Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Woodblock Letterpress printing - 3

During our third class I was able to print the second colour on the cards that I started last week. Here's one of the cards coming around on the print roller, with the silver text now printed on top of the black.


I also got some pictures of the bookbinding gear that lives at the Dawson Printshop. You know you want a paper cutter like this one. It can cut through anything - paper, book board, arms...


More gear, presses, hot stamping machine, finishing press... imagine having such equipment at your disposal!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Discoveries of an amateur marbler

When I first took a marbling class in 2008 with Nancy Morains, she provided a bouquet rake so that we could try making that classic pattern. Her bouquet rake (or double rake) was made to fit her tanks perfectly and it seemed almost effortless! Well, the results from the class were far from perfect, but they were recognizable. Here is one that I did in that class - I think the biggest problem with this is the globby paint, not the technique with the rake. Yikes.

Marbling - Bouquet pattern

After that class, I set myself up to do some marbling at home and I have done a lot and even sell some of my papers on Etsy. Alas, I did not buy myself a bouquet rake because I thought I could do it with two passes of the standard rake. That technique, however, never worked very well for me. So I gave up on it for a while. Eventually, I made myself a bouquet rake and still couldn't get it to look right.

I made a substantial effort to improve my bouquet rake technique during my last marbling session. Many papers were terrible and discarded immediately.

Many others were mediocre. I could tell they were a little better, but still wobbly and almost out of control with bouquets of all different shapes and sizes. Like this...


Then I discovered something. I discovered that my bouquet rake made small bouquets! It started working so much better! I had to nearly stand on my head to watch the pattern emerge as I used the rake, to see what was happening and then it all came together - understanding the spacing of the nails was far more important than I realized. This is probably the best example, so far.


As you can see, the bouquets are quite small; but finally, they are nearly consistent in size and shape.

Also, a rather successful Frog's foot pattern too (or thistle pattern?) using the same rake.


I will continue to practice. Also, I may try to make myself another double rake with more spacing. But after all this, I think I made it over a little hump.

If anyone reading this has any advice about making the bouquet pattern, or anything at all to say about it, I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Woodblock Letterpress printing - 2

Last night I went to my second class of woodblock letterpress printing at the Dawson Printshop. The first project is a simple greeting card and last night I was able to print the first colour on mine. We were using a Vandercook Universal 1 proof press.


Definitely a big part of the fun is looking through the drawers of type, selecting fonts and designing the layout and all that. So, here is the wooden type that I picked out and arranged, set on the bed of the printer and ready to go. ("Bed"? Is that the right word? Still not overly confident with the lingo!) I do like how the extra wooden blocks for spacing are called furniture. (So maybe it is a bed.)


I was the first one to start printing so Niko was using my session as a demo for the class so she is here helping me get started.


In the end, I have the first colour down on the cards. Here are a couple of the test prints -


Another member of the class was taking lots of pictures for me, thanks Radhika!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Preparing for 2011

Every year around this time, I start making these leather weekly planners. So if you are one of those people who come back every year for a new one, here they are, now available on Etsy or Artfire now so you can get ready for 2011. Let me know if you want one made in a favorite colour!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Woodblock Letterpress printing - 1


Earlier this week, I started a woodblock letterpress class at NSCAD. So for the next six weeks, I'll be playing with wood type. NSCAD is now the home of the Dawson Printshop which used to be at Dalhousie University when I was studying there. So even though it is a new location, it's still familiar. The Dawson Printshop has, literally, tons and tons and tons of equipment and type, both metal and wood. Several antique presses and dozens of huge of cabinets full of type. The instructor is Niko, of Etsy's White Raven Arts, a fellow member of BEST and an experienced letterpress printer and Dawson Printshop maven.

Rows and rows and rooms full of cabinets of type...