It's sunny, I've been printing (how unusual...) and I'm waiting to hear about several little schemes in the next couple of weeks, so I'm also twitching.
When I opened my print drawer a few days ago it seemed quite empty and I have had a flurry of printing to fill it back up again. I have even branched out into midnight blue as a change from always black (can you see the cards in the above photo are blue? It was quite a radical move for me and I'm not sure that I will be able to sustain such impulsive ways of working).
I've also painted my garden gate blue today, but that is so bright in its blueness that it isn't even registering on my camera. I hope that the neighbours recover. I blame the sunshine and will try to reign it in for a while.
Pucklechurch in South Gloucestershire. Starting next to the church and then working outwards, past houses old and new and out to the sites of the local mines, whilst finding out lots of the significant events and history of the area.
I'd been given a fantastic commission - to create an image that was part map, part history of the village, that could then be given to Pucklechurch's twin town Pringy in France to commemorate 25 years as twins!
Having attempted to absorb the entire history of the area, as well as remembering significant local buildings I then set to work, sketching a road layout and incorporating as many of the features that 'make' Pucklechurch (some historical events, some distinctive houses) as possible.
After a fair amount of head scratching and liberal use of tracing paper I settled on a layout that looked like Pucklechurch and had a good mix of historical and present day features.
Then to the real fun - carving this out of a sheet of lino, blade of grass by blade of grass...
Lino and wood printing blocks are often works of art in themselves, hand carved for many hours (as a mirror image of the final printed picture) and it is a nerve wracking moment when an ink roller laden with printing ink is first rolled over the lino block and the image is revealed as every raised area takes up the ink....but I think Pucklechurch is looking great here, even in reverse!
Then on to the job of printing all of the copies needed for this edition. The carved lino block needs re-inking every time a print is taken and I printed this image using a boxwood burnishing tool rather than a press as it allows me so much more control over the pressure applied to the paper as the image is printed.
I've printed Pucelancyrcan/Pucklechurch as a limited edition of only 50 limited edition prints on Somerset Satin paper from St Cuthberts Mill in Wells.
Thanks to Gail Boyle for having the idea for such a great project!
It is funny how once you have an idea of the shape your day will take it is so very hard to change plans completely!
I WILL take photos of tea towels and prints. Just because there are 100 meters of fog rising above my house, which yesterday took until 4 o'clock to clear, and therefore no chance of any sun or even proper sunlight, I will not be put off!!
I really want a new set of photos of my lino prints - it's a hard thing to do, making a flat piece of paper look like an exciting must have product (well for me, you may find that is your natural talent). I could just scan them, but where is the challenge in that?
Well, not put off until I see what the photos look like! Ha! Fog, you have beaten me.
I think I'll go and join the fog and play on the allotment instead today...
Today I'm in the great position of having finished a couple of projects and having a little gap before the next, so I could draw and print anything I like! Which means it's impossible to choose and so I am putting a picture on my blog instead...
I do really need to print a big batch of cards as stocks are rather low and I have got all the lino blocks out ready (see above picture), but the sun is out, the curtains blowing slightly in the (chilly) breeze, there is a space on my desk just large enough not to require any tidying - so it is a play around day, who knows what the results may be...
Another new lino print...
This one has the most leaves I have ever cut in lino.
I haven't counted them yet, but that is the sort of thing I like to do - if there are statistics accompanying a piece of artwork does that add to it's depth and complexity??
This picture had a seven year old art director, with very exacting ideas and standards and perhaps slightly high expectations of what can be achieved in lino, but we got there!
All woodland creatures in place and a great selection of plants and mushrooms too...I wasn't allowed to include a slug, but a snail was alright.
I didn't cut this lino block in one go, it took a few days, one leaf at a time, and then suddenly they were all done and the printing fun could begin.
There is a very satisfying moment, when the ink is first rolled onto a brand new lino cut, ready for the first proof print because suddenly the image is really there, as it is going to be (in reverse of course!) and then there is no going back or fiddling about because at least one print is going to look exactly like this.
Thank goodness I hadn't hacked through a tree trunk or chopped the hedgehogs nose off, because it would have been very painful to have to recut this one...all those leaves, aaah...
You can look at this very same print HERE if you like too...
Posted by Melanie Wickham at 12:05
Hello neglected blog - it's because I've been really busy, honest (and hibernating and adjusting to a new year and all those other winter time things).
I have been cutting away at lino blocks the whole time too, and I have really enjoyed making this print, a new animal alphabet - It's official title is:
and it is taking me quite a while to write the titles on the whole edition i can tell you....I am quite worried about spelling mistakes and missing out a whole entire animal, but, so far so good!
I am also trying to write the title at a jaunty angle to echo the circle of the print so that it looks fab when framed - it's a complicated business this being an artist thing.
When I have recovered from the whole editioning thing I will list the print in online places, but I'm going to have to shorten the title a little I think as search facilities don't seem to like 26 words joined together with no spaces, not sure why????
If you can't wait that long, and the nursery must have artwork NOW then leave me a comment or send me an email as there is always a way.....
Most of my printing time is spent printing on paper, and that is without doubt 'my thing'. I love it and my brain is always filling up with ideas for lino prints, most of which never get out again, but I already feel that I have a good few years of lino print ideas stashed away just waiting for their turn.
As well as printing on paper I have also printed lots of other things, ranging from walls to pants (yes, underpants...) and printing on fabric has got to be number two. I've printed hundreds of birds onto my bedroom curtains in the last two months and I'm now casting around the house for anything else that looks a bit plain!
If you fancy having a go at this or you have an idea that has been lurking at the back of your mind for a while I'm teaching a workshop this Saturday (25th Jan) at Makers in Bristol, where we are going to be printing cushions, so if you are free and want to join in the fun click here to find out all the important info.
I love a project like this, where you can go from an idea to a finished item, looking great, with all the printing fun in the middle in the space of an afternoon! The beauty of block printing is that even a simple shape or design will look brilliant as a repeat or mixed with another shape or in two colours, so this is a great chance to play around and see what can happen. And there will definitely be cakes.