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What is a Linocut Jigsaw Print

A linocut jigsaw print is a unique type of printmaking where an image is carved onto a linoleum block, and the block is then cut into separate pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. This technique allows you to create an image that can be assembled and disassembled, adding an interactive and tactile element to the artwork.

Jigsaw linocut print and lino pieces - Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk
Jigsaw Linocut print and carved linoleum, 'Rendlesham Forest', 2023 C Staunton

Creating a linocut jigsaw print requires careful planning and execution, as well as precision when carving the linoleum block to ensure that the puzzle pieces fit together accurately. The final artwork offers a unique blend of printmaking and interactive art, allowing viewers to physically engage with the image by arranging and rearranging the puzzle pieces.

Waves jigsaw linocut print
'Swishy, swashy', 2023. Jigsaw linocut of 8 pieces

A jigsaw linocut allows you to experiment more than traditional linocut printing because it introduces an element of interactivity and transformation to the traditional printmaking process. This way of printing allows you to consider the concept of your artwork in a more dynamic and evolving manner. The idea that the artwork can change with each arrangement of the puzzle pieces opens up new creative avenues for exploring themes and narratives.

Evolution of jigsaw  linocut prints
Ice cream cone jigsaw print created by student of Barnet Guild of Artists at 2023 workshop.

Creating jigsaw prints becomes smoother with the use of softcut lino, allowing for effortless fitting of pieces together. To grasp the technique, practice on cardboard packaging first. This reveals the ease of scoring and the knife's control. When content with your design, employ a sharpie (avoid blue or black) to sketch onto the lino.

Prioritize cutting all sections you intend to before dividing the lino. Softcut lino's edges can pose challenges, so retain the plate as a single unit until all necessary cuts are accomplished. A test print is advisable now to gauge progress.

Once you're content with your cutting, proceed to carve up your plate. For those new to the process, it's advisable to begin with no more than 5 pieces for optimal results.

Now the fun starts.

The captivating versatility of the jigsaw technique offers a realm of possibilities for experimenting with colors and inking techniques. Employing blended or rainbow rolls on distinct pieces introduces an enhanced sense of depth, empowering you to explore a spectrum of captivating colour combinations.

Combining jigsaw printmaking techniques with reduction or multi-block methods elevates the final artwork by infusing it with enhanced depth and captivating intrigue.

Enjoy! Jigsaw lino provides the perfect excuse to get super inky!

Here are some examples of jigsaw prints taken from students at workshops I've run for the Barnet Guild of Artists.

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