A Suite of New Greeting Cards

Bluebells inspired one of the cards.

Bluebells inspired one of the cards.

These irises inspired another image to which I added a finch!

These irises inspired another image to which I added a finch!

Finch and bud carved and proofed.

Finch and bud carved and proofed.

Image and text…a birhday card completed!

Image and text…a birhday card completed!

A sweet little edition!

A sweet little edition!

I love this picture of my vandercook. Printing the edition of thank you cards is underway!

I love this picture of my vandercook. Printing the edition of thank you cards is underway!

It was so satisfying fitting the text in between the two flowers!

It was so satisfying fitting the text in between the two flowers!

Printing these cards was a rewarding way to celebrate Spring. I can’t wait to see what happens when Summer is ‘in full bloom’!

I recently completed a trio of greeting cards using images inspired by my gardens. Here is a look at the process and results.

Carving the block - this will become a thank you card.

Carving the block - this will become a thank you card.

Carved and proofed; now ready for printing on the letterpress.

Carved and proofed; now ready for printing on the letterpress.

Carving the finch and the iris bud.

Carving the finch and the iris bud.

I designed and printed a third card based on the beautiful tulips in our gardens (see earlier blog post). The sketch has been transferred to the block and carving is underway. This worked perfectly for a birthday card.

I designed and printed a third card based on the beautiful tulips in our gardens (see earlier blog post). The sketch has been transferred to the block and carving is underway. This worked perfectly for a birthday card.

Printing the bluebells.

Printing the bluebells.

The little finch says ‘hello’!

The little finch says ‘hello’!

The Making of a Greek Coptic

I had printed patterns using relief blocks onto an old quilt square. I added bits of embroidery and then backed the fabric using paste and kozo paper (a Japanese technique called Urauchi). I will use this on the covers. I added a recessed area to the front cover, after cutting Davey board to the desired size.

I had printed patterns using relief blocks onto an old quilt square. I added bits of embroidery and then backed the fabric using paste and kozo paper (a Japanese technique called Urauchi). I will use this on the covers. I added a recessed area to the front cover, after cutting Davey board to the desired size.

The interior sections have been folded and cut to size. I used a navy blue French paper and black Ingres paper for end pages and Mohawk superfine for the text pages. The Greek Coptic structure enables a thick book. This particular book has twenty sections. The jig shows the pattern of the sewing stations. The colors of the waxed linen threads work well with the fabric colors.

The interior sections have been folded and cut to size. I used a navy blue French paper and black Ingres paper for end pages and Mohawk superfine for the text pages. The Greek Coptic structure enables a thick book. This particular book has twenty sections. The jig shows the pattern of the sewing stations. The colors of the waxed linen threads work well with the fabric colors.

Sewing.

Sewing.

What a beautiful form the opened Greek Coptic is!

What a beautiful form the opened Greek Coptic is!

I also bound a couple of miniature Greek Coptic books using backed quilt squares. Here are some images of them.

I added closures using waxed linen threads and vintage buttons.

I added closures using waxed linen threads and vintage buttons.

I added a bit of the fabric to the inner front covers, an element of surprise when opening and handling the books.

I added a bit of the fabric to the inner front covers, an element of surprise when opening and handling the books.

I learned how to bind a Greek Coptic book a couple of years ago. It is a beautiful book structure; which I hope to teach in the future. I recently revisited the structure to practice and hone my skills.

The cover boards are now covered with the backed quilt square. The patterns and lines of the cloth, the printed patterns, and the embroidery came together nicely. I pasted a black piece of Ingres paper into the recessed area and then added a piece of the backed cloth. I was pleased with how this added yet another element to the front cover.

The cover boards are now covered with the backed quilt square. The patterns and lines of the cloth, the printed patterns, and the embroidery came together nicely. I pasted a black piece of Ingres paper into the recessed area and then added a piece of the backed cloth. I was pleased with how this added yet another element to the front cover.

The sewing stations have been punched with an awl into the interior sections. The book is now ready for sewing!

The sewing stations have been punched with an awl into the interior sections. The book is now ready for sewing!

Each half has been sewn using a chain formed by locking the loop stitch. The two halves will be joined by alternately linking the top and bottom threads (similar to braiding).

Each half has been sewn using a chain formed by locking the loop stitch. The two halves will be joined by alternately linking the top and bottom threads (similar to braiding).

All sewn up….the contrasting colors of the waxed linen threads show up nicely on the navy and black end pages.

All sewn up….the contrasting colors of the waxed linen threads show up nicely on the navy and black end pages.

Another view of the spine.

Another view of the spine.

‘Slinky’ like when opened.

‘Slinky’ like when opened.

Completing these books was a great way to relearn this structure. I hope the opportunity to teach the Greek Coptic arises!

A Walk in the Garden

Narcissus.

Narcissus.

Lone tulip; such beautiful colors.

Lone tulip; such beautiful colors.

Columbine…they are everywhere in the garden!

Columbine…they are everywhere in the garden!

