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Learnings from the Kitchen Litho Workshop

Kitchen Litho Workshop 23rd January 2018


Four of us spent the day exploring the technique of Kitchen Litho. With spray bottles full of coke and lots of water, wet sponges and sticky oil based Litho ink it’s a fun and a messy business !

We had successfully done a dry run of the technique but with more people doing it together we got our share of mishaps. Problems generally surfaced at the inking up stage where the image became lost under an immovable layer of ink!. Its been a good learning experience and we’ve been back in the studio today to iron out the issues that arose yesterday.  The main flaw seems to have been applying too much ink in one go and not using enough water on the plate and the sponge whilst wiping off excess ink. If the roller seems to have barely any ink on it as you apply it to the aluminium foil then that seems a good place to be starting from. Other issues include potential cross contamination of sponges used at different stages of the process and the fragility of the aluminium foil.

Most of the images that we worked on were using soft litho crayons. We also successfully used a children’s wax crayon to achieve finer lines. Overall what came out strongly was the suitability of this printing technique for rapid , gestural drawings.



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First Experiments with Kitchen Litho

Today we spent a couple of hours doing our first experiments with the Kitchen Litho technique. Its all well and good reading up accounts of how its done but nothing beats having a go. Blog posts that either elaborated on Emilie’s methods (sandpaper (!) and vinegar ?) , or reported failures, meant that we were beginning to approach our workshop day with a little trepidation. All this was quickly dispelled once we got our hands dirty.

The basic “kitchen” requirements include : Aluminium cooking foil, a glass chopping board, sponges, a bottle of Cola , plenty of kitchen paper and a handheld plastic spray bottle. These were supplemented in our experiments today with a thin sheet of plastic, a pack of Korns soft Lithographic crayons, oil based lithographic ink, an ink roller, blotting paper and a small etching press!

1 Wrap aluminium foil around a thin sheet of wet plastic, matt side out

Preparing aluminium foil for Kitchen Litho

2 Mark the aluminum foil with a Korns Litho Crayon ( Soft No. 1)

mark making with Litho crayon

3 Spray the aluminium foil plate with Cola

spraying aluminium foil with cola

4 Rinse off Cola with a wet sponge

rinsing off cola

5 Wipe dry with kitchen roll then pour on a little vegetable oil

6 Use the vegetable oil and a sponge  to wipe off the Litho Crayon

7 Wipe off oil with a damp sponge leaving a clean aluminium plate

8 Roll out the Litho ink on the glass chopping board

9 Use a clean sponge to wet the surface of the foil then roll on a thin layer of ink

10 Wipe off excess ink using a sponge

11 Repeat wetting, inking and wiping to leave a well inked plate

12 Place on press, register paper then cover with damp paper, dry newsprint, thin acrylic sheet then thick etching blanket

13 Pass through press with pressure similar to that which you might use for intaglio

14 Remove print and dry flat between blotting paper

15 return to stage 9 for subsequent prints

So the first attempt was successful but lots to learn and improve on. We had read that Litho crayon was the easiest mark making method and there are lots of alternatives to explore. The aluminium foil is also quite fragile so we would like to explore a source for a slightly thicker and stronger one.

with thanks to Emilie Aizier . Emilie’s website






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Kitchen Litho | A brief summary of resources

Kitchen lithography book

Kitchen Litho

Kitchen Litho was conceived by French Artist Emilie Aizier. It is a simplification of her earlier lithography experiments using sheet aluminium plates and phosphoric acid. Aluminium foil is much cheaper than using aluminium and carbonated soda drinks are, it turns out, a weak solution of phosphoric acid!

Emilie’s experiments and early web postings in 2011 and the publication of her book in 2012 have spawned a whole series of advocates and followers. Aside from notes in websites and blogs there are now also a number of You Tube videos demonstrating the technique. Most of these follow the process described by Emillie but some add additional steps. Some advocate the preparation of the aluminium foil surface with fine sandpaper however in the main the accounts achieve successful prints following Emillie’s method.

