Linocut Artists – Olesya Dzhuraeva
Watch the things my way
Every life is unique no matter whether it is human, animal, city or buildings. Their life stories are created by numerous moments: interesting, bright, boring, monotonous … different.
I’ve been working with objects for a long time. I inspired myself studying the details of their life history. Those were ordinary things such as bicycle, clothes, shoes, utensils. I was focused on investigating dishes and cups for a long time – I have no clear explanation why, but perhaps because of the possibility to read them more clearly. Coffee, morning, alone, together … evening, tea, alone, together …
Long-standing still life has taught to watch and see, read and listen. I learned how to feel life.
I am not a hermit, but spend a lot of time in the studio alone with my thoughts and objects that surround me. No, I do not hide from people at all – I just got used to it and I feel comfortable spending time that way, as it gives me an opportunity to feel the flow of life.
One day it became clear that the most interesting things for me to watch are the city in which I live. It was not a sudden occurrence. For several years, I went to the studio the same way almost every day – in summer, winter, autumn, spring. The weather, seasons, people’s clothes, car designs, advertising boards were changing, and the city was rushing or going down to whisper, but it was never silent. You just need to stop and listen to its exciting sounds. So I began to read the architecture, which for me was a monumental chronicle of life.
I am often asked about the reason why I do not work with the architecture of the old city, famous tourist places in my city, and buildings with a hundred years of history. The answer is simple – I like the different areas and types, but I do not choose what to portray and how to express, just some things I’ve already read and felt.
I use linoleum in my work, even though it is simple and almost childish. Maybe because it gives me an opportunity to work on an old, used material, the one that lived here for 40-50 years. Sometimes I feel like an ancient builder who uses only local materials in his work.
On the last series of works “Where I Am” I have been working for more than four years. It is dedicated to the places I see every day from the window of my apartment while going to the studio or returning home and its every moment was unique.
I consider myself to be a happy person, I do not seek and do not wait for exciting moments or surprises. All life is one unique and exciting moment.
“The Right Direction” is one of my most favorite linocuts, as it perfectly expresses my attitude to life, my way home and to myself.
In the early beginning, when I was a student, I started my creative search from etching and collagraph techniques. I’ve created one series of prints in each of them. It took me two years to find a lino. Even don’t remember where I found the first piece of material and my first tools. But I remember my first prints. It was a real challenge for me to find my own way.
LINOCUT – the way I do it
I checked all possible materials of different lino manufacturers and now I prefer old and used linoleum (40-50 years), made from more natural components. It soft enough, good for small and delicate mark making, never crack. Where I take it? Mostly in garbage, near reconstructed old, “Soviet” times buildings.
And sure my friends, and simply people who know I’m an artist (even from FB), send me or deliver lino to my studio. GUYS – thanks to everybody!!!
Many people ask me what type of curving tools I use. My answer – sharp, handy and usable. Pfeil, Flexcut microtools and made by local handymen, U-gouge and V-gouge… different. But prefer the smallest V-gouge.
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Pfeil Tools are high quality Swiss made carving tools suitable for either lino or wood cutting.
Each tool is made from chrome vanadium steel, precisely forged, sharpened and polished for excellent results. Palm-handles are made of hardwood from ecologically managed Swiss forests.
Full bolster and square tang for optimal stability. Internal steel ferrule under bolster prevents the handle from splitting. Tools are hardened to the edge of the bevel. Blades electronically hardened to exacting tolerances.
These tools can be found in different sets or bought one by one in order to make a set more suitable for you.
PFEIL: LINOLEUM AND BLOCK CUTTER SET OF 6: SET D
3. Image transfer
The first step – like many artists I make a sketch or drawing of the future image.
And the second step – I just draw this image on linoleum by black markers or pens.
Sometimes I do not make sketches, only drawing on lino. So I cannot say anything useful about the transfer process.
I work really slowly. The big size (50cmx70cm) takes about two months of time.
Small size, like 20×20 – about 3-4 weeks. (About mark making – to make small round dots use the smallest U-gouge you can find.)
For printing, I prefer smooth and plain paper. It’s the best for small and delicate lines. Black ink that I use – good quality professional typographic ink.
Van Son Rubber Based Universal Ink is a rich and versatile black ink made in the Netherlands. It is widely used by jobbing and commercial letterpress printers and relief printmakers such as lino cutters or wood engravers. This ink is perfect for use on a wide variety of printing presses and for hand-burnished prints from relief matrices. It is a stiff ink which will deliver a crisp impression from areas with lots of fine stippling or line work.
Van Son Rubber Based Ink is sold in very large quantities; most printers and printmakers will find a 1kg tin of ink will last them years. It will not form a skin in the can and will stay wet on the press for several days, which can be useful if you are printing large runs. Once printed on uncoated paper it dries quickly to a smudge-proof finish.
Because Van Son ink is widely used in the commercial printing industry, it is supplied in large tins that may have superficial scratches or dents. This damage should not affect the air-tightness of the seal or the quality of the ink.
And now, let me show you what I’ve been developing with this technique.
Thanks to the TOP Printmaking team for the opportunity to show what I have been doing.
I hope this article is inspiring for those who are taking the first steps in the search of their own way.
This article was written by Olesya Dzhuraeva and all images copyright © olesyadzhuraeva 2019
You can get to know her on her Facebook page.
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