Henry’s Garnet; this bush is such a treat. It has these lovely delicate blooms in the Spring. The leaves turn a beautiful shade of red in the Fall (thus the name).

Henry’s Garnet; this bush is such a treat. It has these lovely delicate blooms in the Spring. The leaves turn a beautiful shade of red in the Fall (thus the name).

My gardens are a source of inspiration for my prints, books, and cards. Here are some pictures. Spring has indeed arrived!

Tulips.

Tulips.

Columbine.

Columbine.

Iris.

Iris.

There is so much more to see. Color, texture, pattern, and shape - inspiration from nature.

Creating a Lidded Box

Davey board is cut into the various components. I assembled the trays using PVA. The flat pieces will be covered with papers and joined together to make the lids.

Davey board is cut into the various components. I assembled the trays using PVA. The flat pieces will be covered with papers and joined together to make the lids.

I used the same paper on the lid. Notice the recessed area I cut on the small Davey board component. I will place a patterned paper into this area as a way to embellish the lid.

I used the same paper on the lid. Notice the recessed area I cut on the small Davey board component. I will place a patterned paper into this area as a way to embellish the lid.

The components are covered and joined together. I cut the bird images from a Cavallini paper. I thought they added a wonderful decorative element to the finished boxes!  Handmade boxes make great gifts and are so nice to use. This particular size is often purchased for use as a jewelry box.

The components are covered and joined together. I cut the bird images from a Cavallini paper. I thought they added a wonderful decorative element to the finished boxes!

Handmade boxes make great gifts and are so nice to use. This particular size is often purchased for use as a jewelry box.

Several years ago I took a box building class at the Penland School of Crafts with Julie Leonard; book artist extraordinaire. It was a great class as well as being a remarkable experience. I have continued to design and build boxes since the class. As a result, I can now build hinged and lidded boxes without instructions! There is truth in the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ (though I am not sure my boxes are perfect)! I recently built several boxes. Take a look at some of the steps in building lidded boxes.

Here, the trays are being wrapped and covered with a patterned Nepalese paper.

Here, the trays are being wrapped and covered with a patterned Nepalese paper.

I used a pressure printed French paper to cover the upper layer component. I printed this paper on my Vandercook SP 15. I liked how these larger circle designs worked with the dotted Nepalese paper. Note how the recessed area looks before I added the embellishment.

I used a pressure printed French paper to cover the upper layer component. I printed this paper on my Vandercook SP 15. I liked how these larger circle designs worked with the dotted Nepalese paper. Note how the recessed area looks before I added the embellishment.

A Panoply of Pamphlets

I am about to pull a print from the gelli plate. Paints, brushes, and various found objects…pressed leaves, buttons, lino blocks and so much more can be used to provide imagery in this mono printing process.

I am about to pull a print from the gelli plate. Paints, brushes, and various found objects…pressed leaves, buttons, lino blocks and so much more can be used to provide imagery in this mono printing process.

More found objects.

More found objects.

This is one of my favorite prints. Most of the paint had been removed from the plate (when printing previous prints). Consequently, this print resulted in pale purples and grays. I printed the purple butterfly directly onto the printed iris leaf.

This is one of my favorite prints. Most of the paint had been removed from the plate (when printing previous prints). Consequently, this print resulted in pale purples and grays. I printed the purple butterfly directly onto the printed iris leaf.

Prints and more prints!

Prints and more prints!

Sewing up the bird print using the Coil Spring binding pattern.

Sewing up the bird print using the Coil Spring binding pattern.

I will be teaching a pamphlet binding and gel printing workshop in March. Since I had not worked with this type of mono printing in a while; I decided to re-visit the technique. I completed a small series of prints, which I then used as covers for several pamphlet journals. It was loads of fun and I am excited to share these processes with my students during the upcoming workshop!

I use a brayer to spread the various colored paints (acrylic) onto the gelli plate. Here I put a bit too much paint on the plate. So, I simply rolled it onto a sheet of plexiglass until I removed enough from the gelli plate to get the desired consistency.

I use a brayer to spread the various colored paints (acrylic) onto the gelli plate. Here I put a bit too much paint on the plate. So, I simply rolled it onto a sheet of plexiglass until I removed enough from the gelli plate to get the desired consistency.

I used a cool color palette - purples, blues, and greens with a bit of black and gray. Here are several of the finished prints.

Notice how the butterfly image is the color of the paper. This happened because I pressed the relief block onto the pink and purple paints (removing them from the plate). Therefore the image printed the color of the paper when I pulled the print. I used a cover weight French paper.

Notice how the butterfly image is the color of the paper. This happened because I pressed the relief block onto the pink and purple paints (removing them from the plate). Therefore the image printed the color of the paper when I pulled the print. I used a cover weight French paper.

I built up layers of patterned blues and blacks onto the gelli plate. Then before pulling the final print I pressed this bird relief block onto the black paint. I love the ghost-like quality of the image.

I built up layers of patterned blues and blacks onto the gelli plate. Then before pulling the final print I pressed this bird relief block onto the black paint. I love the ghost-like quality of the image.

