Hundreds of Stag Beetles
I've always liked Stag Beetles and interesting insects. I have a small collection of preserved bug specimens in with my cabinet of curiosities. I decided it would be interesting to make some small engravings based on a few of these specimens. I wanted to work from the exact specimens, flaws and all, and not make the engraved beetles look so perfect and sterile.
The completed blocks were printed using heavy pressure on a very thick 110lb cotton paper called Cranes Lettra. The results are these beautiful thick prints that almost have dimension from the impression.
Here is a picture of the "Stag Beetle" block on press during the printing session. The small piece of blue tape was used because the edge of this block was a little sharp and was making a crease line in the paper when printed due to the amount of pressure used. The tape was just enough to smooth out this edge and not leave a dent in the finished print.
This extra sheet helps make the block print evenly. In this block, for example, the beetle's legs were printing perfectly, nice and crisp without the ink filling in the lines, but the body of the beetle needed a bit more pressure to get a deeper impression and a darker print. So the section of the block where the body of the insect is under the paper gets this extra layer of paper to add more pressure.
All 4 insect blocks were printed in an edition of 100, so the whole shop was covered in 400 drying bug prints for a few days.
The "Rhinoceros Beetle" block cleaned off after its print run. Because these blocks were printed with such a tremendous amount of pressure, the entire area around the beetle had to be carved and sanded down to almost the bare wood of the block. Leaving any little bumps in that large section would make a bump or a dent in the paper while printing.
Need a drying rack that holds 70 cards or prints? For about $5? Take a Slinky, stretch it out over a piece of 2x4 and staple it down. TADA!!!!
I started this project in August and worked on engraving the blocks between other projects. We just printed and finished the editioning this past week, and they are available in our shop separately as well as in sets!