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Last Week I learned … Wood Cutting

August 11, 2014

My daughter also a printmaker (like me, of sorts) has been looking for places where she can practice and learn her new found skill.  In her exploration she found two centres that offer the facilities she needs and also an invitation to come and try. So AJ made an appointment with each during our stay in Rio.

The first one is in Rio de Janeiro city centre, a short bus ride away, the Liceu de Artes e Oficios is a private art school ; the print room is hired by a printer who offers his tools and expertise to the students in the school and to enthusiasts in the local community for nominal monthly payments. Here, we spent the morning learning about the art of Brazilian Wood cutting (not to be confused with Wood engraving)  Wood is at a premium in Brazil, unlike lino which is very expensive and not easily available. Any type of wood is used ; particularly reclaimed wood. Such as the old school desks now replaced by newer lighter designs.They were made of Canela which is better known in UK as Cinnamon it is lovely chocolate brown with a delicious perfume. The varied grains and imperfections are used in the prints.  

Another issue we discussed was paper. Due to the humidity in Brazil the specialist paper used by printers is inclined to to become mouldy and deteriorate quickly.  This can of course have serious implications for artists who wish to sell their works and maintain a regular market or client group.

So care has to be taken when choosing paper and its subsequent care . Also inks used in Brazil are different and need careful attention.

Gabrielle, went to tell us much about the history of printing in Rio and the methods he used to keep an old tradition alive and how he shared his knowledge while using readily available products, ‘struggling’  against the elements and how he embraced the modern methods.

The next day we took a longer journey (90 mins each way) to Tijuca to community centre called SESC a centre that offers the workers community courses of all types; further ‘education’ and leisure.  

Here a printer offered regular opportunities to learn and share the printing experience.  He also told us of Wood Cutting culture and methods but also gave us a chance to play.  While we are both lino cutters and eager to learn wood cutting we were not ready for its rather ‘dynamic’ differences. We spent a happy hour cutting various pieces of shelves, doors, desks, hard and soft, grainy, splintery.  We learned about the tools, some fine imported beasts from Japan.  Others true the the Brazilian culture of improvisation made from the spokes of an old umbrella.  Beautifully crafted tools that could cut the finest line of a birds feather to gouging out larger chunks.  

Each printer gave us a wondrous printing  experience. Even considering the long journey to the second press my daughter is going to have difficulty choosing which one to attend. The jury is still out it seems she will  probably give each a try.  

I have been invited back and have been given a stash of wood to take back to UK.  I will look forward to finding a printing community at home where I can practice and improve my printing techniques; while not neglecting my wood engraving and lino cutting.  

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2014 4:19 pm

    Thank’s Helen! And Thank you for your friendship! Shipping copied below link to access my online portfolio site on “Carbonmade” if you want to know a little more of my artworks.
    Thank you for your attention!

    • August 25, 2014 6:42 pm

      Delighted to hear from you!! I will keep in touch and send Amy any supplies she might need; especially those that are unavailable or expensive in Brazil. If there is something I can send for you let me know!! With good wishes. I will look at your works fully

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