I let the prints dry and used several of them as covers for three section pamphlet journals. I was most pleased with the finished books.

Sewing, using the Triple Chain binding.

Sewing, using the Triple Chain binding.

I am delighted with the completed panoply of pamphlets!

I am delighted with the completed panoply of pamphlets!

Beautiful prints resulted in beautiful pamphlet journals!

Beautiful prints resulted in beautiful pamphlet journals!

Diminutive Journals

Materials are selected and prepared for sewing. The holes in the leather and sewing stations in the textblocks must be added.

Materials are selected and prepared for sewing. The holes in the leather and sewing stations in the textblocks must be added.

The blue leather journal came together nicely.

The blue leather journal came together nicely.

Completed brown leather journal.

Completed brown leather journal.

Sometimes the materials dictate the size. I had some lovely small pieces of leather. Consequently, I made a couple of small longstitch journals. Working small isn’t any easier. The same preparations and steps must be followed.

Sewing.

Sewing.

Opened journal - I was able to use some pressure printed Mohawk Superfine for the book’s end pages. The printed images added another element to the interior.

Opened journal - I was able to use some pressure printed Mohawk Superfine for the book’s end pages. The printed images added another element to the interior.

Sewn diminutive journals - special books for creative thoughts, words, and deeds!

Sewn diminutive journals - special books for creative thoughts, words, and deeds!

Leather Longstitch Journals

I completed some leather longstitch bindings prior to the holidays. I enjoyed spending time combining the materials of leather (recycled upholstery leather), paper, and waxed linen thread into blank journals. I had been printing quite a number of projects. Sewing in my book studio was a nice change.

A lot goes into making a book, regardless of the type or complexity. One must be able to handle the materials while considering elements of design such as color, texture, and form. Making books is both fun and challenging; and most rewarding when the final piece is lovely to look at while inviting touching, handling, and use.

Prepared text blocks with leathers, threads, and spine designs. The designs will be a decorative element on the sewn spines of the books. They are also the sewing pattern for the books. I will use the Japanese Drill Punch for punching holes into the leather and the awl to place holes (sewing stations) in the paper sections.

Prepared text blocks with leathers, threads, and spine designs. The designs will be a decorative element on the sewn spines of the books. They are also the sewing pattern for the books. I will use the Japanese Drill Punch for punching holes into the leather and the awl to place holes (sewing stations) in the paper sections.

Sewing book cover and textblock together.

Sewing book cover and textblock together.

Completed books with covers and closures using vintage buttons.

Completed books with covers and closures using vintage buttons.

Other books coming together. The materials have been selected, now to punch holes into the leather and sewing stations into the paper sections.

Other books coming together. The materials have been selected, now to punch holes into the leather and sewing stations into the paper sections.

I kept the natural edge of this piece of  leather and used it on the book cover. Here I am figuring out and sewing the closure of the book.

I kept the natural edge of this piece of leather and used it on the book cover. Here I am figuring out and sewing the closure of the book.

Completed books.

Completed books.

Sewn spines.

Sewn spines.

A Tribute to Mary Oliver

The ‘fruits of our labor’; ripening blueberries. This provided the visual imagery for the card.

The ‘fruits of our labor’; ripening blueberries. This provided the visual imagery for the card.

Proofing the block before printing cards. I was satisfied with the image. However, I needed to do a bit of carving to clean up the background. Proofing was  a valuable step. It saved time once I began printing on my letterpress.

Proofing the block before printing cards. I was satisfied with the image. However, I needed to do a bit of carving to clean up the background. Proofing was a valuable step. It saved time once I began printing on my letterpress.

I am now printing the quote which I set in 18 point New Times Roman metal type. I was particularly satisfied with how the text and the image came together within the horizontal orientation.

I am now printing the quote which I set in 18 point New Times Roman metal type. I was particularly satisfied with how the text and the image came together within the horizontal orientation.

I have been inspired by the poetry of Mary Oliver for many years. Her recent death prompted me to design and print a card using a quote from her writings. I sketched a blueberry sprig, which I photographed last summer in our garden. I carved a small relief block using the sketch. I then set the quote in 18 pt New Times Roman metal type. Finally, I brought the components together and printed the card. I am delighted with this tribute. Rest in peace, Mary Oliver.

Carving the relief block. Notice the sketch, which I traced. I then transferred the image onto the block from the tracing paper image. Yes, my process is very ‘old school’!

Carving the relief block. Notice the sketch, which I traced. I then transferred the image onto the block from the tracing paper image. Yes, my process is very ‘old school’!

The relief block is set up on the Vandercook and printing is underway! I printed this card on chip board. This is an inexpensive paper and I like the weight, tone, and texture for cards.  I chose to print using a blue mixed from  reflex blue  and  black  ink, with a bit of  trans-base .

The relief block is set up on the Vandercook and printing is underway! I printed this card on chip board. This is an inexpensive paper and I like the weight, tone, and texture for cards.

