Its all about the paper! (and the inks)
If you have ever spoken to a printmaker you know we are OBSESSED with paper! And with good reason. The choice of paper and indeed inks have a huge impact on the qualities of the artwork that is created.
I choose to use ‘Awagami factory’ paper for my linocut prints, it’s a brand of washi papers that are crafted and produced by the Fujimun family in Tokushima, Japan (the home of woodblock printing where lino has its roots).
The paper is produced using natural plant fibres so it is incredibly light yet strong, perfect for hand burnishing my prints. The process is less harmful to the environment than wood-based papers and in the spirit of Japan, the method of papermaking is nurturing to the environment. The paper is also acid-free which is vital to preserving the artwork. It looks and feels divine! And I always get comments about the paper from happy art collectors.
Inks can vary hugely in terms of pigment, light fastness and flexibility and unfortunately some can lose their intensity over time and look less than their best so choosing the right inks is paramount to getting a great artwork that will be with you forever. I choose to use Cranfield safe wash relief inks for my linocuts, having become familiar with the brand through the studio I trained at. I adore it as the pigment is rich and long-lasting, it dries with a soft sheen and smooth even colour. It's oil-based yet cleans up with soap and water so is better for the environment. Cranfield is also a family business that has been going for 3 generations and they really are experts in colour and work with artists and printmakers to develop their formulations.
By putting thought into the paper and inks I can trust that each print will be the best quality and stand the test of time and remain vibrant and beautiful.