Linocut & Woodblock Printing: In the Studio with Laura Boswell ARE


Laura works with two printmaking methods: traditional Japanese woodblock printing and reduction linocut. She has chosen to spend her career building her skills and pushing technical boundaries by working with just two techniques, in preference to working across a variety of media. Both techniques compliment and inform each other in her work, Japanese woodblock being a carefully chosen match for the linocut she specialised in for her joint degree in visual art and art history from Aberystwyth University.


The time Laura has spent studying, drawing and printmaking in Japan has had a profound effect on her work. Over time, Laura’s woodblock printmaking has informed her linocut printing. She now works in a similar way in either technique, often using painted and drawn line directly onto the blocks to inform her cutting. She prints with multiple layers of very scanty colour, often wiping and mixing colours on the block as she prints. Laura enjoys the irony that the more meticulous her cutting, the looser and more impulsive the finished print appears. Laura’s painterly and multi-layered printing, often running to twenty or more printings for a linocut and above forty for her woodblock, helps her to explore light and weather in her work and moves it away from the binary graphic appearance commonly seen in relief printmaking.


Laura’s work references the traditional Japanese aesthetic in its use of white space, her colour choices and minimal approach. She shares the Japanese appreciation of rigorous training; her work often displays impulsive line and brushwork, requiring meticulous cutting and printing to give the impression of fluid spontaneity.


Laura has worked with figurative landscape for many years and remains entranced; she is interested in ideas of space, light and drama, and finds that landscape gives her all of that in abundance. Laura’s latest work explores the structure of hills and mountains, ideas of scale and distance, and the fleeting nature of weather and light.


For Laura, each print is different and she will use whatever combination of techniques she needs to get the result that she wants. She prints using a number of things to coax different effects; a big Albion printing press is used to produce the sheet of colour for the sky, a bamboo baren is typically used in the Japanese process, and also a glass baren.


Laura feels that printmaking is a constant changing process - one of adaption, problem solving and exploration. She is becoming increasingly interested in the idea of combining Lino with wood, and is always looking for new ways of working and doing things that are tailored to the image.


While many people often think that the complicated cutting is the hardest part of her process, Laura finds that simplicity is deceptively difficult - for example, getting the flat colour for the sky just right at the start!


Want to see more of Laura's work? Head to her page here.

Make sure to watch the full video above, follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more 'In the Studio' features!


More like this on the Blog...

Read / Watch: Linocut Printing: In the Studio with Anita Klein PPRE Hon. RWS

Read / Watch: Relief Printing: In the Studio with Trevor Price RE

Read / Watch: Abstract Art: In the Studio with Lisa Traxler RWS

Read / Watch: Linocut Printing: In the Studio with Gail Brodholt RE

May 7, 2021