Monday, June 13, 2016

Carving Material Review: Studioworks Easy-Cut Lino

Above Ground - Easy-Cut Lino
It's time for yet another thin-type of carving material, this time locally sourced at Above Ground Art Suppies in Toronto.  If this is your first time seeing one of my carving material reviews, click on the link to the right for a spreadsheet of all of a summary the materials I've reviewed with links to the full review.

I found this new material at Above Ground when I was wandering the city with my sister.  The cost per sheet of this was fairly low - and because there's no shipping cost because it is locally available, it's quite inexpensive to use.

My first thought was that this stuff was going to be just like the DeSerres dark grey or the Dick Blick blue material, given that it appeared to be the same thickness.  I couldn't feel the material because of its packaging, but it's a vibrant green that was begging to be picked up...

So, how did it fare?


Appearance:

Vibrant green, thin and flexible.  When I see lino in printmaking sections nowadays, I sort of turn a blind eye to it because I feel that the material they make for lino prints needs to be quite hard to be used in a press.  However, when I looked at this particular material, I couldn't help but see that Above Ground is advertising it as being perfect for making stamps. 

See? Above Ground Studioworks specifically says that this Easy-Cut Lino is "perfect for ... making stamps"


Size and Weight:



Like the Dick Blick blue and the DeSerres grey, this is a thin-type material coming in at a mere 3 mm thick.  This means that like those other two, I needed to temporarily mount this on an acrylic block in order to carve with it - it's too thin for me to hold in my hand and cut.

Transfer:

This stuff took a heat transfer quite well, and I was really happy with the result.

The text came out clear - the glare makes it look otherwise.


Crumble Factor:

Next to none - this doesn't pill and has a good balance of breaking inside when you want it to.  After I had printed with it, I took it to the sink to clean and gave it a vigorous scrubbing - no damage the the stamp, I was impressed!

Carving:

My fav of the thin materials, I was quite intrigued to feel how different this stuff carved compared to the thin blue and grey stuff I had tried previously.  This stuff carves with much less force, and in fact, I performed the knife part of this carve with a fairly dull knife.  Nevertheless, the knife carving of the text on this was quite nice to do and in result, the gouge was equally soft and fun to do.  A+ for both!



Text and design were quite nice to carve!

Inking:

Okay, so this needs to be mounted to get a proper impression.  Because I had merely taped this to an acrylic block, the print came out uneven a couple times before I got it right.  I really like unmounted stamps myself, so this is a disappointing factor of this otherwise great material.

The inkings came out great.  The surface isn't as velvety as others, but there isn't a shine that would case the ink to bead.  As a result, the positive portions of the design evenly printed.  I particularly like how the StazOn impression came out.

Print from Studioworks Easy-Cut Lino looks great - click to enlarge.


Conclusions:

I really like this stuff and will happily use the rest of the material.  Unfortunately, it needs to be mounted, but really that's the only drawback for stamp making :)

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