© 2011 Lynsey

Learning curves

I love printing. I always have. As a kid I cut stamps out of potatoes. Lino prints, screen prints, type, printing, paper, books, ink, ink, ink. I’ve moved on from carving on high school desks to the deep satisfaction of carving woodblocks. There’s the quiet sound of the cuts being made, and the fragrance of the new wood. In this case I’ve cut MDF, so the fragrance is more about chemicals than wood, but the satisfaction is just the same.

When I was in high school I grabbed sheets of black polythene and converted our bathroom into a darkroom. I spent many late nights working in the curious yellowy-green light with black and white photography. I processed the prints in ice cream tubs. Roasting trays. In the bath. It was almost impossible to get a professional quality print, but I didn’t care – all I wanted was images – more, better quality, more creative, freer, bigger, better explorations, push the envelope, get the most expressive image possible. I can remember showing some of my photos to the guidance counselor at school.

He flicked through my prints quickly. I can remember how his top lip curled back. “Your prints are muddy.”

If only his opinion had made a difference.

I’m finding printmaking similar to black and white photography. The satisfaction is enormous. I struggle to get 8-10 prints out at a time. I have to switch left to right, negative to positive, what to leave in, what to crop out. Some things work. There are no mistakes if you can work out what happened and do it again deliberately next time. Do it better. You get better the more you do it. Look at other people’s work. Careful yet free cuts. Let the angels take the blade sometimes so random beauty has a chance. Explore. Push. Reflect. Try again. Love it. Hate it. Forgive yourself. Fight. Work. Love yourself.

08. Every day choose to bring about change.
09. Every day learn something new.
12. Every day love yourself.

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