I chose to print using a blue mixed from reflex blue and black ink, with a bit of trans-base.

Card edition is finished; scoring, folding, and packaging are underway.

Card edition is finished; scoring, folding, and packaging are underway.

Thank you Mary Oliver for your inspiration.

Thank you Mary Oliver for your inspiration.

My 2018 Holiday Card - The Titmouse in the Dogwood

Each year I design and create a holiday greeting card to send to friends and family. I chose to print the Titmouse in the Dogwood using red ink on chip board paper for this year’s card. It was a ‘labor of love’; since the titmouse is one of my favorite birds. Here is a look at this project.

The relief block is locked into place and printing is underway! I printed fifty cards this year and used every one of them. I enjoy sending and receiving ‘snail mail’; particularly when handmade.

The relief block is locked into place and printing is underway! I printed fifty cards this year and used every one of them. I enjoy sending and receiving ‘snail mail’; particularly when handmade.

A pencil drawing is transformed into a printed card.

A pencil drawing is transformed into a printed card.

Printing the interior message using 24 pt Garamond metal type.

Printing the interior message using 24 pt Garamond metal type.

A New Flock of Birds

After completing the sketches, I transferred the images to the blocks, and then carved them. Once the carving was complered, I proofed each image prior to printing on my Vandercook SP 15.

After completing the sketches, I transferred the images to the blocks, and then carved them. Once the carving was complered, I proofed each image prior to printing on my Vandercook SP 15.

This is a proof of the titmouse in the dogwood. I chose this image for my holiday card which I will share in a later blog post. Though I was pleased with all of the proofs; each one needed a bit of ‘cleaning up' in the background to eliminate the unwanted black lines.

This is a proof of the titmouse in the dogwood. I chose this image for my holiday card which I will share in a later blog post. Though I was pleased with all of the proofs; each one needed a bit of ‘cleaning up' in the background to eliminate the unwanted black lines.

I always love setting blocks up on the Vandercook and printing them. True, sometimes problems do arise. I decided to not use plain black for these cards. I combined  Reflex Blue  with  Black  and was very pleased with the subtle change in the color.

I always love setting blocks up on the Vandercook and printing them. True, sometimes problems do arise. I decided to not use plain black for these cards. I combined Reflex Blue with Black and was very pleased with the subtle change in the color.

I gain inspiration from my gardens. The movements, colors, textures, and habits of the creatures and botanicals intrigue me. I recently carved a new set of relief blocks of birds. I chose four of my favorite birds - the titmouse, wren, chickadee, and robin. Here is a look at the various stages of this project.

A proof of the carved wren in the beauty berry bush.

A proof of the carved wren in the beauty berry bush.

When all four birds were carved and proofed; I decided to print a group of blank greeting cards on chip board.

When all four birds were carved and proofed; I decided to print a group of blank greeting cards on chip board.

All four images have been printed! I will score, fold, and package the cards after the prints have dried.  This was a delightful group of images to print; particularly since I had carved the blocks in late October. Commission work and other commitments demanded that I sit this project aside for a later date. I hope to eventually print a small edition of these birds on handmade paper.

All four images have been printed! I will score, fold, and package the cards after the prints have dried.

This was a delightful group of images to print; particularly since I had carved the blocks in late October. Commission work and other commitments demanded that I sit this project aside for a later date. I hope to eventually print a small edition of these birds on handmade paper.

Be Careful What You Wish For - A Recent Artist Book

I listed words which prompted images as I read the book. I intended to use the images in a drawing or series of drawings which I would incorporate into a relief print. This final sketch resulted from my combining an eye, a sewn scar, a needle and thread, mountains and birds off in the distance, a leaf, and a apothecary jar with a bone in it. I then decided to add the little blackbird on the leaf, and surround all of this with a stone arch. This would allude to a castle or stone architectural structure.

I listed words which prompted images as I read the book. I intended to use the images in a drawing or series of drawings which I would incorporate into a relief print. This final sketch resulted from my combining an eye, a sewn scar, a needle and thread, mountains and birds off in the distance, a leaf, and a apothecary jar with a bone in it. I then decided to add the little blackbird on the leaf, and surround all of this with a stone arch. This would allude to a castle or stone architectural structure.

I worked with two linoleum plates to complete the print. This plate was printed in colored sections, very much like a reduction print. The sections served as a ground for the image.

I worked with two linoleum plates to complete the print. This plate was printed in colored sections, very much like a reduction print. The sections served as a ground for the image.

I printed the image in black onto the colored ground. Notice the colored sections beneath the black image. These colored sections helped me to decide how to divide the image into pages for the tunnel book structure.

I printed the image in black onto the colored ground. Notice the colored sections beneath the black image. These colored sections helped me to decide how to divide the image into pages for the tunnel book structure.

The accordion folded papers will become the sides of the book’s interior. I used a lovely teal Ingres paper for this part of the book. The pages are now cut into the arch shape. The white edges on the sides will be folded and placed into the accordion folded sides.

