Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The birds' wedding day

One of my aims for this year is to produce one of my small single colour linocut each month . . . I decided that the January print should be a 'Valentine's' design – last year's 'Love in the air' print was very popular (there are just 3 left) and so is the card.

I began  by doodling in my sketchbook . . .


 . . . using my fountain pen :-)

 

You see, I'd read about Poshyarns' Christmas present and scurried off to rummage in a drawer for my fountain pen – the one my parents bought for me when I went to secondary school (in the days when we had to write all our essays in ink with a proper pen). I remember choosing the brushed steel Parker 25, it looked very modern and space-age! Now it looks funky retro and I've discovered that people collect them. All those exam essays it got me through are water under the bridge, but now my Parker 25 has a new bottle of Quink blue-black and has a new lease of life!



The doodle which stood out as the one on which to base the new linocut was this one . . .



At this stage I switch to working digitally over a scan of the original sketch, in Photoshop I can work on different layers and add and take away elements quickly and easily. I decided that the two birds should be Mistle Thrushes because in our garden they are the first birds to choose a mate and build their nests – usually in the ancient Yew trees right outside my studio.

 

The design around the heart shape is made up of primroses, leaves and twigs in a texture which reminds me of Victorian paper lace Valentine's cards. When I was happy with the black line design, I printed it out to the size I needed on my laserprinter and transferred the design to the lino by painting paint-stripper on the reverse of the paper.

Then, my favourite bit, the carving. The design gets altered slightly a the cuts have a style of their own and give the finished block a unique look which is different from the drawn lines.

 

Ready to take a proof . . .


As you can see I work upside down at this stage. This is so that I can position the straight cut edge of the paper with the marks on the base board on which the the lino block is stuck; the natural deckle edge of the handmade paper is then at the bottom – which looks much nicer. (I think I got that tip from Annie.)


I like using Japanese printmaking paper, this one is very thin and useful for proofs as it's so easy to see how the image is printing as I burnish the reverse of the paper using various implements – my favourites this time were a tiny ceramic cylindrical pot and an antique nickle silver serving spoon.


This is the satisfying bit . . . ta-dah!


All looks good to go!


For the finished linocuts I used a slightly heavier and more textured Japanese paper which is made from Paper Mulberry fibre – I love it's crispness, like the pages of a very special old book.

I worked late to finish all the printing in one session, so this photo of the prints hanging up to dry was taken with the studio lights on.

 

The original limited edition unframed prints can be ordered by emailing studio@celiahart.co.uk
This is a edition of 30 prints on Japanese Kikuchi Haini Kozo Koban. The image size is 15 x 15cm. Each print is named, signed and numbered in pencil by me. An unframed print costs £48 (which includes p&p to addresses in the UK mainland).

Cards of the design are now available in Magic Cochin's Emporium.


For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate
 
From 'Parliament of Foules' by Geoffrey Chaucer 1343 – 1400




Celia
x


33 comments:

  1. it is just stunning and you are truly a wonderful artist. I have my beautiful cards on display at home at the moment and they welcome me in the hallway everytime I come home... so lovely to see the process, thank you x

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  2. What a beautiful print! I have a query please - the paint stripper? What do you use? When you say on the back, do you mean you lay the paper over the lino and then put the stripper on the paper, or do you apply before? I'm intrigued by this method, I have just been drawing on the lino.

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  3. Thank you Dom - have a lovely weekend :-)

    Hi Jennifer - the printed design is laid face down on the lino and the paint stripper (DIY store own make "Paint and Varnish Remover") is painted onto the reverse of the paper with an old brush - scrub hard and the design transfers onto the lino in reverse - as you need it to be.
    Any feint areas can be sketched in with a pencil or marker pen.
    But drawing straight onto the lino is absolutely fine, as is tracing down using copy paper and a biro.

    Celia
    x

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  4. Oh you siren, tempting me with that account of how to create the beautiful print!. You are a tru artist Celia, not only making stunning images but generously sharing the process too. Thank you.

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  5. A really lovely design! Very interesting to see how you develop your idea into the finished print. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Just Gorgeous, and have emailed you!

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  7. They are lovely and it is fascinating to read the process that you go through from thought to product. I'm sure they'll fly off your shelves!

