Alpaca prints…t-shirts

Artist, S.V. Medaris in brown alpaca tee, smiles in front of lines of prints: full-color Alpaca Sky prints and alpaca t-shirts, all drying.

‘Alpaca Sky’ • print size: 18in x 24in • reduction linocut

Our neighbors–Mindy and Linda of Galpaca Farm have the most beautiful, engaging, patient and fun models — Alpacas! All day, our view to the south is a pastoral scene of alpacas grazing on top of the next ridge.

Every year there is a Wisconsin Alpaca & Fiber Festival to which I donate some art for their silent auction of anything alpaca related (in years past this has always been Great Pyrenees prints, since Pyrs are common as Livestock Guardian Dogs on Alpaca farms, and our Pyr, Ivan is a great model for much of my artwork). For the first time this year I made a piece featuring an actual alpaca(!). I have lots of reference photos of the Galpaca herd, but this is the first time, going through the images that I saw one that screamed “make a print and a t-shirt of me!” And so…

Here are some of the steps in the reduction linocut (linoleum block) printmaking process…

first stages of alpaca linocut print by S.V. Medaris is a split run of yellow and blue

First pass of color is a split run. This involves inking up the roller with a gradation of blue at one end and yellow-orange at the other, pushing the roller back and forth over the partially carved block to ink it up (areas needing to remain the white of the paper were carved out before this first inking, ensuring those areas will remain white). Once the block is uniformly covered with the gradient color, I lay paper down on top of the inked block, then crank the whole thing through the etching press (with very light pressure). Repeat about 15 times–which will make at least 12 prints and probably some duds….

Then carve out wherever I want the print to stay that blue-to-orange color—mainly the sky—and ink up the roller to print the next color on the print:

ghostly image of alpaca head/neck slowly emerges from the print as more color is added. clouds in sky, alpaca face and alpaca silhouettes visible in background

3rd color (2nd pass of each print through the press) is a very transparent purple. It’s pretty saturated, but once the transparent color is laid over the blue and yellow, you can see that it’s not even purple anymore in the bottom half of the the print.

More carving (where I want the purplish layer to stay), and then a ghoulish green is added only to the lower right quadrant of the block (lower left of the print):

Alpaca Sky blockprint becomes more detailed with the additional layer of green ink.

A very bright, transparent green is added next, only to the lower left of the print–for the grass on ground and in the big alpaca girl’s mouth. Upon layering, the bright neon green turns to an earthy warm green color. Perfect!

full-color reduction linocut features head and neck of bicolor alpaca. More alpacas in distance, bright blue sky with puffy clouds

‘Alpaca Sky’ • reduction linocut • 24in x 18in

And finally, with the last session of carving leaving only the black, keyline image, this final (5th) color is printed:

With relief, I can see that the print turned out right. It’s always a bit of a guessing game (hope hope hope) that it’ll turn out correctly–ie-look close to the way I was imagining/hoping it would turn out. 12 of them turned out with good registration, etc., so the edition is officially 12.

After the last full-color print is done, I can print the t-shirts. I cut out the block around the edge of the big alpaca in the foreground, ink that up with Drive-By black ink, and print some shirts I have in stock, special for the Alpaca Fest the following weekend. If sales are good, I will print a limited edition (100 or less) of the shirts in one style/color…


T-shirts now available!

Sales at Alpaca & Fiber Festival were good, so I did a limited edition of Alpaca Sky tees in time for the Mount Horeb Spring Art Tour. Buy t-shirts at the Market Weight Press Shop!

8 thoughts on “Alpaca prints…t-shirts

  1. Good evening! I happened upon your art print and was wondering if you aare thinking of doing anymore transfers onto shirts. I’ve searched everywhere for a sweatshirt to give to my daughter for a Christmas gift. She is enamored by alpacas. No kidding! Please contact me and let me know if you are still printing shirts. Your artwork is beautiful. There is nothing else I have found that could even try to match it. Crossing my fingers! Take care and wishing you happy holidays. *Donna

  2. Impressive!

    Is the t-shirt hand-pressed or using the etching press also?

    Also, is the lino-block hand-carved, because it looks very neat?

    Great work, good luck.

    • Thanks! All t-shirts I print on my etching press–printed manually with the press, it’s not motorized or anything… Don’t know how else you’d carve a linoblock except for by hand? As far as I know that’s the only way to carve them–by hand. Thanks for the interest in the artwork.

    • Yes, very shortly! I will be adding the Alpaca tees to my Shopify Shop by early July, at latest. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll know when they’re available, as I will post it here first. I just finished the edition of 100 Alpaca shirts last month, and am just waiting until I finish work for upcoming exhibit install at end of this month. Thanks for your interest in the alpaca apparel! -sue

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