The original book by Emilie truly captures the spirit of Kitchen Litho and emphasises experimentation rather than providing a prescriptive methodology. This is after all the spirit from which the printing technique was born.

Recently there have been  two other publications on the technique published in 2016 and 2017. Paper-works* have yet to get our hands on these to review them.

In 2015 and 2016 Emilie Aizier promoted an annual open online competition and exhibition of works employing the kitchen litho method. This has now become a biennial event. The next submission date is the 31st December 2018 .More details are available from


“Kitchen Litho” by Emilie Aizier published 2012, 70 pages. Obtainable form Emilie’s website

“Aluminium Foil Lithography” , Spark Box Studio, by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping  published 2016 (?), 57 pages – downloadable pdf only.

‘Kitchen Lithography: Hand Printing at Home: From Buttons and Bags to Postcards and Pillowcases’ ,by Laura Sofie Hantke and  Lucas Grassmann, Princeton Architectural Press, published 2017, 120 pages.

Website and blog articles

Kitchen Litho by Emilie Aizier

Kitchen Litho by Printzeal

Aluminium Foil Etching by C S Poppenga

My attempt at Kitchen Lithography by  Lori Dean Dyment

Kitchen Lithography

Kitchen Litho by Barbara Hudin,


There is a group page on Facebook for those interested in the technique

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paper-works* | Completed Introduction to Linocut day course

Two people printmaking at a large table

 Completed “Introduction to Linocut ” day course.

January 6th 2018

An excelent enjoyable day was had in the studio. Three talented people attended our first introduction to linocut day course and were able to explore their latent handmade printing skills. We saw three very different approaches. New friends were made and new skills learned.

To join us on an upcoming course see available dates.


figure in purple working on a linocut at a work bench
Experimenting with mark making on our introduction to Linocut day course. January 2018
woman in orange apron drawing
Drawing out design directly onto lino. January 2018
Linocut being inked up with black ink
Inking up a linocut at our “Introduction to Linocut day course” January 2018
hand using a spoon to rub an image on paper.
Experimental print with tracing paper as a transfer medium using a spoon.
Figure operating a large printing press next to window
Printing linocut on the large Polymetaal roller press. January 2012
black and white mono print image
Mono print from lino with selective use of hand pressure applied with a spoon. January 2018
monochrome linocut hanging on drying line
Linocut print with selective inning and masking with torn strips of paper. January 2012
prints drying on table
Mount Cook and experimental mark making by attendee at linocut course. January 2018
prints drying on table
Mark making and Picasson inspired linocut by one of the attendees on our “Introduction to Linocut” course.


Join us on the next Course



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12 squares – Linocut mark making

Linocut mark making samples on drying line

Printing out Linocut samples

In preparation for our first linocut course we’ve been busy in the studio getting everything ready !

We have made some sample linocut plates each divided into 12 squares as a format to encourage the exploration of mark making in lino. We have prepared a couple of these ourselves and printed them out as examples.


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Linocut printing kit – make your own

Linocut Printing Kit

Essentials for your own linocut printing kit

Relief printing, particularly with lino, has the advantage that it is not essential to use the higher pressures that a mechanical press can apply hence you can make lino prints successfully with the minimum of materials and equipment. Here are our recommendations for the essentials for putting together a linocut printing kit.

We’ve priced our linocut printing kit up (December 2017) but if the exact price is important to you do check as prices may have changed. We’ve indicated potential suppliers names and websites . If you are ordering multiple items check which supplier has most of the items you want to avoid unnecessary delivery charges

Battleship grey lino

Battleship grey lino

Our favourite lino is the 3.2mm hessian backed battleship grey lino. It is available from art suppliers precut into handy sizes

A single 15cm x 10cm sheet costs £1.50 from Lawrence Art Supplies

Buying in bulk will reduce costs but be aware that lino will get harder and less easy to cut as it gets older. Lino can be softened by gently heating it with a hair drier before commencing to work on it.

