This page is for anyone wondering how a 'print' can be 'original'!
This is a piece of Lino - it is made from natural materials and the smooth top surface is soft and easy to carve into.
The design is drawn onto the surface of the Lino and then sharp gougers or chisels are used to carve the design.
(The design here looks a bit messy because it has had ink on it.)
A brayer (roller) is used to roll ink onto the carved Lino. The design can then be printed onto paper by using a press, or it can be printed by pressing on the paper with objects such as a wooden spoon or a paperweight!
In this process, several layers of coloured ink are used, one on top of the other, to produce a final image.
The examples below show how this is done - in the light blue image, chisels have been used to cut away all the areas that need to remain white in the final picture. A full run of prints is then produced. In the mid-blue print, all the areas needed to remain light blue have also been cut away. This would then be printed over the top of the first print run as a second 'layer' (I have photographed it separately here so that the 'reduction' can be seen). The same process is then repeated with a dark blue for a final reduction. The finished print below shows all three colours as they would appear when printed on top of each other. Through this process, the original carving is destroyed.
Each print is produced individually. Variations in inking, particularly in hand-printing, will mean that every print is an 'original' one - although many printers will aim for consistency in their work.
Many people are confused because they think of 'original paintings' where any 'prints' are exact copies. This makes people think an 'original print' is a contradiction in terms!
An original print in Linocut printing (or woodcuts, collographs or etching) is made individually and is unique in its production.
Where an edition is 'limited', the original Linocut will only be used to make a specified number of prints.