Welcome to A Hot Piece of Glass!

WELCOME to my colorful corner of the world! I write here about the things I make, in glass, fiber, metals, and whatever else I can find to play with!

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Friday, August 17, 2012


This is, inexplicably, what I have been doing off and on all day. Carving a lino block. I have always loved linoleum block prints, with their primitive and intricate style. Way back in the fourth or fifth grade, I remember carving one for the very first time in art class. I also remember all the safety instructions about handling the Speedball carving tools, and how you "should always cut with your free hand behind your carving hand" so as to avoid stabbing yourself when the cutter inevitably slipped. Those blocks were HARD to cut, unlike the soft rubber-ish material I am using these days. I never stabbed myself with the cutter, but I remember other kids who did.

I fell in love with this image from one of my Pinterest boards. It comes from a site called The Typothecary, with other images of Celtic animals included. The origin of the image is Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction, by George Bain. I've been searching for an image of a horse with some kind of Celtic influence for a tattoo for myself, and I found this one on Pinterest and loved it. I'm not sure if it's going to ultimately end up as my tattoo the way it is drawn now, or if I am going to modify it, but I loved this enough to want to do something with it.

The other day, I treated myself to a 'real' bound journal for art journaling purposes. It's a Moleskin journal, with watercolor paper as the pages, since I knew I wanted to try some wet media in it, and haven't had much luck with other journals holding up to ink and paint that well. I'm not even sure how I came to be carving this stamp, it's just I was sitting in my sewing/crafting/artmaking area and I found a piece of carving block, and then I thought, hey, this would make a great stamp for the cover of this journal! With a soft lead pencil, I traced over all the lines of the artwork, and transferred it onto the block by burnishing it with a wooden spoon. It transferred beautifully, and then I got to work carving it. I only have two blades for my little Speedball handle -- one thin and one wide -- so it's hard to get the careful detail I want. I might have to go in search of, or order more, blades that carve a thinner line so I can get the spiral detail inside the horse without taking out too much material.

There is something ridiculously meditative and addictive about carving the blocks. I sat for a long time, just following the lines with my tool, and etching out the image, once I'd decided whether to make it a positive or a negative image. And I also thought of another image to carve, too, so as soon as I can draw that one, I'll work on it. The horse is almost completely carved now, and I will find a scrap of wood in the garage to glue it to, so it's a rigid stamp, and not a floppy piece of rubber block. I will make a few test images, carve away anything that I don't want to have show up, and then print a white or gold metallic image on the front of my journal. Then we'll see what else I can put this horse on....a tshirt, maybe, or one of my thrifted denim skirts that is too boring all by itself....or maybe I will make a wall hanging...lots of possibilities.

I've almost finished carving now, and I'm going to figure out where I can buy a better assortment of blades in smaller and larger sizes, so I can do the fine detail work it needs. And then, I can start printing!


Sharyl said...

I so enjoyed this I read every word! I can't draw anything and yet I'm wishing I had the needed supplies to give it a try tonight! ha! That's good storytelling!

Christine said...

Thanks, Sharyl! It's pretty fun, and easy! I didn't draw the horse, I only copied it, so you don't really need to be able to draw! Try it!


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