Printmaking and Pottery: Using Linocuts to Make Clay Prints

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One of the things I really like about clay is how easily it meshes with printmaking, another art form I really dig. I remember making linocut prints back in grade school art class with Mrs. Duffy. It was one of my favorite projects and perhaps where my love of printmaking and texture first emerged.

In today’s post, Annie Chrietzberg explains how potter Cynthia Guajardo mixes linocut printing with clay. It’s a fantastic method for creating repeatable customized texture on pottery. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

 


 

Making Linocuts

“Printmaking was my other love in art school,” says Cynthia Guajardo. She uses a simple and direct printer’s method of carving into linoleum, then using the linocut to impress a slab of clay. “Making a linoleum cut and creating your own personal patterns is gratifying and easy,” she says, and “the tools and supplies can be found anywhere fine art supplies are sold.”

Carving into linoleum is a great way to create your own texture mats.Cynthia prefers Golden Cut linoleum, which she buys online from Dick Blick. “Some of my classmates in college even used regular linoleum flooring scraps, which can be acquired for free from flooring stores, building sites, friends and basements.” She purchases larger pieces and then cuts them into the desired shape, combining texture tool and template.


The Best of Two Worlds!
Learn more techniques for combining printmaking and pots with Ceramic Transfer Printing
in the Ceramic Arts Shop!


 

For the carving, you can buy inexpensive linoleum carving tools where you purchase your lino mats, but Cynthia recommends acquiring woodcarving tools if you have the budget. “Woodcarving tools are much better than the cheap linoleum carving tools you can find for beginners. Palm grip tools can be found at specialty wood carving and printmaking stores,” she said.

linocuts_01The other things you need you probably already have: a pencil, an eraser, a Sharpie, an X-Acto knife and a cutting mat to protect your table. And she offers some wise advice: “Caution! These tools are sharp – always cut away from your body, not just away from your hand and fingers. I say this from experience!”

Linocuts_finished

She also says that a bench hook is especially useful for people new to carving linoleum. This Z-shaped piece of metal hooks over the edge of your table, and securely holds your work as you carve. She adds that warming the linoleum briefly in a microwave for a few seconds makes it easier to carve!

Cynthia first sketches her design onto the linoleum with a pencil then holds it up to a mirror to see what the design will look like in clay. Once she’s satisfied with her drawing, she goes over it with a Sharpie then proceeds with the carving. She counsels, “if you make a mistake, try to incorporate it into your design. Don’t worry about small accidental surface scrapes – they won’t show up in clay.”

To learn more about Annie Chrietzberg, please visit www.earthtoannie.com.


**First published in September 2011
Comments
  • I have been doing this for years and love the combination of carving and transferring onto clay. It’s a great way to make multiple pieces with designs you love. Two arts combined! 🙂

  • i’ve been doing linocuts in clay since 2008…see facebook.com/zmedceramics for more on wheel-throwing printed slabs and printing on thrown pieces…also, i use dick blick’s wondercut linoleum…it cuts easier than the goldencut and is also twice as thick so you can get a deeper impression in the clay…

  • Sarah – that would work, try it! You should be able to use the underglaze on both greenware & bisque.
    By the way – the bio saying that I live in Denver was the one printed with the article when it ran. I am back home in the Dallas-Ft Worth area now.

  • I did this with my high school Printmaking class, where the students had to design their image, print it and then press the image into clay and finish it with underglaze, oxides or glazes and firing. They loved this project, and I loved seeing what they could accomplish!

  • Potter’s Pad by Minnesota Clay Co is an underglaze stamp pad that can be used with any rubber stamps- bought from a store or made yourself! i am a middle school art teacher and my students love to carve their own design into gum erasers or other carving blocks and use to print on bisque plates (any flat clay item would work). i only know of black, but we add color with Amaco Semi-Moist Underglaze Watercolors for Ceramics. cover with clear glaze AFTER fully drying to avoid smearing of underglazes and fire. these products are really great!!

