Alison Boyd Artist

a life creative

A gift of lino

When my dear friend Ree started her own childcare centre back in 2012, she gifted me with a whole wealth of art supplies she’d discovered at the back of a cupboard in a building she was about to renovate.

Among the supplies were a clutch of ancient cutters, rollers, block inks and lino blocks.
Sorting through them was a delight; some of the blocks hadn’t been stored well over the decades and with the extremes of heat and cold they had become crumbly and unusable for printing, although they’d preserved what lay between them. The block inks, too, had begun to separate and solidify into plastic lumps in their jars but some of it I was able to reconstitute them (the aroma was…interesting…), and I finally scraped out the last of them this past November, here in Italy.

Eight remain of the well-preserved lino blocks that I brought across the world with me. They’re at least 20 years old, if not older. All my cards, dream journal covers, some of my jewellery and print editions I’ve made since 2012 have been done so using these ancient blocks.
I can only make a short series of editions of each print before the block breaks down, and when a block can no longer be used for printing, I recycle it into the feathers on the wings of my larger artworks in relief, or else I re-refine the lines and paint over the plate, seal it, and it becomes its own artwork.

What makes this gift story interesting are the series of connections and ley lines that run through it: my best friend found them in a cupboard in the old building that had been part of a Rudolf Steiner school. The school had long since passed hands, closed down, reincarnated into something else, but during the time it was a school, my father taught in that very building and my mother worked in the school office in the 90s. Before that, my sister and I had attended in the late 80s and early 90s. These squares of lino are quite possibly part of the very store that was present when I attended and learned how to cut my very first relief print.
I couldn’t NOT bring them with me to Europe.

The blocks themselves are so dear to me because their story that butts up against my first dive down the rabbit hole universe of creativity, beyond drawing, sculpture and painting. They continue to connect me across time and geography to the people I love, and to my young self.

Thank you for that gift, Ree xx

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