Linocut , is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, knives with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller, and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press. I use a book press (a screw press used in the binding of books), a Lowes portable printing press from the 1800's and a wooden spoon. Linoleum can be printed over and over 1000s of times.





Left: Lowes portable printing press, Right: Book Press

Linoleum was first invented as a floor covering in the 1860s, the linocut printing technique was used first by the artists of Die Brücke in Germany between 1905–13 where it had been similarly used for wallpaper printing. Ironic that it was Germany where I first became interested in and learned this great form of art. Artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Henri Matisse have made linocuts, and today it is considered a respected art form.

linoblock Compared to wood linoleum does not have a grain and does not split therefore there is no need to cut in one direction and it is easier to cut. However, the prints have a different look than wood cuts, they lack the angular grainy effect of wood but they can have a greater degree of detail.

linoblock Colour linocuts can be made by using a different block for each colour as in a woodcut, as Pablo Picasso demonstrated

In the modern day art world, after the input of Picasso and Henri Matisse, the linocut is an established professional print medium.

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