Pfeil lino cut tools

Pfeil Linocut tools

There are a number of low cost suppliers of linocut tools but we would recommend going for some quality tools. The swiss made Pfeil tools definitely get the highest number of recommendations that we’ve come across. They are beautifully made and excellent to work with. They come in a very wide range of shapes and sizes, far too many to make it economical to ever think of buying the full set. Personally we find that a small V tool and a medium U tool are the two most useful ones . Your personal style will dictate which sizes are best for you. Our choice for staring out would be a 12/1 (v tool) and an 11/3 (U tool)

Pfeil 12/1 £17.30 from Jacksons
Pfeil 11/3 f£17.30 from Jacksons

Remember Pfeil tools are very sharp so take care and never cut towards you or your hand! Before you get excited and buy a wider range of pfeil tools remember to buy a sharpening stone so you can keep them all in peak condition.

Caligo Safewash relief ink

Caligo safe wash relief ink tube

Caligo safe wash ink gives excellent results and has the advantage that it is water washable. It is available in a wide range of colours but if you are sticking to just the essentials then get one. Nothing quite beats the simplicity of a black and white linocut print.

75ml Caligo safewash Relief ink black £5.75 ex VAT from Intaglio printmakers.

Fabriano unica paper

Pack of Fabriano unica paper

There are lots of great papers out there to try printing on . Currently we are enjoying using Fabriano Unica paper. It was specifically devised by the Italian Paper making company for a printing co-operative. It is a relatively low cost paper ( particularly in comparison with other Fabriano papers ) but we are enjoying the prints we are getting with it.

Fabrica Unica 50cm x70 cm 250g per sheet £0.72 ex VAT from Intaglio Printmaker

A spoon


A press is great for linocut printing but it isn’t essential . An old spoon is all you need. Place an additional protective sheet of paper over the back of your print and use the spoon to apply pressure evenly to the back of the print.

pair of stainless steel serving spoons £2.00 from Wilko

A glass kitchen cutting board

Glass worktop saver

We can’t think of a chopping board that we would less like to use for its intended purpose than a glass one, however ,they do make a very good surface to roll out ink on and cleaning up afterwards is simplicity itself. We bought ours from the homewares section in the local supermarket. If yours like ours has a stipple effect on one side just turn it over and use the smooth side.

Glass choppingboard/ worktop protector £4.99 from The range

Ink Roller

Ink roller

We use Speedball rollers. They are quite soft so they feel smooth and responsive to use . If your designs have very fine detail you may want to add a harder roller to your armoury but the speedball is a good place to start .

Speedball 100mm roller £10.50 ex VAT from Intaglio printmakers.

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil in bottle

For cleaning up your roller , your lino cut and the glass chopping board just get yourself some of the cheapest vegetable oil on the supermarket shelves. dribble sparingly onto the inky surfaces to loosen and dilute the oil based ink so that you can efficiently wipe it clean with a combination of newspaper and paper kitchen roll

1 litre KTC pure sunflower oil £1 from Morrisons supermarket


Tracing paper

Tracing Paper

A pad of tracing paper is great for transferring an initial sketch design onto the lino. The act of turning over the tracing paper before rubbing over it with a pencil ensures that the image on the lino is reversed allowing your print to be the same way round as your original drawing. Particularly useful if you incorporate any text into your design!

30 sheets A4 tracing paper £2.00 from Wilko supermarket

Masking tape

Linocut kit component, Masking tape

We find we always have a roll of masking tape handy for everything from holding down artwork and tracing paper to setting up registration marks so that you can align your paper neatly over your lino when you are printing

3/4 inch masking tape £0.85p from Jacksons


Linocut Printing Kit Grand Total

The grand total is £63.91! It may not be the cheapest Linocut printing kit you could get but you may have some of the items already and you wont have compromised on quality where it counts.


Paper-works* holds regular introductory day courses for linocut printing .

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Marios Cafe Exhibition – Dec 2017 to Jan 2018

Marios Cafe Exhibition

Marios Cafe Exhibition , Narrative & Form Exhibition Dec 2017 to Jan 2018

The Marios Cafe Exhibition “Narrative & Form” is a project by Lisa Hurcum and Hugh Davies. Working in different ways in the same studio this exhibition focuses on the principal ideas that informs each of their separate practice.


