Relief printing without using a press

Relief printing without using a press

A printmaker’s tools

Barrens come in many different forms. They are used to rub the back of paper which has been put down on an inked block. Most printers have used the back of a wooden spoon, and the Japanese bamboo leaf barren. I find the block of box wood which was shaped for me by a carpenter and the ball bearing barren most useful. With those I can print through thick paper, useful as I only have a small press. All my larger work is printed using these two. The one at the back with Chinese lettering was made for me by a kind student at the Chinese Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou. This is their traditional woodblock printing tool and they all have to learn to make them. It is designed to work with thin paper and watercolour inks, and worked perfectly.

Judith Westcott