The accordion folded papers will become the sides of the book’s interior. I used a lovely teal Ingres paper for this part of the book. The pages are now cut into the arch shape. The white edges on the sides will be folded and placed into the accordion folded sides.

I cut Davey board into the arch shape; then covered it with papyrus. Layers of milk paint in various colors (the final layer of paint was black) were applied to the papyrus. Once the layers of paint were dried and sanded; shoe polish was applied and rubbed with a soft cloth giving the covers and smooth polished surface.

I cut Davey board into the arch shape; then covered it with papyrus. Layers of milk paint in various colors (the final layer of paint was black) were applied to the papyrus. Once the layers of paint were dried and sanded; shoe polish was applied and rubbed with a soft cloth giving the covers and smooth polished surface.

Here I am assembling the book’s interior pages.

Here I am assembling the book’s interior pages.

This image shows how the accordion folded papers hold the book together at the sides of the assembled book. This also shows how the pages extend out creating the layered interior pages.

This image shows how the accordion folded papers hold the book together at the sides of the assembled book. This also shows how the pages extend out creating the layered interior pages.

Asheville BookWorks will close in March, 2019. It’s final Book and Print exhibition It’s Alive!: Frankenstein, 200 Years asked for interpretations of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication. BookWorks has meant a great deal to my growth as a book artist and printmaker since it opened in 2004. Though I was a bit daunted by the concept of creating an artist book in response to Frankenstein; I decided to first read the novel. I could then create a book or print to submit to the exhibition if the story inspired me. Upon completing the book I was excited about this project. I was particularly attracted to and inspired by the visual imagery which occurred thoughout the story.

Take a look at how I went about creating Be Careful What You For. The finished piece was a tunnel book structure. The internal image used a letterpress printed relief print combined with metal type. The covers were painted papyrus on Davey board with a leather, waxed linen, and a vintage button closure.

I then carved this plate based on the pencil drawing. This provided the image which was printed on the colored sections.

I then carved this plate based on the pencil drawing. This provided the image which was printed on the colored sections.

I used Rives BFK paper printing a pale gray-green for the first color.

I used Rives BFK paper printing a pale gray-green for the first color.

Parts of each page were cut away, creating open spaces on the layered book pages.

Parts of each page were cut away, creating open spaces on the layered book pages.

All of the components - cover boards, accordion folded sides, book pages, and letterpress printed colophon. I used 12 point Garamond for the colophon and additional text. Notice the sentence that is printed across the base of the front page. It sums up my response to  Frankenstein - Be Careful What You Wish For .

All of the components - cover boards, accordion folded sides, book pages, and letterpress printed colophon. I used 12 point Garamond for the colophon and additional text. Notice the sentence that is printed across the base of the front page. It sums up my response to Frankenstein - Be Careful What You Wish For.

This is a front view of the interior.

This is a front view of the interior.

The completed book. I added bits of leather, braided waxed linen thread. and a vintage button to the cover boards. This closure holds the book together when closed.

The completed book. I added bits of leather, braided waxed linen thread. and a vintage button to the cover boards. This closure holds the book together when closed.

This was a most rewarding project. I had never read Frankenstein. Reading this story and responding to it by creating an artist book - Be Careful What You Wish For; would never had happened were it not for Asheville BookWorks. I am so grateful to this most remarkable place and all that I have learned through taking classes there and participating in exhibitions!

Backyard Botanicals - The Series Continues

First stages of carving.

First stages of carving.

This print was fairly difficult to carve, register, and print due to the details of the flowers and buds.

This print was fairly difficult to carve, register, and print due to the details of the flowers and buds.

The next print in the series was based on the Spiderwort plant. I am always excited about the carving of an image and sometimes want to stop and just keep the plate!

The next print in the series was based on the Spiderwort plant. I am always excited about the carving of an image and sometimes want to stop and just keep the plate!

I am beginning to carve a Lenten Rose, one of my favorite flowers. I wanted the flower to have a light colored palette and the background to have darker hues.

I am beginning to carve a Lenten Rose, one of my favorite flowers. I wanted the flower to have a light colored palette and the background to have darker hues.

This is the photograph upon which the print is based.

This is the photograph upon which the print is based.

This is the print after the final and ninth run on the press. The ink was a dark marroon. I am so excited with this palette and the finished print!

This is the print after the final and ninth run on the press. The ink was a dark marroon. I am so excited with this palette and the finished print!

I have now completed several botanical prints. It has been a journey exploring carving techniques, printing on an antique letterpress, as well as mixing and combining colors. There have been numerous challenges. Here are some images of prints, drawings, and other aspects of the work process.

Here is the completed print after seven runs on the press. This means there are seven colors, the lighest one being the pale blue background. Note the plate and tracing paper - remnants of the process. I call this print  Blue Daffodil.

Here is the completed print after seven runs on the press. This means there are seven colors, the lighest one being the pale blue background. Note the plate and tracing paper - remnants of the process. I call this print Blue Daffodil.

