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, 19 September 2014

Winter Evening in Bull's Wood - linocut and cards

Last year's festive season was only just out of the way when I was contacted to talk Christmas Cards for 2014! It was a request from Suffolk Wildlife Trust for a donated image suitable for one of their cards.

I had a think . . . my prints suitable for Christmas cards were already being sold as my own card designs; in 2013 I'd produced some Christmas cards in the most economical way I could without compromising quality and I realised that customers either wanted much cheaper cards OR preferred to buy Charity Cards. So as Suffolk Wildlife Trust is one of my favourite charities, I decided to offer a brand new design and invited them choose a subject.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust suggested I illustrated a winter scene in one of their lesser known reserves – I selected one that was not too far from my studio . . .

Bull's Wood


It was a mild late January afternoon that I arrived at Bull's Wood . . . of rather, a farm yard where I could park 'tidily' before heading off down a track towards woodland a couple of fields away.

Stepping into Bull's Wood is like being transported back in time, it is a small remnant (about 30 acres) of 'the many woods of Cockfield' which where recorded in the Hundred Rolls in 1279, and those woods had probably existed for centuries before then and were in constant use by villagers who harvested poles and timber, grazed animals, foraged and hunted. The ecosystem of the woodland is entwined with lives of the people. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the woodland was destroyed as fields were enclosed and ploughed up to plant crops. Somehow Bull's Wood survived and today it is managed by volunteers who coppice the Ash and Hazel just as it has been done for a millennium.


I walked around the wood getting to know its specialness. The strange shapes of the ancient Ash stumps, the textures of the branches and the scale of the tall Oaks. I took photographs for reference of particular details, but mainly I let a composition come together in my mind.

I wanted to depict Bull's Wood on a cold winter's evening, so would need to do some research and work from experience and imagination. At home I put down my ideas in my sketch book, including animals I knew would be in the wood on a December evening . . . a Tawny Owl roosting in an Ivy covered tree, a Roe Deer in a clearing near the pond and a flock of Redwings arriving from Scandinavia to feast on the berries.



It was Spring when I carved the detailed lino block and a wood block from which to print the red colour to make the trees glow in the setting sun.



I decided to wait until Autumn before selling the prints, to coincide with Suffolk Wildlife Trust publicising their new cards for Christmas 2014. These are two of the finished original prints ready for the Market Place Gallery in Olney and my exhibition at the Church Street Gallery in Saffron Walden this month.


And here's another I framed last night to replace one in my exhibition that has already sold.


Winter Evening in Bull's Wood

The cards are available from many shops around Suffolk and here on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust web site. They are blank inside, so if you'd prefer a seasonal message you could use a rubber stamp (either buy one or make one - I'll try to blog about how to do this when I'm making one for the cards I'll be sending).


I'm very happy that this year the proceeds from these 100% donated cards will help target conservation efforts to turn around the fortunes of Suffolk’s hedgehogs.


Celia
xx



28 comments:

  1. What a beautiful evocative image.

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    1. Thanks Ann. It's a wood worth visiting.

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  2. That's a lovely design and what a wonderful charity it will support. I've not been there for ages, must rectify that soon. X

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    1. It was my first visit - I must go back!

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  3. Yay! For the hedgehogs!
    I love winter woods;the bare bones reveal much that we miss in summer-kirtled woods.

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    1. Hedgehogs are in dire straits. And yes winter reveals the mystery of woods.

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  4. Celia, your Winter's Evening in Bull's Wood is so evocative of a particular place, a particular time. I'm interested to know that you combined lino and wood blocks to create the original print. Adding that red via the wood block really does add to the composition and to the feeling of actually being in those woods.

    Now, a question. Who was Bull? Was it the name of a family who owned the property long, long ago?

    Thank you also for the glimpse of your sketchbook. I do remember our talking about drawing in the woods.

    I could write so much more, but will save it for an email.

    xo

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    1. That's a good question... who was Bull? Maybe it is 'bull' as in ox? Maybe it's a name that sounds like 'bull' and was written down on an old map?

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  5. Very nice Celia. I hope they sell lots and lots of cards!
    I love the photo of the actual lino cut; it's interesting to see all the intricately cut details before the ink is added and everything is flipped around.

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    1. I love the carved blocks. I sometimes wonder about doing small relief carvings instead of prints.

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  6. Fabulous image , I'll look out for the cards. X

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    1. Impossible to compete on price and a donation - so this is my charity gift. I hope they are popular.

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  7. I really enjoyed reading through the thought process behind this print Celia and then getting a tantalising glimpse into the sketchbook. The end result is very special and if the print sales are an indicator, will make a substantial contribution to charity funds this Christmas. I have a pathological resistance to cards for the season until November at the earliest but I might have to get my skates on to bag a set of these!

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    1. I never get round to organising Christmas cards to send until early December - this year the Wildlife Trust has kindly given me 10 packets of my design as a thank you, so I'm sorted!

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  8. Oh I really like these cards Celia...and the back story behind them. thanks for sharing , even if you did mention the C word!

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    1. I'm always a bit late with C stuff - shops and galleries want it in so early!!!

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  9. How beautiful. Lovely to read about your process, and your see your sketches too.

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    1. I like the sketch for this print, for once it seemed to come out just as i pictured in my mind's eye!

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  10. Beautiful, and that pop of red is just perfect :)

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  11. Beautiful, Celia and what a good cause too.

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    1. Suffolk Wildlife Trust is a great charity - does so much to help the local wildlife and all the reserves are free to visit.

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  12. I really like that Celia. I have also been looking at your other cards and love them too. Not really ready to engage with the idea of Christmas yet but it is creeping up on me!

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    1. Thank you x
      Yes Christmas creeps up and then springs upon us!

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