We’re thrilled to announce that The Deckle Edge now carries Cranfield inks, a premier choice for printmakers seeking quality and safety in their craft. This blog post highlights the incredible features of Cranfield’s Caligo Safe Wash Relief Inks, emphasizing their non-toxic, oil-based, and easily washable properties, straight from the U.K. to our shelves.

The Professional’s Take: Gerald Khumalo Tests Caligo Safe Wash

To provide an authentic perspective on these new inks, we enlisted Gerald Khumlo, a professional printmaker who studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art and now works at The Deckle Edge. Gerald recently experimented with these inks using our in-store printing press and shared his step-by-step process, giving insights into their practical application and benefits.

Materials needed; Lino, sharp pencil, carbon paper, masking tape, carving tools, roller, barren, ink and if available a printing press

Step 1: Image Selection and Preparation

Gerald choose a image & got all his tools and materials together luckily he works in The Deckle Edge so it wasnt hard to find everything he needed:

Tip: Remember to reverse the image for printing, ensuring it’s black and white and highly contrasted, suitable for one-tone relief printing.

Adjust it to the size of your linoleum.

Step 2: Transferring the Image

He used carbon paper to transfer your design onto the lino. Masked it to prevent movement, then traced over with a sharp pencil, applying as much detail as possible.

Tip: You can fix the carbon ink with any fixative to prevent smudging and go over to add extra details if needed.

Step 3: Carving

Carving tools: Gerald used Speedball carving tools. He carved away the parts not needed for his print, leaving the marks done with the pencil.

Tip: Un-carved areas will retain ink and form the image.

He set up the press and prepare his paper, leaving at least 6 cm from the lino to the edge to allow for framing.

Gerald used Cranfield Inks and a Speedball roller to spread the ink on a glass surface, as applying ink directly to the lino is not recommended.

He Applied the ink evenly, covering the entire surface, spreading the ink evenly both vertically and horizontally.

Gerald placed the paper carefully on the lino, ensuring it was centered. He used a the press but you can use a baren to rub the paper in circular motions in multiple directions for about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a press, repeat this step until satisfied with the print. He made a few test prints with different papers and pressures as it was his first time using the Deckle press and adjustments needed to be made after each print.

Gerald absolutely loved the beauty of the Caligo Safe Wash inks because of their clean-up ease which also speeded up the whole printing process. Tip: Simply wash your tools and lino with warm soapy water—no need for harsh solvents! Ink drying takes about 2-3 days; avoid direct sunlight to prevent yellowing of the paper.

Why Gerald Recommends Cranfield Inks:
Gerald finds these inks ideal for relief printing because they are super easy to clean, non-toxic, have a pleasant subtle smell and are suitable for use at home or in educational settings. They are not too runny, have a nice tackiness, and dry to a matte finish, making them perfect for multiple printing techniques, including reductive and multiple plate printing.

This introduction to Cranfield Caligo Safe Wash Relief Inks at The Deckle Edge is just the beginning. We plan to dive deeper into various techniques in future posts. Whether you are a seasoned printmaker or a student starting your journey, these inks offer an environmentally friendly and high-quality option for your artistic expression. Join us at The Deckle Edge to explore these fantastic inks and take your printmaking to the next level!

  • Relief printing is a method of printmaking where a design is carved into a solid surface, such as wood or linoleum. The areas that are not carved away are the ones that will hold ink. After inking these raised surfaces, paper is pressed against them to transfer the ink, creating a print. The process allows for multiple copies of the design to be made from the same block. This technique is commonly used for creating prints like woodcuts, linocuts, and stamping.
  • Lino embossing is a printmaking technique where you carve a design into a linoleum block and then press it onto paper using a press without ink, creating a raised pattern. This process highlights the textures and shapes of the design by physically altering the surface of the paper, making it stand out in relief.
    Embossing Tip: If using a press for embossing, set it higher than usual.
    Damping Paper: For embossing, you can spray or dip the paper in water and wipe off the excess. Use 100% cotton paper like Fabriano Rosaspina or Unica for best results.

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