The way I view linocut printmaking is the intersection of fine art and craft. There is such a physical dimension to making the artwork that distinguishes it from painting or illustration. When I'm creating an artwork, I am 100% fully immersed in it, body, mind and soul.
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The artist first carves an image into a block of linoleum, then ink is rolled onto the uncut surface of the block and, finally, paper is laid on top of the block and pressure is applied to produce a print. Because of the very nature of the process, each linocut print that is produced, is an handmade original artwork.
The best description I have found is from Marc Schenker article found here. A snippet that resonates with me follows:
(1919) Claude Flight became the infant technique’s most fervent promoter because of his philosophy. He looked at the affordability of linoleum as a way of bringing this graphic-design style to a broader audience—the masses, if you will. As such, it was the democratization of art and design that he was interested in.
Each artwork can take hundreds of hours of planning and carving, particularly large and detailed prints. As the carving process is in reverse and in mirror image it involves a lot of mental gymnastics as well as creative flair. You carve away what you don't want printed and in its mirror image. It's easy to make an irreversible mistake if you're not concentrating and then you have limited options available. Often times you end up starting again. I carved my cathedral three times due to earlier carving errors! Very frustrating!
I produce "one-off" monoprints and also limited edition prints. Because of the very nature of the process however, each linocut print that is produced, is an handmade original artwork. There will always be slight differences between each print made in an edition due to the inking and pressing process. Where I have included an additional artistic element such as chine colle or a unique background painting I will note that the print is from a "variable edition" (V/E).
I keep a catalogue of all prints produced and sold, so each print is numbered and signed. Each hand made print is numbered with the print number in the edition followed by the total size of the edition. For example: 1/20 (print #1 of 20 total prints).