They didn’t mean it, I know. These things happen…I also know.
There I was carving the final layer of my reduction print. It was going well. The lino was cutting smoothly and I could see the final details taking shape, when my elbow was suddenly pushed outward and I felt the blade dig deeply into the lino at an odd angle. Two small figures raced by, the second also knocking into me, and they squealed and yelled through the rest of the house.
I know this is an inherent danger when you have children. Nothing is truly safe…but I had discussed with them the need to stay away from my carving area. I had given them free reign of the rest of the house…the whole house…all of it! And yet, they had run right into me.
After a brief (and perhaps loud) lecture, I finished the block and printed up a few copies to see what areas the gouge effected. The potential problem was that Linoblocks are fairly unforgiving…there’s no good way to replace carved material. So either the design had to change and account for the error, or the piece has to be re-carved (and line up imperfectly). The prints were somewhat disappointing, but after sleeping on it, I managed to figure out a way to rework the block. In the end, the finished image was as good, if not better, than my original conception.
Printing seems to me to be a precise and detailed craft. I’m always surprised by the small necessary tweaks and tolerances that need to be kept. And then, there’s this need to be adaptable…to be creative…to work around problems and issues that inevitably come up along the way–like a gouge in a linoblock or maybe two wild boys running, fighting, laughing, being boys.
Now I just need to keep the boys at bay while the prints dry…