I start every piece with a pencil sketch. I spend a lot of time researching the plant specimen that I aim to create. I look at real life specimens, photographs and botanical illustrations to help me refine my design plan.
Once my drawing is complete, I transfer the pencil sketch to a soft rubber printing block. Then I begin to hand-carve my design. The carving step takes some time, but I love this step in the process!
I choose to leave some carving lines in the background of the piece; these are never planned and happen spontaneously as I carve.
I find they add energy or movement to the piece, a quality that I’ve always loved about lino and woodcut images.
Once my block is carved, I first run a test print in black and white. I then go back and edit my block to see that it’s just right. Then I’ll run a series of black and white prints.
I LOVE playing with colors and blending my inks to mix just the right color for each botanical work that I create.
For my multicolor works, I use the “jigsaw” method. I use a blade and cut out the areas that I want to be different colors.
The background and foliage is inked in a shade of green then I separately ink the pieces that I’ve cut out. Then I place all of the pieces back together (like a jigsaw puzzle).
To create a gradation of color in my prints, I place different colors of ink side by side on my pallet and roll them with my brayer to create subtle transitions of colors. This technique is known as a Rainbow Roll!
My works are hand pressed. Once the printing block is inked, I place a piece of 100% cotton paper on top of the block.
Then I use a tool called a barren, or a wooden spoon with a smooth firm surface to hand press each piece – this transfers the ink from the block to the paper to create the print.
All of my prints are signed and numbered and released in limited edition series.