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Lino Cutting Tips I've learnt along the way....

Learning a new skill can sometimes be rather frustrating, so here are a few things I have learnt along the way from online research and by trial and error....

Safety First!! Always carve away from yourself and keep your fingers out of the way of the blades! Carving tools need to be sharpened regularly and due care should always be taken.

Keep carving tools sharp! A sharpened tool is easier to work with, so if you find that you are having to make more pressure, sharpen your tools.

A dull blade can lead to more slips and accidents. Investing in a good set of carving tools made a great deal of difference in my lino cutting. I use Pfeil (pronounced 'file') carving tools and I love them!!

Keep your hands clean! There is nothing more frustrating than making a great print only to leave behind finger marks! I use a small bowl of talcum powder into which I dip inky fingertips regularly. The talc soaks on to the ink and stops it from transferring. Any talc left on the print can be easily brushed off once the ink has dried.

Warming up the linoleum before carving makes it easier to cut! It can be placed on a radiator or even sat on for a while!

Practice making different cuts with different amounts of pressure before making your first print! You have to get a 'feel' for your tools and the linoleum. I keep lino offcuts to practice on.

Move the linoleum as you carve it! Try not to get yourself in a twist or working at odd angles. I have a bad back so am very aware of my posture but sometimes, in the depths of concentration, I will find I have twisted around the lino instead of moving it. I have found it easier to create curved shapes if I move the lino rather than the blade.

Have fun and don't be too precious about mistakes! Or as I like to call it 'Embrace the smudge!' Getting a clean print takes practice and experience so embrace your experience, smudges and all!