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  8. Just stunning! I remember being taught italic writing with a fountain pen at school. I remember the wooden desks with the ink well at the edge!

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  9. Thankyou Celia, I must give this a go, sometimes when re-drawing an image, some of the freshness is lost, so being able to apply an original paper drawing is great - well let's hope so anyway!

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  10. Lovely. Just the name "Mistle Thrush" is pretty. We don't have them here. The print is as charming as the bird.

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  11. Celia, the resulting prints are so beautiful, and all your sharing of just how this image began and grew and found its way onto a lino, and then was cut and inked...well, you might be a Valentine for all us artists.

    Thank you for this early 2012 gift.

    xo

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  12. Celia, this is a fantastic post, so inspiring. I loved seeing your process and the prints came out beautifully. Many thanks- Jules

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  13. What a fascinating post seeing the process and fine attention to detail that goes into your designs.

    Love the mistlethrushes!

    ANd matron, I've got a couple of the small desks with the inkwells - well, the hole for the inkwell!

    Now, where's that old fountain pen I've got lying around unused in a draw?

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  14. Lovely to see the process Celia, and the design is beautiful. I think I'm going to be collecting your cards throughout the year to get the complete set. And the calender of course!

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  15. What a lovely and interesting post, and a beautiful print at the end : )

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  16. Just lovely, it is a delightful print and I loved that you showed us how you work.

    Liz

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  17. I would have been told off for using my fountain pen for anything other than writing. I have quite a collection of calligraphy pens, must dig them out and have a practice.

    Thank you so much for taking us through the process, from initial sketch to finished print, it really is fascinating. I'm so glad that Jennifer asked about the paint stripper, I wanted to know too.

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  18. This was a very interesting post - it shows how much work goes into producing a print. I love the idea, the title and the way it came out. I think it could be a nice Valentine's present for someone you love.

    P.S. Fountain pens are great. I think they should still make children use them at schools - their handwriting would be much nicer.

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  19. This was a fascinating peep into the process of making your delightful prints - thank you!

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  20. Lovely! I must get gouging again. I got through all my O and A levels and my finals with my Dad's Parker 17 pen; now so leaky that I get through fearful amounts of ink but still far more pleasing to use than the expensive Montblanc I treated myself to a few years ago...

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  21. Celia, your work is Ab Fab, (going with the retro pen theme here!)

    I think I love the block as much as the print, both are works of art.

    I was also interested to learn about the paint stripper. Nasty stuff but I suppose it has its uses.

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  22. What a stunning print Celia. Thanks for the step by step process. I find the 'thinking' and 'doing' bits most intriguing of all. I wonder if the paint stripper works with inkjet prints? My instincts tell me yours works because you have a laser printer but it's immaterial as I won't be trying this...(clumsy cutter) but I am off to search for my fountain pen....

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  23. I can only echo everyone else. A lovely glimpse into how you do your prints. And what a beautiful finished design.

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  24. It's gorgeous Celia. And fascinating to read the process you go through. I'd like to try some more printing this year.

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  25. These are simply amazing. I love them so! I have a thing about linocuts and yours are beautiful. I am seriously thinking about purchasing one...

    Stephanie

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  26. Oh goodness, how beautiful! I will now drop very heavy hints with Mr knitsofacto as to a suitable Valentines gift.

    By the way, no idea what's in it but I use Art Van Go's transfer solution which is very effective and not quite so dire as paint stripper.

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  27. Oh this is exquisite Celia. It's such a treat to see the process too. Emma x

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  28. That is a lovely design Celia. I am desperate to get stuck into some lino printing, but other 'stuff' is getting in the way at the moment. Hopefully by next week I will have cleared some time in my diary.
    I'm sure I had exactly the same fountain pen as you at High School!

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  29. I came across you while I was blog hopping and had to comment on your cards, they are lovely.

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  30. Beautiful! And seeing the printing process is fascinating Celia, I thought you used a press, but you burnish with a spoon, so interesting! Vanessa xxx

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  31. Absolutely *love* this print. I really enjoyed reading about how you work, as well.

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  32. wonderful to see this process. can you do a tutorial, with pix, next time, about the paint thinner transfer method? sounds faboo.

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