarily a stain glass operation (trust me, they are one of the best in Alberta for all things glass related), they have been steadily amassing the work of regional artisans to sell through their gift shop as a complement to their other wares.
This morning I brought in a full selection of Flour Sack Cloths, Letterpress printed cards, framed Linocut prints and some paintings. I'm really excited to have another venue to show my work through.
You can find hours, directions and more on their website here.
Leighton Art Centre will be having a printmaking show from June 24th - September 24th and I am really excited that they have chosen all three of the pieces I submitted for consideration!
As some of you know, I'm working through this plates theme in my paintings lately and it seems to have jumped the barrier into my printmaking. I really enjoyed taking the time to carve out the patterns that have been so familiar to paint. Stripping away the colour, texture and tone to focus solely on the graphic nature of these pieces of china was immensely satisfying.
These are all printed in their own limited edition of 10. The first of each will be framed and available for sale at the Leighton Centre, the others in the edition will be for sale unframed (at the moment). Please send me an email if you are interested in knowing more about these pieces!
It's been a busy time of making in my little studio! I have a number of projects on the go - painting, linocut printmaking, letterpress, lesson prep and then I've had a couple of orders for flour sack cloths. I am very relieved I have moved on from the season of endless paperwork and can instead focus on getting my hands dirty every day!
I recently had to change suppliers for my flour sacks. Man, are these new ones ever nice! These are very thick and thirsty and they take the dye and ink beautifully. They are larger than my other flour sack cloths, they measure 30" x 36". Like any flour sack cloth, they get better and softer with age. These are heat treated so the ink is permanently bonded with the cloth. It's been neat that people have been ordering batches of these, a lot of them destined to be gifts. They are pretty versatile, they can be used as tea towels, receiving blankets, scarves or bread basket liners or whatever else you can think of!
This batch was a mixture of deep blue, light blue, tan, orange, deep pink, and light pink (the 2 light pink ones are still available). I will be printing more deep blue, deep pink and tan ones in the coming weeks as well as dying some fresh batches (I just have to decide what my new favourite colours are!!)
If you are interested in a custom order, just shoot me an email and I can let you know about price and shipping. Usually I can have an order ready to ship in a week or two depending on quantity and if you have specific colour/design requests.
There are lots of fun shows, events and classes coming up in the next few months. Keep checking back as I have a few more things in the works that I will post as soon as dates and times are confirmed! I hope to see you at some of these things, I love it when there are familiar faces.
April 29th: Leighton Art Centre - Impress your Mother: Kid's Printmaking
I love working with kids. In this afternoon workshop I will be leading kids through some neat ways they can make a masterpiece for someone special in their life! All supplies included and you can register here.
Gallery 204, Langley BC - Printmaking Workshops - POSTPONED DATES TBA
I have two workshops planned for my upcoming trip to Langley, BC: Saturday is a basic linocutting class for adults (you can register here) and Sunday's class is a Mother's Day themed printmaking class for kids. (you can register here)
June 3rd/4th: Leighton Art Centre - Clothesline Festival Show
I am really excited to have been invited to participate in this show and sale. It is a wonderful summer event that takes place on the scenic grounds of the Leighton Arts Centre. There is an amazing selection of work from several top notch Alberta artists, so to even be included in this group is a real privilege. There is more information here.
June 24th - September 24th: Leighton Art Centre - Impressions Show
This is another show that I am very thankful to be included in. It is a printmaking showcase and the first time that I will be exclusively be showing my prints in a gallery setting. Very exciting. There is more information here.
July 22nd: Red Deer College - Printmaking Workshop
This one day workshop will be all you need to know about basic linocut printmaking to get you up and running! We will cover carving, inking and pressing techniques to create beautiful one of a kind pieces of art. You can register here.
August 7th - 11th: Alberta Printmakers - Getting Inky Kids Daycamp
This will be a crazy fun week for our half day camp! I hope your kids will join me as we explore many forms of relief printmaking, use the presses and have our own gallery showing! Class size is limited and if your kid loves creating art, this is the camp for them! You can register here.
August 13th: Opus Kelowna - Impressive Linocut Demonstration
Join me for two fast paced and fun demonstrations that will cover all the ways you can use basic linocut printmaking! From craft to fine art and fabric, I will walk you through some the different types of tools and products to get you set up for your projects! You can register here. (as of posting, it hasn't appeared on their website)