Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Grand Tour

A couple of weeks ago I took part in the Counter Plymouth Artists' Book Fair.  Needless to say the days leading up to it were a scramble of activity putting together some new books.   In particular I was pleased to finally realise a book I had planned and printed during my MA, but which had turned into a set of prints for the final show.  Having located the leftover printing, and the tickets that were the catalyst, the result is a set of books called Grand Tour - so far France and Germany are complete, England is on the way, and Italy is awaiting a donation of used train tickets from that country....if anyone has some tucked away.

As usual, to achieve a simple yet satisfying end result a lot of calculations were needed on the obligatory scrap of paper.  And the best bit of the whole process?  Getting to use the ex-GPO stamp to number the edition - thanks Jenny!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

2 small books

To get making momentum going again I recently completed 2 small books that have been in the back of my mind for a long time.  Both have originated from pre-printed materials.

The first was as a result of receiving some beautiful seed packets - thank you Mr Fowler!  They were so good just as they were I wavered for a long time considering how best to utilise them in a book, but finally their intrinsic packet qualities won out and I decided to keep them in their intended form and play around with words instead.

The finished book is a collection of 4 seed packets tied roughly with garden string.  Each is rubber stamped with the details of a different seed type: Hope, Despair, Change and Success, including when to harvest and what to plant with.


Rubber stamp printing onto paper seed packets, bound with garden string 
70 x 100mm
edition of 5

The second book is a follow up to a book I made last year A Series of Small Admissions.  As time has passed I have considered the pile of unused tickets and kept a note of fleeting thoughts and realisations that fitted the criteria for this concept 'A concertina book of tickets, each revealing a small personal admission on the reverse, in proportion with the scale and transient nature of the ticket'.  The hardest thing has been not to include or admit to anything too big!

A Second Series of Small Admissions

Rubber stamp printing onto paper tickets with card end covers 
53 x 34mm
edition of 25

Both of these new titles will be available at Plymouth Artists' Book Fair, or by contacting me (email address on side menu).

News from the print room

In August the press went off to the press doctors, and came back with a some fancy new spots to help me reset it level in between jobs.  I think the real lesson was that I need to be both more patient and more organised when I print - not something I'll find easy with my 'let's hammer out a few prints before teatime' ethos. Also, it may just be that some of my wooden type is not going to be great on this kind of press, will have to test it out and see.

And test it out I did! After an invigorating LENvention 2 meet up, creating and printing in a group of 9, I felt inspired and shamefaced into having another go, absurdly choosing coloured ink to do so, but stuck to one typeface and had more success this time.

Since then my caseroom has expanded from under the spare bed (what do you mean that isn't where everyone keeps theirs?) and spread out onto the landing alongside my press, print rack, typewriters and other essentials, thanks to some donations and the odd bit of internet shopping - old type wrapped up in brown paper and string is the best isn't it?

I've been using some spare time this week to try and get it all organised, which feels a little counter-intuitive as really I wanted to spend the time printing, but being better prepared will get better results - I hope!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Under (what?) pressure

It's been a period of reflection, and being busy, and concentrating on other things, but finally I've got the inks, quoins, quoin key, furniture, and all the rest to get my press properly up and running.

First off, a few weeks ago, I whipped up some cards, 'Hot off the press' to say thank you to a few of the folk who helped me to get the press this far.  It took a lot of tweaking to get a result but I put this down to getting to know it's quirks.

But then, more prepared this time, I started out today with the 'quick' task of a congratulatory greeting.  7 hours later and it's not done, it's bedtime, and theres so much to clear up.  Unfortunately I can't seem to get the pressure right, partly it's uneven - despite twiddling all the relevant knobs - and partly it's just not giving a dark enough print - despite way more packing than I think is advisable.   

I'm calling this one 'faint praise'

Looks like I might have to book the press back into the clinic for a check up before I can go any further.  Ah letterpress, it gives you the best of times (making!) and the worst of times (frustration!).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Coming soon

Just waiting on some new rollers and then I should be up and running.

Old news...

Back at the start of December last year a group of us from my year group on the MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking held an exhibition of works from our degree show.  The Parlour Showrooms on Park St, Bristol provided the perfect shabby backdrop for my repurposed pictures.