I found some of these in the Art Centre a couple of weeks ago:
They are blank circles of lino-cutting material, with a sticky back. They're designed for use with a (rather expensive) lino-cutting and stamp-making system. The blanks themselves are quite cheap though - £1.99 for a pack of 10 - Bargain!
So, I bought some, because at home I already had these:
Yes, a lino-cutting set.
I haven't done any lino-cut printing for years and years (since I was a teenager!). However, after my printmaking course in January, I really wanted to get back into printmaking at some point.
Lino prints are relatively cheap and easy to make. Unlike many printing plates, lino-cuts can be printed using manual methods, rather than you having to have a press. Obviously a press makes it easier and gives more scope, but you can use a flat hand, a spoon-back or some other pressing tools to transfer your image, so long as it's not too complex.
So, I had bought some more lino-cutting tools and a couple of bits of that hard, grey lino. And done nothing. Too busy doing lots of other things instead...
But yesterday I really fancied having a go. And there were those great little discs, just waiting to be tried out.
I have been wanting a Butterfly stamp for a while now (who doesn't like butterflies?).
So, I made one:
I drew round the lino disc, then drew a design with a soft pencil.
I placed the design over the disc and rubbed a faint pencil impression onto it, then drew over that with a permanent fibre-tipped pen. I cut the design out of the lino disc. It was much easier than the "grey lino" I am used to, as this stuff is lovely and soft. You have to soak the old-style lino in hot water, to soften it up, but this is just great - all ready to use and it's like cutting through cold butter.
Then I stuck the disc to a milk-bottle top, as a handle.
This is what the stamp looks like... I love the lino-cutty texture of it. I could make it all smooth between the butterflies, but somehow I prefer it like this. The prints produced will have that "lino-cut print look", which I really like.
and here are some test prints.
This was the original test print, before I added extra marks to the butterflies.
The stamp was mounted on a large acrylic block for this print. I think it gave a clearer, crisper print, so I may try this - or another more solid handle - next time, instead of the milk-bottle lid (which is hollow).
I really enjoyed making my stamp and have plans for some more soon! Another, different butterfly, perhaps a tree... hmm, thinking of ideas myself - do you have any good ones for me to try?
Oh, and if anyone knows where I can buy some fine-detail carving tools, I'd love to know!