Friday, June 7, 2019

FRANKENSTEIN'S WOMEN - a progress report

Lino blocks for Frankenstein's Women, 20 x 15 cm (each block)

The blocks for Frankenstein's Women, my forthcoming artist book, are almost ready for the next stage, namely, printing.

For those who have been following the development of this project since it began life at Melbourne Athenaeum Library during a residency for Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018, here is an overview of the work to date. (Click on images to enlarge).

As noted in my last post, the block for the title page of Frankenstein's Women (pictured third from top) was new and hadn't begun to harden. As a result, the surface was very brittle. In what turned out to be an ill-starred combination, my linocut tool, a Speedball with an interchangeable No. 1 cutter, was also new, but far from sharp, causing areas of the lino to crumble away during carving. For many   years, I've found this particular cutter indispensable for producing very fine lines. Sadly, however, the current Speedball cutters are poorly made; they are blunt, rusty and frankly, shouldn't even be on the market.

There is hope for the future, however, thanks to my friend Paul Compton, who recently presented me with a most thoughtful and generous gift - the elegant linocut tool pictured directly below. I've never seen one like it before. According to the accompanying label, it's a 'TRAD SANKKAKUTO Vee Gouge'. Some of the blocks could use some minor tweaking; this tool cuts through them like butter.