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William H. Hays, Printmaker

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a linocut/woodcut/relief print?

First of all, I'll tell you what it is not! It is not a reproduction but an original work of art produced my hand in multiples as a limited edition.

After making a drawing, I transfer it to the surface of a block of wood or artist's linoleum. Then I carve away any part of the image I want to be white (white is the paper itself). I roll oil-based ink onto the surface of the carved block and lay a piece of paper on top of the inked surface. Then I apply pressure, either by rubbing with a hard object or (in my case) by putting it through an etching press. The ink is transferred to the paper and - voila! - a printed image.

What do you mean by a "limited edition?"

Because of the process I use (reduction printing) I have to decide how many prints I'm going to produce before I begin carving and printing. If I want to produce 100 prints, I will begin with about 10% extra (110) sheets of paper. This allows for mistakes which occur from time to time. I print all of the prints in an edition at once. Each time I print a new color, I destroy the block as it was for the previous color. I am unable to print more than the number I decided on at the beginning. Therefore, the edition is strictly limited to the number of prints I decided on at the beginning of the process.

How can your prints be original works of art if there is more than one?

An excellent question! My prints are created by hand. I try to make each print in the edition identical but that has proven not possible. There are always little variations from one print to the next in an edition due to my inability to recreate machine precision. Looking through an edition of prints, you will see that they are all the same image - but if you compare one print to another, each has unique qualities which are not too difficult to find. Each print is individual and unique in an edition.

What is a "reduction print?"

Reduction prints were developed in England in the early 20th century even though Picasso is frequently credited with this innovation decades later. It is simple and complicated at the same time. After drawing onto a wood or linoleum block, the artist carves away everything that they intend to be white. White is the paper. The first (and usually the lightest) color is printed for the entire edition. While that dries, the artist cleans the block and carves away (on the same block) everything that is to remain the color previously printed. Then the second color in printed on top of the first, and so on. This simple logic gets exceptionally complicated pretty quickly as one decides what should be carved to achieve the desired image. It is called a reduction print because one is continually reducing the amount of surface area (printing surface) by sequentially carving just one block multiple times. 

What is your shipping Policy?

When I receive your order, I usually ship your print(s) within 24 hours. It depends on where you live as to how long it takes to reach you. Once I've shipped a print, I will email you to let you know when you should expect to receive it along with tracking information.

What is your Policy on Returns/Exchanges/Refunds? 

I am confident you will be happy with your purchase. However, I know that seeing artwork in person can be different than seeing it online. If the piece is not what you wanted - for any reason -it can be returned within 14 days of receiving the order for a refund of purchase price. It must be undamaged and in the original packaging. Just email me with your order number and we'll work out the details.

In the event your art arrives flawed or damaged, it will be replaced at no additional cost to you.  I do my best to ensure that your prints are packaged carefully and arrive safely at their destination and have rarely received news of any damage. But sometimes damage can occur in shipping. If this happens please keep all packaging, take photos of the damage done to both packaging and artwork. Email me with the photos, details, and your order number, and I'll take care of return shipping (to me) costs and make sure you receive a replacement as soon as possible.

How can I keep up with your new work?

Easy! You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram - and you can sign up to receive my newsletter/blog posts.

What are your Privacy Policies?

Click here to take a look at our complete Privacy Policies.

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