Here is the finished print. I call this one  Winter Edgeworthia . I was particularly pleased with the registration of the layers and color palette.

Here is the finished print. I call this one Winter Edgeworthia. I was particularly pleased with the registration of the layers and color palette.

I am printing; purples and blues were the dominant colors in this print.

I am printing; purples and blues were the dominant colors in this print.

I used a rainbow roll in the first layer of this print. I also left some of the leaves uncarved. I was pleased with these and how they gave the image more depth in the background.

I used a rainbow roll in the first layer of this print. I also left some of the leaves uncarved. I was pleased with these and how they gave the image more depth in the background.

Printing the flower - oh so love how the layers and details are coming together.

Printing the flower - oh so love how the layers and details are coming together.

Most of the flower is carved away. Notice I left some in the center in order to give the flower portion of the print more depth as it will be the final and darkest color. I am also moving forward with the background and it is getting darker in color.

Most of the flower is carved away. Notice I left some in the center in order to give the flower portion of the print more depth as it will be the final and darkest color. I am also moving forward with the background and it is getting darker in color.

I continue to learn as I develop this series. Reduction prints are challenging, but a great way to explore technique, image, and color!

A New Series of Prints - Backyard Botanicals

My process begins with pencil drawings. Here are a few - a Fritilaria, Daffodil, and Spiderwort. I enjoy drawing with pencil, since it allows me to study form, line,  and composition.

My process begins with pencil drawings. Here are a few - a Fritilaria, Daffodil, and Spiderwort. I enjoy drawing with pencil, since it allows me to study form, line,  and composition.

Photograph of the Fritilaria, which inspired this print.

Photograph of the Fritilaria, which inspired this print.

Here I am printing the second color. Notice how the flower is 'coming to life'!

Here I am printing the second color. Notice how the flower is 'coming to life'!

Printmaking magic (most of the time); pleased with how the colors and image are coming together.

Printmaking magic (most of the time); pleased with how the colors and image are coming together.

I printed a total of 7 colors. This is the final color; a dark purple-black.

I printed a total of 7 colors. This is the final color; a dark purple-black.

During the cold months of Winter, I began a new series of prints based on the plants found in my gardens. I have explored birds and flowers in the past. However, with these prints I am focused on the botanicals. I spent a good bit of time completing a suite of drawings based on photographs I have taken. I recently completed my first print in this series. It was slow goint at first; since I had not worked in the reduction process for some time. 

I began with the Fritilaria. Here I have transferred the sketch to the linoleum and am carving the image. I will leave these areas white on the completed print.

I began with the Fritilaria. Here I have transferred the sketch to the linoleum and am carving the image. I will leave these areas white on the completed print.

The press and linoleum are inked and ready for the first run, a pale yellow color. I am printing on Rives BFK paper. I place the unmounted linoleum on a wooden base using permament double sided tape. Shims of chipboard are under the wood to get the linolem type high which is .918 ".  Each time I print a new color, more of the block is carved away and more details are added to the image. This is the reason it is called a Reduction print.

The press and linoleum are inked and ready for the first run, a pale yellow color. I am printing on Rives BFK paper. I place the unmounted linoleum on a wooden base using permament double sided tape. Shims of chipboard are under the wood to get the linolem type high which is .918 ".  Each time I print a new color, more of the block is carved away and more details are added to the image. This is the reason it is called a Reduction print.

I am printing the third color - a lovely teal. The background is now carved away and I will work solely with the flower and leaves for the remainder of this print. 

I am printing the third color - a lovely teal. The background is now carved away and I will work solely with the flower and leaves for the remainder of this print. 

Another color - this time a dark green.

Another color - this time a dark green.

Here is the finished print, an edition of twelve and one Artist Proof. I am excited at what I learned and can't wait to continue with this series!

Here is the finished print, an edition of twelve and one Artist Proof. I am excited at what I learned and can't wait to continue with this series!

Designing and Building Boxes

Cutting the boxes from Davey Board is the first step.

Cutting the boxes from Davey Board is the first step.

I combined various papers and patterns. The navy circles and squares are pressure prints I designed and printed on French paper - yum! The other patterned papers came from Paper Source; a fun place to find great papers. 

I combined various papers and patterns. The navy circles and squares are pressure prints I designed and printed on French paper - yum! The other patterned papers came from Paper Source; a fun place to find great papers. 

I cut a recessed area in the lid portion of the case before covering them. I did this for the letterpress printed relief prints I would place on the lid, once the boxes were completed. Lots of planning goes into making boxes.

I cut a recessed area in the lid portion of the case before covering them. I did this for the letterpress printed relief prints I would place on the lid, once the boxes were completed. Lots of planning goes into making boxes.

Covering the case. 

Covering the case. 

All four wraps are covered and the inner paper cover is applied over the hinge. The wraps and trays can be joined and the boxes completed!

All four wraps are covered and the inner paper cover is applied over the hinge. The wraps and trays can be joined and the boxes completed!

Relief prints addorn the lids (inside the recessed area).

