Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shameless Self Promotion

They're here! There here! My holiday cards are finally coming out of production! *Whew* Okay, maybe not clinically, but I think I might be crazy. Definately obsessive. You can read about the process and a little history behind these cards on my Etsy site (link at top of my profile) but the little glass "candies" were something else. In my wisdom, I thought that I could dab white glue straight from the bottle onto those teeny buttons. Yeah, didn't happen. The slightest pressure oozed out way too much so I found a solution through obsessive compulsion. I sat down with a straw I broke from my broom and a sake cup full of white glue and dotted them one by one. I made two passes (one for pink and one for silver) and was successful that way. I think now I shall take a nap!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nashima's Leaf

Wow!! This is a finished print from a student who took my Japanese Woodblock Printing class at the McGuffey Art Center. Isn't it absolutely beautiful?! Of course, the scanner doesn't do it justice as one layer is in gold leaf but it is still a lovely contour and fitting subject for leaf season here in Virginia. Lucky thing! She's moving to Oregan where she'll be in Woodblock Country! I'm jealous. Anyways, great job Nashima! My first print didn't turn out this good!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jingle Bells, Ink Sure Smells, Santa's on his way!!!!

This will be the anthem of christmas printers. Here's a shot of my gingerbread cookies holiday card. I'm almost done. All I have to do is print my info on the backs. I'm going to dot their little buttons with glue and spread tiny glass sprinkles on them. These cards will rock!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ah, money....

Well, I've been sick the past couple of days and therefore rendered useless for a time. This is an old image that I did when I was attending the Corcoran. They have an event every christmas called "Off the Walls" where students can purchase a table and sell their work for some christmas cash. I like the idea because it gives students a taste of selling and dealing with customers (if you were lucky enough not to have to wait tables and the like). They would have a constest for a postcard design and this was mine. I lost but no big deal. I now have this nice image.
Point is I'm chewing my nails now over christmas stock. I've got to get the lead out and produce those christmas cards!!! I'm excited as I'm nearing the end of my Dragon Book and am awaiting the arrival of book board and 50 bone clasps in the mail. I still haven't made a decision as far as bookcloth or cover paper, argh!! I'm also hoping to have another tree cut book so maybe that will be the subject material for the next month. Who knows?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Yay! My stamp came in the mail today! Okay, I do love it and I will use it for a few months to get good use but I'm already thinking about designing a new logo. After seeing how much detail is lost in shrinking the image, I'm guess not many will know that it is a ferret riding a printing press. Also, unless you are a printmaker, there is no way in hell you'd fathom that the dark table-like shape is a press. Ah well, chalk it up to experience! At least my text came out well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This is what I did all day on monday (which is not saying too terrible much). I was wiped out and didn't get up till 11:45am. Monday is my only day off and even then I do art! Thusly, I contend that for a true artist, art making is not a past-time but a bodily function. Anyways, this was on my to-do list as christmas is knocking on my door telling me to finish my christmas cards and get them out on the shelves. I can't do that until I get my etsy store and email stamped on every last one. I can't do that until I get a custom stamp and I can't do that until I finish a logo. And there you have it. The rubber stamp is currently in route to my house! Yay!
Anyways, I wanted to come up with an image that embodied a few things. Thing number one of course is Pistoles. You can catch that explanation in the post labeled "Ride 'M Ferret." Thing number two is relief printing which is illustrated in bucking C&P. Thing number three is the joy of printmaking exuded my a printing troupe from Tennessee called "Yeehaw Press." They came and did a demo at the Corcoran for the Southern Graphics Council meeting a few years back and those people rocked. Their love of printing and joy in the process as well as wild outfits and attitudes was infectious! I initially had the ferret weilding a cowboy hat and gunbelt slung with ink knives and a tube of ink but I abandoned that idea. I think the image still reads well without it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hand-pulled Harvey!

Yay, Harvey! Someone asked me what he's got. You decide! After we finish printing images for the beastiary, I want to print him up for my own personal christmas cards to read the greeting "May you recieve all your holiday wishes, be they diamonds or be they snowflakes!" I think only the people who know about Harvey will be getting them. It might startle some to receive a beast in the mail for christmas! I wouldn't mind a beast for christmas!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kirin Proof

Yay! I've got no complaints! That one scuff on the shoulder is from me inadvertantly tapping the paper on the block as I was showing my student how to pull proofs. Actually, I'd like to experiment more with scuffing and different texture. I wish I new the artist's name....I saw a printer's work from Japan who did prints of everyday people and his family all in textural value and it was amazing! I was like he knew how to scuff an area to resemble the countour of a nose or cheek in one stroke. Anyways, I used a few scraps of mulberry to print this up and I'm glad with the results. You'll notice my Kirin has no scales. I was going to add them in the sketch but I enjoyed his contours so I am going to give him a dappled coat to resemble scales in my color bock. Any votes as to what color he should be?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kirin in the wood

