Blind Letterpress Print

One of the joys of printing is the final reveal when separating the lino from what you’ve printed on.

Whilst I love the immediacy and spontaneity of relief printing with my lino block on fabric, I do also enjoy the more technical and deliberate planning required in printmaking on paper.

Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, so when I use a press, it’s vital to make sure the pressure of the roller is even and so I’ll usually do a test or proof print. My first proof is often without any ink so I can judge if the pressure will be sufficient once ink is applied to the lino. I love these proof results before inking up!

This is basically a blind letterpress print as it has left an impression in the paper by pressing into it from one side.

Although some may call this blind embossing as no ink has been used, embossing produces a raised image by pressing paper between a two-sided die. Debossing on the other hand means the resulting image is the opposite or below the paper level. These are a slightly different technique to the one-sided letterpress printing method with the main purpose of adding ink although the indentations may result as part of the printing process.

I have to admit I have been guilty of incorrectly calling these ’embossed’ as many would not care about the difference but I did want to demystify and be clear here!  Embossing/debossing effects both sides of the paper and letterpress printing only one.

So, whilst my main aim is to print my lino with ink, it’s fun seeing what happens when testing the pressure of the press before I ink up!




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