The Art of Printmaking
The prints of Kathleen West represent a contemporary example of an ancient Japanese art tradition. While materials and subject matter have altered over the centuries, the process of print making remains unchanged. All of Kathleen's prints are completely hand produced.
STEP 2. Kathleen cuts her block with a series of special wood cutting tools, each headed with a differently shaped blade to produce V or U shaped grooves of varying thicknesses. She holds the block in her lap, turning it to different angles as she works on different areas of the design. Kathleen cuts away the negative areas of the design, leaving the positive image in relief, ready to be printed.
STEP 1. Kathleen begins the process of print making by preparing the block, firmly attaching a sheet of linoleum to a solid wooden board. Originally trained to make prints directly from wood blocks, Kathleen now prefers working with linoleum, a consistent texture allowing her to do curves and detail work without fighting wood grains. She then draws the print design onto the block in a mirror image of the way she wants the finished print to appear.
STEP 3. Kathleen rolls over the cut block with a layer of oil-based ink so thin that it does not enter into any of the crevices or cut away sections but coats only the fine ridges and areas of uncut linoleum. Kathleen then places a sheet of paper over the inked block. Using the back of a thick-handled wooden spoon, she firmly rubs the paper against the inked block, transposing the image onto the paper. After she has rubbed the entire area of the picture, Kathleen "pulls" the completed print from the block.
STEP 4. If there are any unsatisfactory areas in the print, Kathleen returns to the block with her cutting tools to make modifications. Kathleen will continue to print and make changes until she is entirely satisfied with the result. The first print to be pulled after the final modifications have been made is known as the artist's proof. All following prints are given an identifying number set over the total number of prints to be made in that particular run. Establishing a set number of prints to be pulled from a particular block allows the art collector to know the maximum number of identical prints that could be produced.
Each of Kathleen's prints depicts her own unique design. Following the printing process, Kathleen brings her prints into vibrant life by hand-coloring them with water-based paints.