March 28, 2013

New cut-like-butter linoleum for printmakers

Artist leads Silk Cut Linoleum Workshop at BluSeed Studios


---- — SARANAC LAKE — Artist and printmaker Robynn Smith went down under and returned with a new creative expression, Silk Cut Linoleum.

The BluSeed Studios’ visiting artist leads a workshop in the new technique on Saturday, April 6, in Saranac Lake.

“It’s a product and process I discovered in Australia last summer,” said Smith, who lives in Monterrey, Calif.

“I was on an artist-in-residence at Landscape Art Research Queenstown. It’s a nonprofit studio gallery run by the well-known artist Raymond Arnold in Queenstown, Tasmania.”

One of the other resident artists, Bridget Hilldebrand, did a workshop on Silk Cut Linoleum.

“She won a big award, the Silk Cut Award,” Smith said. “It’s a huge prize given each year by the Silk Cut company. I worked with her and learned from her and brought it back to the States.”

Silk Cut is a brand made in Amsterdam with Australian distribution.

“It’s much easier to cut than traditional battleship linoleum,” Smith said. “I think it’s actually used on battleships. It’s hard and brittle. Silk Cut cuts really well and holds an edge really beautifully. You can print many, many prints without it crumbling. It doesn’t crack like a lot of lino. It holds the ink really well.”

Silk Cut warms up nicely, whether by placement in the sun or on a heating pad.

“It cuts like butter. Some people just sit on it. It depends on your body temperature, I guess. It becomes really easy to carve. You can carve with a variety of tools that makes it much better than traditional linoleum,” Smith said.

Lens Art in Santa Cruz is the first U.S. distributor of Silk Cut Linoleum. 

“They are looking for other distribution outlets in the United States. They are a very responsive company,” Smith said. “They want artists to use their product. It’s a really good product.”

At BluSeed, Smith will teach workshop participants how to cut it, carve it and print with it. 

“It prints really nicely,” Smith said. “I use traditional wood-carving tools. You can use linoleum-cutting tools or an X-ACTO knife. It’s really pretty easy to carve.”

Any art made with Silk Cut is eligible for the company’s annual competition.

“The deadline is June 3, so it’s good timing (for the workshop),” Smith said.

Email Robin

IF YOU GO WHAT: BluSeed Studios Visiting Artist program featuring Robynn Smith. WHEN: Program runs from Monday, April 1, through Thursday, April 11. Silk Cut Lino Workshop: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 6; $65 includes materials. Open Studio: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 7; $35 for a two-hour session (two-artist limit per session). Meet & Greet the Artist and Lecture: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9. WHERE: BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St., Saranac Lake. CONTACT: For questions or to register, call 891-3799.