Relief prints addorn the lids (inside the recessed area).

A peek inside - treasure chests for keepsakes!!

A peek inside - treasure chests for keepsakes!!

I had the urge to make some boxes. Valentines Day was approaching and boxes make great gifts at this time of year (or any time, for that matter). I enjoy the process; though it can be challenging. Here's a look at the various steps involved in making hinged boxes.

The trays are sanded and built using PVA. I now begin the really fun part - covering with various papers!

The trays are sanded and built using PVA. I now begin the really fun part - covering with various papers!

I wrapped the trays in a Japanese paper. This is the most tedious step in the process. 

I wrapped the trays in a Japanese paper. This is the most tedious step in the process. 

Case completed. I was really pleased with the pressure printed papers. The French paper was  nice to work with when covering the hinged covers.

Case completed. I was really pleased with the pressure printed papers. The French paper was  nice to work with when covering the hinged covers.

Joined and drying with weights.

Joined and drying with weights.

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Another Way to Print on Fabric - Tea Towels

I have covered the bed of the press with newsprint as a way to keep the towels clean while printing. I then set the blocks up using magnets - very simple. I ink the block using a hand brayer and am now ready to print.

I have covered the bed of the press with newsprint as a way to keep the towels clean while printing. I then set the blocks up using magnets - very simple. I ink the block using a hand brayer and am now ready to print.

The printed towel - such a delight to see this clear, clean print. I heat set the prints using my iron after a couple days of drying. They wash beautifully in cold water.

The printed towel - such a delight to see this clear, clean print. I heat set the prints using my iron after a couple days of drying. They wash beautifully in cold water.

I so love this image printed in yellow!

I so love this image printed in yellow!

I have recently discovered another way to use the many blocks I have carved and print on fabric. Tea towels are quite popular for use in the home. I began exploring ways to use my carved blocks and develop my own printed selection of tea towels. Needless to say, I am excited with these results!

The blue tape is how I mark the towels to register them with the inked blocks. 

The blue tape is how I mark the towels to register them with the inked blocks. 

I cover the towel arrangement with newsprint as a way of keeping it clean. I then roll the cylinder and rollers over this set-up and print.

I cover the towel arrangement with newsprint as a way of keeping it clean. I then roll the cylinder and rollers over this set-up and print.

This ginkgo leaf block is set up, inked, and ready to print.

This ginkgo leaf block is set up, inked, and ready to print.

A little hummingbird adorns this towel.

A little hummingbird adorns this towel.

Holiday Cards - From Prints to Snail Mail

Ornament image is transferred to block - ready to carve!

Ornament image is transferred to block - ready to carve!

Patterned 'trees' will adorn the third card.

Patterned 'trees' will adorn the third card.

Carving is complete.

Carving is complete.

I printed the bird in red on Lettra paper.

I printed the bird in red on Lettra paper.

I printed a red mat on Letrra paper for the patterned trees. They were printed in metallic gold ink as was all of the text.

I printed a red mat on Letrra paper for the patterned trees. They were printed in metallic gold ink as was all of the text.

Each card is printed; now to score, fold, and package!

Each card is printed; now to score, fold, and package!

I love receiving cards, so naturally designing and printing them is most satisfying. I produced three for the 2017 holiday season. Small carved blocks provided the imagery, which I combined with antique wood type for two cards. 12 pt Twentieth Century Modern type was used for the third card. I was delighted when a local shop that carries my work commissioned me to produce their greeting card. It goes without saying that snail mail is here to say!

A little bird will adorn this card; which will be my personal holiday card.

A little bird will adorn this card; which will be my personal holiday card.

Proofing the bird.

Proofing the bird.

I printed the ornament in red on chipboard. Here the block is set in place on my Vandercook.

I printed the ornament in red on chipboard. Here the block is set in place on my Vandercook.

Here I am printing wood type in the gold ink.

Here I am printing wood type in the gold ink.

Visual Index Handmade,  a wonderful new store in Winston Salem, NC owned by the fabulous  Toni Tronu  purchased this card to use for their holiday greeting card. Here the cards are boxed up and ready to go. Needless to say, this purchase brought me great  joy !

Visual Index Handmade, a wonderful new store in Winston Salem, NC owned by the fabulous Toni Tronu purchased this card to use for their holiday greeting card. Here the cards are boxed up and ready to go. Needless to say, this purchase brought me great joy!

Out of Africa Part 3 - Printing on Fabric

I have set up blocks on my Vandercook in order to print on fabric in the past.  I decided to do the same with the patterned blocks. I then used the fabric to create zipper bags. Needless to say, this was loads of fun and I am delighted with the results!

I ink the blocks using a brayer.

I ink the blocks using a brayer.

I have set up blocks on my Vandercook in order to print on fabric in the past.  I decided to do the same with the patterned blocks. I then used the fabric to create zipper pouches. Needless to say, this was loads of fun and I am delighted with the results!

Several prints cut and ready to sew. One is all sewn up!