I think the image translates nicely for the class I'm teaching! I was going to carve it in All Shina, a product that McClain's sells, but in true fashion I always forget at least one item in the many that commutes with me to and from the studio and that was it. I left my nice piece of Shina at home! :( I am blessed, however, in that my sister's husband is a carpenter and he gives me left over scrap wood that would otherwise end up in the dump. I had a peice of 3/4 inch plywood in the studio and gave it a try. The grain held up okay but beneath the veneer lay a layer of soft fibrous wood that seemed to me rather weak. I put woodglue in a particularly large split that appeared beneath the face part of the kirin and am none too keen on the large black knot on the other end. We'll see what happens when I pull a few proofs....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kirin goes to class...

In participating in the Beastiary class at UVA, the students were instructed to fill a newsprint pamphlet with sketches of fantastical beasts that they were inspired by or created.
Here is a two page spread that I drew of a Kirin and a Centaur. That yellow thingie in the middle is the thread that holds the binding together. I much enjoyed drawing both characters but delighted in the Kirin as his pose is very whimsical.
In later postings, you may see an image of my own personal beast by the name of Harvey. Harvey has a mouth full of canines and my mother used to shutter everytime I drew him. "Why don't you draw something happy or flowers or something?" I never felt as if drawing a bovine with fangs was unhappy but I can see her concern. Anyway, I love this image in that the Kirin's fangs are visible but his body language and expression are that of joy and excitement. I have come to love witnessing and expressing "ancient happiness" through my art as I settle into my aging process. When I refer to "ancient happiness" you can reference images past civilizations in their expression of joy. Examples that have enspired me are Ancient Egyptian artifacts of vases, pots, and sculpture of animals with their tongues out. An animal with its tongue out is supposed to represent playfulness and whimsy. Also relevant to the time period is the god Bes. Before it was fashionable to carve an s-figured statue into marble with a stoic gaze, Minoan statues smiled pleasantly back at you. Fu Dogs roll and laugh with a ball as an obese Bhudda laughs.
I have strayed from the subject.....I plucked my Kirin out as the image I will use to demonstrate how to practice Moku Hanga. I will have more updates on this as I go along!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Harvey in the Beastiary

A nice man by the name of Josef Beery came to visit me the other day a few weeks back. He is fellow block carver/printer here in Charlottesville and he is teaching a class at UVA on Beastiaries. Beastiaries are books containing fabulous animals usually accompanied by moral reasons why the animals exist or function. He invited me to join the class to offer my two cents on block carving. We had a visit to the rare books collection and saw some pretty amazing pieces from the time period. There were books set in hand carved wood type similar to the font Tudor Black! There were stunning woodcuts on vellum and handpainted images. We even saw an original worm eaten wood block for an herbal tome and a real illuminated prayer book. It was a very cool experience!
Our job now is to make a beast ourselves. We made newsprint leaflets to sketch in (more posts on that later) and after many neat creatures, I decided to revisit Harvey. Harvey is a creature and favorite of my design and he is creation that is 11 years old this year. He is a very strong beast with sharp teeth but I wanted to render him for this book in a more soft and quiet moment. He is seated inspecting a treasure of sorts. I really had fun carving this piece of linoleum and had fun watching everyone else carve and create as well. There are some really creative minds in our class!
I hope the hatching for the shining object comes through. I really didn't know what to put in his hands and I think the viewer would have more fun anyway trying to guess at what he's got. I did the hatching and hauches for this image with inspiration from an old book my mother had as a child called "A Leg at each Corner" about the trials and errors of horse ownership. A must read if you ever see it in a musty old bookstore.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dragons are difficult to print....

They chew on your rollers and lick up all your ink. I'm STILL working on my dragon book. Whose idea was it to print two separate paragraphs of type on each page in two seperate colors AND have block images!!! Hopefully, I'll get my shipment of Soysolv II in by friday so I can keep going. I ran out after 2 years which is saying alot. I got 4 bottles of the stuff then. It's biodegradable and cleans my rollers up well. I tried Simple Green and it was horrible. It left ink residue everywhere. The ink that I could clean off with paper towels would be similar to what I could scrape off by hand anyway so there's no way I can plug on with just Simple Green. Lithotine is the cleaner of choice for most printmakers but disposing of the chemicals is a pain in the butt and the HazMat fee is an extra 20.00 that I don't have. The good news is that I only have one more page of major text to print and then I just have to print the title page and colophon and a few other things. Then we get on to binding.....LOL, this book will be nice when it's finally done but it sure is labor intensive. Such is the love of typesetters, blockcutters, and bookbinders everywhere.