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The Elephants Graveyard of Wood! Printing Wood outdoors

September 17, 2017

A little downstream from me the South Tyne opens out over gravel and so it slows.  Trees and wood carried away on stormy nights, come to rest here. Many refuse to move on. It feels like their final resting place, and many show their scars and their injuries. If you enjoy exploring and peering into nooks and crannies this is the place to be. 

dead trees carried down riverdead trees carried down riverfungus on dead trees

It's not just me who enjoys exploring- Cassie always gets involved.

cassie assisting with printmakingpiece of wood with nail in it

I located a suitable piece of tree which had been cut across. It wasn't perfectly smooth or flat and I had nothing with me to try to sand it with. So it would be a voyage of discovery. My first outdoor printing. Luckily it was dry, and although there was a stone nearby I could sit on, it became cramp inducing fairly quickly! So I had to crouch. 

The first thing was to burn it with my blowtorch to raise some of the grain of the wood. Then lots of brushing away of the ash. I like this bit. The brushing and cleaning almost feels like I am caring for the wood.

burned wood ready for inking and printing

So then some ink, and I had to hold the paper over the wood with one hand while burnishing with the other. There was no way it would stick to anything with tape.

first print need bigger sheet of paper

I was pleased with the result, it works! I have since tried it with thicker Japanese paper and my Fabriano Unica printmaking paper works too, although its harder work on my arms as I have to press quite hard so its not possible to make many prints in one session. I have also printed some in colour too.


close up of wood print

wood printing on Japanese paper

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