It was awesome! Ahem… Apologies for the blunt start to this blog, I shall elaborate: a couple of weeks ago we were sent an email announcing a studio training inspiration day. The email introduced a type and print workshop located in a converted warehouse in the East of Amsterdam that now houses Krux.
11 o’clock Friday morning and we all bust a move to get down for some art attack action. Adam, a fellow graphic designer and our ‘teacher’ for the day gave us a warm welcome in the kitchen. Along with other members of Krux, Adam served us a delicious lunch. The meal consisted of pickled vegetable salad and fresh cod with herbs. Oddly enough, both dishes had been vacuum packed and the fish was actually boiled in the bag. Very tasty.
Then we were introduced to the origins and ideas behind the unique set up. Krux is a space that houses a collection of creative professions, from sculptors of giant letters, to guitar makers. Letting in a range of creative professionals to one shared space has created a platform for working, collaborating and learning that benefits all of the members.
After the intro, Adam explained to us the task at hand. Showing us the tools and methods needed to create our prints. “You will make mistakes, you will f**k up” Adam kindly explained “but it’s part of what I love about the process, you end up with happy accidents”.
With these words of wisdom firmly imprinted (pun intended) on our minds we got sketching. Some immediately stylising initials, others pondering a while, searching for inspiration and looking absent minded through a window in the roof. Having sketched out a design, the next stage was to trace the design onto a piece of linoleum and once that was accomplished, we started carving into the linoleum.
After about half an hour I started to notice the pain in the palm of my hand. But at least I was getting somewhere (checking with relief that I’d carved right parts away). Once the carving was complete the first coat of ink was rolled on. Lovely bright, sticky ink that coats every surface it touches. Carefully laying down the first sheet of paper I held my breath and used a rolling pin to carefully press the ink into the paper. Peeling it back and BAM! My first lino-print!!
10 sheets later and a second shape needed carving out. The process of reduction is slow but satisfying. The inking process is repeated with a second colour and all of a sudden the bold colours start coming to life. Increasingly we’re surrounded by bold and beautiful typography (and Batman). Despite the time pressures, we’re smashing out lovely pieces of work and having fun doing it. The simple pleasure of colour, real live colour in the form of this rich ink on fresh white paper, is inspiring us all. PLUS with the (manageable) manual labour, you’ve got the endorphins kicking in too!
6 o’clock draws in and the atmosphere is buzzing as the last few prints are pegged up and the well deserved beers come out. Well done everyone. New skills learned, everyone with a print to their name and no fingers lost!
The prints arrived recently and they still look hot. The roller, the paper and the linoleum creating a distinctive texture on each one and with each texture a memory to savour.
A big thank you to Nicolien, Paul and Adam Oostenbrink for making the day such a success.
by Anna Stanford