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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Robin, Rubber Stamp Print

I've been thinking about making a Robin print for a long time and had a few requests for one.  After a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall I was inspired again to make one and more importantly finally got round to doing it.

The first time I visited the Eden Project I thought the bird song was a recording, but then found out that the cheeky little Robins had taken up residence in the bio-domes.

Again strange things started happening when I was photographing the print outside - there was a robin in a tree above me. Something similar happened when I photographed my Goldfinch print. I wonder how they know? ;-)

Robin Moleskine

Here are some photos of the stamp in progress. I did a drawing from a photograph I took at my parents house in Ireland. I did some tests with my inkpads to make sure I had the right colours. I ordered 3 different inkpads trying to get the rust/orange colour right and finally ended up using one I already had -  Memento Tangelo - but stamping it twice to get the depth of colour.

Original Drawing for Robin Print

Original Drawing and Photograh

First Cut, Robin Stamp

First Cut - outline

Robin Stamp, In progress

Almost finished - Experimenting with colouring pencils

Robin Stamp, Nearly Finished

Nearly there - testing inkpad colours

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pressure Printing, UWE, Bristol


This post is long overdue!  I did this course in July of this year, I posted the photos on Flickr and never got round to writing about it.

Here is a description from the UWE Website:

"Stratography or Pressure Printing is an innovative and experimental technique that uses a flexible plate attached to the cylinder of the press underneath the printing paper and is run through the press over an inked block. The pressure from the low-relief collage displaces the ink and produces beautiful, delicate, soft-edged qualities, not usually associated with relief printing techniques."

The course was led by the Lovely Angie Butler  seen in the above photo poised at the wonderful Vandercook Press. On the press is MDF with a piece of clear acrylic on top - this will be inked up. 


1. So first we inked the rollers.

Rollers Inked up Vandercook Press

2. Rollers inked up.


3. Then turn the handle to ink the block underneath.


4. Block inked up - the block is Type High.


5. Sheet of Acetate placed over the rollers of the press and inked up for registration.


6. Acetate Inked up


7. Registration


8. Registration marks on plate. 

In this case the plate is a piece of paper with some paper cut up to make a pattern. It looks really basic but the result is beautiful.


9. Putting the plate directly on to the rollers - using acetate for registration.

So the plate is placed directly on the rollers. The paper is then placed on top of this  - rolled over the ink block - picks up the ink from the block underneath and takes the impression from the plate.

If you look at picture 5 where the acetate is put on - the paper is placed in the same position - under the metal clips - and then you roll the press.


Finished Print

So here is my plate - surprise, surprise its a feather :-)


We weren't too sure how this would turn out because it had not been tried before. I attached it to the acetate with PVA which was little tricky.



Very pleased with the result. Angie was very surprised at the fine detail picked up by the feather. As always it was a really enjoyable course at UWE, great tutor with a lot of patience, extremely knowledgeable and excellent facilities. I would thoroughly recommend it.


One thing I really like about the process is - for every print you take the ink gets more and more faded. At the end you are left with an impression on the block of your image.


You can then remove the plate and take a print from the block alone which gives a lovely subtle affect - below.


2015 courses have not been all published yet but I suppose I will be back again like a bad penny. I've been going there since 2006 and have managed to do a course almost every year.  There is a running joke that they've run out of courses for me to do ;-)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Kodak Brownie 127

Kodak Brownie 127

This is my latest Camera! Got it for £2 at a car boot sale. This was the first camera I ever used when I was about 12 or so. Its made of Bakelite! I love it. Of great sentimental value.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Goldfinch, Rubber Stamp Print

Goldfinch Print

I've been making a new print. This one was in my head for a while. It was quite difficult to do, starting with an original drawing and trying to figure out how it will be cut and how I will print it.

Here is the rubber stamp ready to be cut.

And then finally cut and test print.

I've also printed it on to a Moleskine.

Goldfinch Moleskine

When I was photographing the print in the tree I could hear a Goldfinch singing away behind me. I haven't seen them on my feeder yet, but I hope the come soon.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Roni Gross, I See You Everywhere, Arnolfini, Bristol

Went to see this exhibition (curated by Nancy Campbell) today at the Arnolfini in Bristol with the Lovely Angie Butler

"I See You Everywhere showcases 25 years of Valentines published by the Artist Roni Gross under the imprint of Zitouna Press. These limited editions consider love and human relationships as they are articulated across society, from song lyrics to sign language, from hunting to horticulture........Gross made her first printied multiple celebrating Valentine's Day in 1989 and since then has used the annual festival to challenge the predicatble graphics and social constructs surrounding romance...."

Myself and Ms Butler had not met up for almost a year so it was nice to have a catch up and combine it with this exhibition. Beautiful letterpress work and gorgeous books.  Angie (being the expert!) was able to explain some of the techniques used.  

The exhibition runs until Sunday 2nd March. If you don't manage to catch it there will be a companion exhibition with works created for Halloween They Cast No Shadows (love the title) at the Centre for Fine Print Research (Bristol) in October. If you're a letterpress geek don't miss it!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Crow Friends

These are the crows I feed in the park. This pair are usually waiting for me and they make a racket in the trees when they see me walk past! I know its the same pair because the one on the right has 2 white tail feathers.  Ocasionally another crow tries to muscle in but they chase it off. I feed them meal worm which is nice and light to carry in my handbag :-) They fly down immediately after I put the food down and are getting cheekier all the time. One day after I fed them they flew after me and made a racket so I gave them a second helping.

I remember reading an article in the RSPB Membership magazine and it said that if you see two crows together they are usually a lifelong pair, if you see three its probably parents and their offspring (you usually notice that one of the crows is smaller and scruffier looking), more than three - are the crows who have not found a mate yet, non-breeding crows. So these two must be a lifelong pair.  I've noticed that they also take turns in acting as a look-out while one feeds.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Hope is the thing with feathers...

Just when I think I've read all the most beautiful Emily Dickinson poems I discover a new one. A nice wish for the New Year.  This is also makes me think about living life simply. Technology provides us with great tools and ever increasing ways of communicating but it doesn't always simplify things. Maybe its my age (!) but I am increasingly finding joy in the most basic things.  Walking to work taking photos of the clouds or feeding the crows in the park. It makes me so happy and sets me up for the day.  I feel like I want to slow down and not feel like I'm running around chasing my own tail - sounds like its definitely my age!

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


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