  • BONJOUR,
    JE SUIS RAVIE DE VOTRE TECHNIQUE. LES RESULTATS SONT MERVEILLEUX ET PERSONNALISES.
    JE VOUS EXPOSE UN PETIT PROBLEME QUI ME CONTRARIE BEAUCOUP:
    J’HABITE EN FRANCE ET, JE NE PEUX PAS COMMANDER LES REVUES MENSUELLES NI LES D.V.D. LES PAIEMENTS/ENVOIS ETANT RESERVES UNIQUEMENT POUR LES ETATS UNIS D’AMERIQUE. AURIEZ-VOUS LA POSSIBILITE D’EXPOSER CE PROBLEME ET, DE VOIR S’IL Y A UNE SOLUTION? IL Y A BIEN LES PAIEMENT EN SWIFT MAIS, C’EST LA LIVRASON EN FRANCE QUI POSE DES PROBLEMES. PRECISEZ-VOUS SI LES LIVRES PROPOSES SONT EN ANGLAIS <<ET<< FRANCAIS? JE PARLE ANGLAIS MAIS, AIME BIEN AUSSI ACHETER LES MEME LIVRE EN FRANCAIS.
    TRES VIFS REMERCIEMENTS POUR LES REPONSES.

  • Thanks to Annie and everyone for the feed back, I’m thinking of trying to get a curve on a lino cut by gluing it to a piece of shaped wood so that it can be applied to a curved surface.
    To the person from France, to my eternal shame I am typically English and can only understand about three words! So if this is directed at me my apologies for not replying:)

  • She wants to know if the DVDs and books can be ordered from and delivered to France. She says there is no option for delivery outside the US or payment from France. Also interested in whether your books might be available in French.

  • Check out Google Translate at http://translate.google.com.
    HELLO, I am delighted to your technique. THE RESULTS ARE WONDERFUL AND CUSTOM. I WILL EXPOSE a small problem that bothers me a lot: I LIVE IN FRANCE AND I CAN NOT ORDER THE DVD OR MONTHLY MAGAZINE PAYMENT / SHIPPING IS RESERVED ONLY FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO EXPOSE THIS PROBLEM AND TO SEE IF THERE IS A SOLUTION? There are the SWIFT PAYMENT BUT IS IN FRANCE LIVRASON which poses problems. SPECIFY IF YOU ARE OFFERED IN ENGLISH BOOKS <<AND <<FRENCH? I CAN SPEAK ENGLISH BUT ALSO LOVES GOOD BUY THAT BOOK IN FRENCH. Warmest thanks for the answers.

  • Bonjour, je commande régulièrement les revues, elles sont livrées sans problème à Paris. Et je paye en carte bleue.
    Mais elles sont uniquement en anglais.

  • I have recently been to a lino cut and printmaking block course and was thrilled to see that you can also use them on clay. My next little adventure with clay is about to begin

  • What a wonderful addition to pottery making. I love that you can make your own designs and put them on your pieces. As a second year student, I’ll give this a try! Thanks so much

  • Would love to see the additional info but the link to download the free copy is not working today….help? It appears to be a way to make some very unique decorating designs. Thanks for sharing.

  • I did linocut in grade school as well. And I m lucky enough to be close friends with a floor layer. Definitely going to give this a try!

  • I have failed miserable at this. The linoleum that I bought easily chips and carving through it is difficult if not impossible. The only way to get a smooth cut is to heat it up and that isn’t fun either. After breaking my second tool I just gave up.

  • to Donna: There are different grades of Lineoleum. Some are very brittle and thick (for commercial floor use), some more bendable. Keep trying. In the US, i used to buy the lino mounted onto plywood and that was a softer , carvable product — you can find it in Art Stores. Now I live in NZ , I havent seen linoleum but will certainly be on the look out, its bound to be somewhere! When i used to teach Art (in the dark ages) I found styrofoam meat trays were a great substitute to Lino for using with the kids and printmaking projects. more easily cut, softer to emboss and carve into. Maybe give that a try. (but the styrofoam will not be as long lasting as the design you carve into Lineoleum) Cheers,

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