Several prints cut and ready to sew. One is all sewn up!

Carved block set into press bed, inked up, and pulling a print on cotton muslin. The blue tape helps me with registering the fabric pieces.

Carved block set into press bed, inked up, and pulling a print on cotton muslin. The blue tape helps me with registering the fabric pieces.

Completed bags ready to sell. Notice that the back of the bags is a commercially printed fabric; they are lined with plain muslin. They are selling quite well and customers use them for a variety of purposes - art supplies, cosmetics, money, etc. 

Completed bags ready to sell. Notice that the back of the bags is a commercially printed fabric; they are lined with plain muslin. They are selling quite well and customers use them for a variety of purposes - art supplies, cosmetics, money, etc. 

Out of Africa Part 2 - Patterns Influenced by the Maasi

The Maasi women make these ornaments using delicate wire combined with various seed beads and metal disks.

The Maasi women make these ornaments using delicate wire combined with various seed beads and metal disks.

Proofing the first block I carved.

Proofing the first block I carved.

Carving the third block.

Carving the third block.

Once I had carved and proofed each of these blocks I printed them in a variety of colors on French paper and chipboard. I was pleased with the results and used them as covers for single and multiple pamphlet journals. Take a look.

I so love the look of my press inked up and printing1

I so love the look of my press inked up and printing1

A sampling of the prints. I used a lovely brown and green color - so exciting how each block looked on the two types of paper.

A sampling of the prints. I used a lovely brown and green color - so exciting how each block looked on the two types of paper.

An assortment of three section pamphlets all sewn up!

An assortment of three section pamphlets all sewn up!

I was attracted to the delicate patterns of the beaded items made by the Maasi women and purchased a few to bring home. I completed a suite of carved blocks based on these objects in addition to fabric I had purchased while traveling in Ghana in 2013. I then experimented with printing these blocks on both paper and cloth. I am still exploring the blocks using them in various ways. It has been a rewarding process. Here is a sampling of the results.

Fabrics from Ghana, purchased in 2013 while travelling there. 

Fabrics from Ghana, purchased in 2013 while travelling there. 

Here is a proof of the second block I carved.

Here is a proof of the second block I carved.

This is a proof of the third block; my favorite.

This is a proof of the third block; my favorite.

Printing on French paper.

Printing on French paper.

A completed three section pamphlet journal using "The Rope" stitch.

A completed three section pamphlet journal using "The Rope" stitch.

I will now share printing on cotton muslin - the results were quite satisfying!

Out of Africa Part 1 - Drawings

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I traveled to Tanzania this past June. It was a most inspiring journey. We took safari's on the Serengeti (the Endless Plain) and in the Selous Reserve (located in Southeastern Tanzania). Here are some of the pictures from these experiences and the drawings they inspired. 

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I used it as a source for a drawing - do you see the little bird in the upper right area?   

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I used it as a source for a drawing - do you see the little bird in the upper right area?

 

Sleeping lion with bird.

Sleeping lion with bird.

I watched this Crown Crane for quite a while in the Ngorongoro Crater. Of course I had to draw one of these beautiful Secretary birds!

I watched this Crown Crane for quite a while in the Ngorongoro Crater. Of course I had to draw one of these beautiful Secretary birds!

This was a most amazing creature to observe and draw.

This was a most amazing creature to observe and draw.

Lilac Breasted Roller

Lilac Breasted Roller

This is a small portion of the amazing and beautiful animals I witnessed while on this journey - time will tell what types of prints occur as a result of this experience!

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I combined various pictures I took of zebras and acacia trees for this drawing.

I combined various pictures I took of zebras and acacia trees for this drawing.

I so loved these beautiful creatures!

I so loved these beautiful creatures!

I just had to put the little bird on the giraffe's back - something that often happens. They eat insects off of the giraffes - while 'hitching' a ride!

I just had to put the little bird on the giraffe's back - something that often happens. They eat insects off of the giraffes - while 'hitching' a ride!

I observed Bee Eaters on the banks of the Rufij River.

I observed Bee Eaters on the banks of the Rufij River.

The numerous birds I saw inspired these drawings. 

The numerous birds I saw inspired these drawings. 

Pamphlet Journals Inspired by the Garden

Printing the dragonfly and calla lilly.   

Printing the dragonfly and calla lilly.

 

Once the prints were dry and ready to handle, I began assembling the pamphlets.

Once the prints were dry and ready to handle, I began assembling the pamphlets.

I was quite pleased with the quality of the prints on the French paper!

I was quite pleased with the quality of the prints on the French paper!

I decided it would be fun to use some of the blocks I had carved for Garden Reverie as cover imagery for blank pamphlet journals. I printed them on French paper and sewed them up with waxed linen thread. Here is a look at the process. 

Printing the tulips - one of my personal favorites!

Printing the tulips - one of my personal favorites!

These are single section pamphlets.  I used variations of the chain stitch when sewing them together.

These are single section pamphlets.  I used variations of the chain stitch when sewing them together.

All sewn up!

All sewn up!