I've had some time to integrate many of the things that I saw at SGCI and now, with a bigger, better press, I'm ready to start trying some of them. From now until July, I'll be focusing on color work so that I'm prepared to make the most of my time in Nebraska.
To that end, I'm carving some new plates of simple geometric designs. Then, I'll be able to focus on color effects without the distraction of pictorial imagery. The first thing I wanted to try was carving with a straight-sided bit instead of the V-bit that I've been using. It would make the carving process way more flexible. As it stands, a variation on the order of 1/1000th of an inch makes a big difference in the results because depth equals width with a 45-degree V-bit.
At first, the results looked abysmal. Look at those splinters! I think that it's splintering because the bit is so small. A larger bit slices the splinters off and removes them.
It seems that a few seconds with a blow torch can remove most of the splinters without damaging the printing surface.
It's a little hard to see what's going on here. There are two blocks carved to match. The printed areas in the second plate fit neatly into the spaces between the printed areas in the first plate. There is a narrow and variable gap between the two sets of stripes for a little added interest.
Once I saw that the patterns really did nest in the way that they were designed to, it was time to ink them.