The art of engraving, a pleasure for the eye and for the touch

Updated: Jul 20, 2021


A print is made to be admired. Do you know that making a print is also a joy for the other senses ?



Usually during the open studios as a visitor you take the lino in your hands to feel its flexibility, its sofness or roughness. Some of you smell it and manage to perceive lindseed oil, one of its ingredients. I never fail to invite you to touch the paper I chose to print and try to share my enthusiasm by all the options from which to chose.


Anne de la Forge contemporary art enameler has invited Mizanne, ceramist and I to share her beautiful studio on the occasion of the European Artistic Crafts Days. Since France recently entered its third lockdown, the open studios are held online. On this 2021 edition, the theme of these days is “materials at work”. How to live this experience online ?


In this post I am going to share some pictures of printing materials. I hope we will eventually meet and live and make the experience. Do not hesitate to comment and share your observations as well as asking questions !


The carving block : the linos and the woods...

For relief printing, the carving block is made of linoleum or wood. Nowadays there is a wider choice of materials, blocks made of synthetic but they are not my cup of tea… Lino was invented in England around 1870 by Frederick Walton. Floor covering, it was used for engraving at the beginning of the XXth century. This is a very natural material made of cork, linseed oil, gums and resins, compressed on jute fabric.


I tested different types of linos and my favourite one is the grey one. It is easy to carve and is flexible (at least when it is not too cold).


The wood I use is japanese plywood, very easy to carve. It is possible to carve solid wood, much harder.




Grey, brown white lino and Japanese plywood


The print media : the papers

There is an infinite variety of papers. They range from the finest to the thickest and they are to be selected according to the chosen projects and carving and printing techniques… Here are the papers I am using the most (at the moment):


  • the easiest to make cards, Unica by Fabriano white or cream, 250 g by square meter, perfectly opaque,

  • The most magic , both so fine and so strong, made of Kozo. THe one I use is made in Korea and only weighs 20g by square meter. It is a transparent veil which is virtually invisible if stuck on a canvas for example.

  • The most elegant, the white Tosa washi from Japan, translucent and with its thread showing through

  • The shiniest and the most fascinating, Tosa shi 54 grams by square meter, a par mètre carré, one rough side and one side coated and shiny, slightly transparent and soft…


I will show in a later post the blocks and papers used for dry point etching and hope you will follow me on this journey!




Fabriano Unica white and cream et crème ; Tosa shi (left) ; Kozo (right) - Tosa washi





More information on our digital programming during the European Artistic Crafts Days here. Today we propose you discover Anne’s craft, the art enameling on copper 2021 - https://youtu.be/YEGGAlismbk. Find Anne and Mizanne online :