process - carving

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You'll sometimes hear reductive relief - the process I use - called a "suicide print." That's because there's no going back. The printmaker uses only one block for all colors of ink, gradually carving away (or "reducing") the block until little surface remains. Mistakes have to be fixed immediately. There are no opportunities to reprint earlier layers if the printmaker has a change of heart. 

Here are examples of carving from two prints - two stages of the woodblock "Fence Climber" and four steps in the final carving of the linocut "Long Ago and Here Today." Carving these steps took, 23.5 hours! And it's easy to see why I can't reprint earlier layers - they're gone!

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Pattern drawn for final carving

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Final carving 1/4 complete

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Final carving 3/4 complete

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Final carving complete

Take a deeper dive into the reductive relief process. Watch my PrintAustin presentation.

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