Frequently Asked Questions
What is relief printing?
Relief printmaking is a form of art dating back over two thousand years. It is the most ancient method of taking an impression from one object and putting it on another. It is essentially a stamp! The raised image area picks up ink when rolled on with a brayer. The raised, inky image is then put under pressure to transfer that image onto paper or textiles. Today, this method has revived and become more developed and refined in its popular growth.
What materials do you use?
Blocks: Blick unmounted linoleum blocks (battleship gray). I buy these by sheets or by the roll from Dick Blick Art Supply. They are hard but can be warmed up to carve easier. If you are a beginner, Speedball makes a rubber block that is pink and easy to get the hang of the carving process.
Paper: Mostly, I use Legion Stonehenge paper. Stonehenge is a traditional fine art paper with a smooth, flawless surface. It is machine-made in the United States, from 100% cotton fibers. It's acid-free. Sometimes I use Bordeaux Lotka. These Lokta papers are made from sustainably harvested Daphne bushes. All Loktas are handmade and dried in the sun, causing one side to be lighter than the other. Each sheet is unique in its color, the deckling of its edges, and thickness. These sheets are handmade, therefore, vary in color and thickness.
Textiles: Tea towels are natural, unbleached, and size 18x22. They are 100% cotton, pre-washed, and lint free. Made in the USA from Indian Fabric. Medium Weight. I buy through the website Cotton Creations. Shirts sold through Press Relief will always vary. However, when an item is posted for sale, the details of the shirt fabric will be listed. This variation is due to the fact that Press Relief does not purchase blank shirts wholesale to print on. With limited space in a home studio, we buy shirts from popular brands such as Target & Old Navy. Bandanas are 22x22 made with 100% cotton.
Ink: I use Hanco oil based etching ink for all linocut prints on paper. For fabric ink, I use Speedball Fabric block printing ink or Gamblin oil based textile ink (only comes in black).
Carving Tools: Flexcut. In my 8+ years as a printmaking artist, I have never steered from Flexcut! The tools cut like butter on linoleum and can be used for woodblocks as well. Highly recommend! They even offer beginner sets that come with bandaids :)
What is that thing you use to press your prints?
I have a Conrad Etching Press. The bed of the press is 18x36, so comfortably the largest image area it can print is around 17x30. The press serves as a high-pressure printer. I lay the inked carving on the steel bed of the press (ink side up), put paper on top of the inked carving, then hand crank the bed through the steel roller where the pressure forces the paper into contact with the ink, transferring the image. Embossment from the pressure of the roller can be felt on the back of an original block print. This process can be repeated many times to print multiples; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the carving shows much sign of wear.
Are the prints you sell digitally printed?
No. Currently, everything sold by Press Relief or signed by Masy Chighizola is an original work of art. The beauty of printmaking is that this process allows you to reprint the same image simply by reinking the carving and cranking it through the etching press again. To the modern reader, the word print might suggest mechanically mass-produced commercial products, such as books, newspapers, and textiles. However, the print refers to the original creation of an artist who, instead of the paintbrush and canvas, used pressure to transfer the image onto the paper.
Do you take custom orders?
I might! Please email me about custom orders at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will take these kinds of projects on a case by case basis and if time permits the work. I am always open to hearing ideas, so please shoot me an email with your thoughts.
See ‘More Info’ section for details.