Print Blocks!

I've been wanting to try print or stamp block carving for quite some time.  Last weekend I bought the basic materials - carving block, tools, and some fabric paints.  This past week was spent looking for Egyptologically inspired designs I liked and getting it ready to transfer. I chose a garden pool scene that features very typically ancient Egyptian perspective and a sema-tawy.  Sema-tawy literally means "united are the two lands" and is a common decorative motif on the sides of royal thrones.  It unites the heraldic plants (the lily and the papyrus) of Upper and Lower Egypt around the hieroglyph for "unity."  As the prints are to be a gift for my parents 30th anniversary, I thought the unity motif would be fitting.  Plus I've always loved it both for its visual appeal and because I have always enjoyed the way ancient Egyptian artists combined symbolic motifs, art, and writing.

I decided to go with the acetone transfer technique.  Essentially, you take a printout from a laser printer or photocopier, lay it face down on your block and rub some acetone on it.  The toner is transferred to your block and you just carve away.
Unfortunately,  my laser printer at home is not conducive to this method.  Fortunately, Tom volunteered to get copies elsewhere and it eventually worked beautifully.  

Acetone transfer on block

Yesterday evening was thus spent in front of the TV with my lap desk while I carved away.  I found it amazingly fun and managed not to injure myself or any innocent bystanders.
Sema-tawy and Garden Pool print blocks

Today I worked on pulling prints to two flour-sack cotton towels.  I did the garden pool print at the center and the sema-tawy motif in each corner and centered just above each hem alternating in red, yellow, and blue.  I couldn't get a good photo of the full towel this evening.  I will try to do so tomorrow before everything goes into the mail, but no guarantees.

Here are two of the sema-tawy prints:
Sema-tawy pulled prints

The first garden pool print:
First pulled print - garden pool scene 2

And the second garden pool scene:
Second pulled print - garden pool scene

For both types of print, I slathered on the various colors of paint as quickly and evenly as possible, then very, very lightly misted with water and put it face-down on the fabric and applied very light, even pressure.  After lifting the block I went in and filled in color or made a few corrections by hand.

My back is killing me at this point and it took me most of the day to do all this, but I really like the results.  Next up I think I'm going to try some smaller stamps and a few other motifs.  

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