Getting to grips with Lino Printing

My word for 2014 is active, and I'd clearly been active earlier in the year and booked myself onto one of Nancy Straughan's Lino Printing Stationery classes, this one was held at Smug in Islington's Camden Passage last Sunday.  For me active was always going to be more than getting physically active. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this workshop and if I'm honest with everything else going on this workshop kind of crept up on me.

This was what met me when I arrived:

And then we were off. The first thing was to choose a design. With Valentines day approaching and wanting to keep it relatively simple I chose a heart with a heart shaped cut-out. It took me a couple of attempts to get the size and shape right.

Cutting the shape was easier than I expected, and heeding Nancy's advice to take it slowly I didn't even cut myself!  But look at the pile of scrapings I gathered:

Next was to test it out, and learn where some fine tuning was needed. To make printing easier I cut around the shape too. You'll see in the bottom right heart below I had a slip at the top of the heart which needed some work...

Happy with my practice runs, it was time to move from the ink pad to acrylic paint.  There really was only one colour choice. 

Once I'd (mostly) mastered loading the stamp with paint, it was time to make something for real. That something was a Valentines card, and as that hasn't been delivered yet I'm not posting a picture of that. I also only made a single card, which I'm sure MOH will be relieved by - I mean, what use would I have for more than one? 

I've also decorated a paper bag and a gift tag. I love the texture on both and the fact that neither are perfect. I agree with the discussion during the class, if it's perfect you want you may as well print the image!

As you can see we were an industrious and studious class, here's a photo proving just that (I'm centre top in this picture)

This is something I'd definitely do again and infact I'm waiting for some supplies to arrive!  I think the design you choose is important and for beginners you definitely want something more blocky than intricate - remember you need to get your blade around the design and it's always helpful to keep you fingers intact too!

So all in all I had an inspiring afternoon - thanks Nancy! 

See, being active is paying off!