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STONECUT

Stonecut is an elegant process and Cape Dorset printmakers have refined it to a fine art. The first step is tracing the original drawing and applying it to the smooth surface of the prepared stone. Using india ink, the stonecutter delineates the drawing on the stone and then cuts away the areas that are not to appear in print, leaving the uncut areas raised, or in relief. The raised area is inked using rollers and then a thin sheet of paper - usually fine, handmade Japanese paper - is placed over the inked surface. A protective sheet of tissue is placed over this sheet, and the paper is pressed gently against the stone by hand with a small, padded disc. Only one print can be pulled from each inking of the stone, so the edition takes time and patience and care.


PRINT DRAWING

Left: The original drawing for EVENING SHORE by Ningeokuluk Teevee Right: The Stonecut print of EVENING SHORE printed by Qavavau Manumie

Left: The original drawing for HANDSTAND by Shuvinai Ashoona Right: The stonecut print of HANDSTAND printed by Qiatsuq Niviaqsi


STONE CUTTING

Lukta Qiatsuq 1962 cutting the stone block for THE ARRIVAL OF THE SUN by Kenojuak Ashevak


INKING THE STONE

Qavavau Manumie inking Kenojuak Ashevak's Six-Part Harmony 2011 © William Ritchie


RUBBING THE PRINT

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Qavavau Manumie rubbing the paper of Kenojuak Ashevak's Owl's Consort 2012 © William Ritchie


PULLING THE PRINT

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Qavavau Manumie pulling the print fro Kenojuak Ashevak's Owl's Consort 2012 © William Ritchie


CHOPS

Over the past 55 years printers have had to make their own chops to indicate that they printed a particular print. The chop was cut from linoleum often from the floor tiles in the studios. The cut tile is then attached to a piece of wood so the printer can orient the chop properly on the printed impression. In the early days (up to and sometimes including 1974*) artists chops were used instead of their signatures. I assume that the printers themselves would carve the artists chops for the artists because of their abilities with sharp delicate operations. Some artists like Kananginak certainly had the ability to cut his own chops but this is conjecture.

- William Ritchie Studio Manager Kinngait Studios


ESKIMO ARTIST: KENOJUAK

The National Film Board

John Feeney, 1963

This documentary shows how an Inuit artist's drawings are transferred to stone, printed and sold. Kenojuak Ashevak became the first woman involved with the printmaking co-operative in Cape Dorset. This film was nominated for the 1963 Documentary Short Subject Oscar®.