Narrative comprises six linocut works by Lisa Hurcum :

Jugs, Remembering, The Blossoming, After the party, Man on train and Eileen.

Each piece has evolved out of a series of short stories written by Lisa. These stories are reproduced in full alongside the images in the paper=works* booklet accompanying the exhibition. The stories and the linocuts capture the small details of peoples lives that resonate with the narratives that we all share.


Form comprises of six studies in a mixture of Linocut and Drypoint by Hugh Davies

Net study 1, 2 and 3 Drypoint and Net study 4, 5 and 6, Linocut

The studies are of a small boat dragged up onto the beach for winter. It has been upturned and protected with black plastic sheeting held tight to the hull with an old net stretched and lashed in place. The prints explore how lines, either scribed in a drypoint plate or gouged out of lino, capture this form on paper.

Exhibition Dates and Times

The Marios Cafe Exhibition is on the walls until the end of Saturday 27th January. Pop in between 8am and 4pm Monday to Saturday . Mario will however be closed between Christmas and New Year.

View and purchase all the exhibited prints, accompanying booklet and sets of postcards in our online gallery

Find out more about Marios Cafe and its history at


Paper-works is an artist led printmaking studio in Lowestoft, Suffolk. We provide  courses and workshops in printmaking. To find out more please see our website.



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Marios Cafe, Camden, London

Chair and table in Marios cafe host of Narrative and Form exhibition

Marios Cafe , Camden , London

Marios Cafe is special.  Ive been going there for a quick coffee, a restorative full English breakfast or a Parmigiana chips and salad for over 20 years. Wether as a morning regular, or an occasional visitor you always get a warm welcome from Mario. The small cafe with its eclectic mix of vintage chairs , and tables dressed with ubiquitous sauce bottles is often filled with the clatter of cutlery and easy conversation (often about music). It is a great place to be.

The walls of the cafe are hung with work by a different artist each month. Booked up for months in advance the works are hugely varied in style and scale. On the walls Ive seen everything from a full size cardboard cut-out of a 1970’s Volvo Amazon to exquisite drawings from a small sketchbook and large vibrant abstract canvases to beautiful framed black and white photographs.

Ive long harboured two ambitions about Marios . Working in Mario’s kitchen was one of them ! (which I finally got to do a couple of years ago). The other has been to have my work on the walls . Back in June I had been updating Mario about the printmaking studio project and he suggested a time slot for Lisa and I to have an exhibition in December.  Of course I said yes,  especially from the comforting distance of many months.

November 2017

Were now in November. The last few months have been filled with assorts of different projects, setting up and equipping the print studio amongst them. Finally we have been able to focus on producing some work! We are using the big new press in ernest for the first time. Working on imperial paper size is a bit of a step up in scale which brings with it a few challenges from the increased time required to work on the larger plates to the handling and registering of the paper.

With at least 12 large prints the issue ( and cost)  of how to protect the prints on the walls has finally been resolved in favour of clip frames. We’ve cleaned out the local discount store of the size were after ( 20″ by 26″ ) so the hunt for more is still on!. So far we’ve both produced 3 pieces of work and now working on our fourth , still at least two more each to produce!

Read about the exhibition at Marios Cafe



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Building the printmaking studio at paper-works*

Image of the empty printmaking studio

Printmaking Studio in progress !

Over the last few months we have been busy building the printmaking studio. Getting it ready to be able to start doing relief and Intaglio printing.  Out with the carpet and lampshades. Walls have been stripped and painted. Floorboards repaired and strengthened. Pin board has been fixed to the walls and worktables , stools , plan chests and  storage cupboards have been put in place.

View towards the window in the printmaking studio

Friends (and tree surgeons ! ) have come to our aid in man handling the two Polymetaal presses into place and we can now begin work in ernest in the studio itself.

Large press in the printmaking studio

Its brilliant to be able to start doing some printmaking! Especially with an exhibition deadline coming up! The exhibition at Marios Cafe starts in early December!

Read here for up to date news on the studio