Shop Pics…..

Heading to the West Coast tomorrow — the young(est) lad and I.  So, some recent pics of the printshop from different angles…..and including Gertie…..

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Catching Up…

Nearly two and a half months now……since my last post…..I’m falling into old and bad blog habits again.  Not good.  And it’s not because nothing has been happening. Summer has come and gone, though the good weather is holding.  Many of the leaves are now well on their way to fully turned and the days are really getting short — at both ends.

Summer saw me working with printmaker Alan Grabelsky from Baltimore.  He struggled with me and my ways as we tried to realize a couple of his images.  It all worked out ok. Here is one of his woodblocks(I’ll have to include the print from it next time)….

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….He was happy and I was impressed, and enough so that I started my own printmaking efforts again.  I went back to where I left off with wanting to re-do my ‘Elements’ series in a larger edition and in a different medium, the first being an edition of seven each rendered as stencil prints.  This re-working saw me do them as enhanced linocuts in an edition of thirty-five (plus several artist prints for the kids).  They worked out half decent and in time to get them in Lyghtesome Gallery’s (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) annual print exhibition…..Earth, water, Air, and Fire….

Earth (Elements)

Water (Elements)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire (Elements)

Air (Elements)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve since gone on to start another print — an arrangement of my Teardrops For Creation that I designed several years back but did nothing with.  That print is now at the messy stage where I want to tear it up and throw it away.  I will, though, stay with it til completion and see how it turns out…..then I may very well tear it up and throw it away.  Still a ways to go on that one…….

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I also had the rare but very special opportunity to print the blocks opt one John Murphy who I believed died before his time.  His daughter, Alison, is the co-ordinator at the New Brunswick Crafts Council and, when she heard what I do, she asked me if I could print these woodcuts that he gads not had time or health enough to print himself.  I said I would try and, with a little difficulty and inventiveness, I did.  I asked if I could keep a set for myself and she agreed. The images are very nice and very well rendered in the wood. They inked and printed nicely….

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….So, things around the studio/printshop have not been totally idle…with other things to mention maybe next time….

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Chicago (#10)…

Well, it wasn’t ‘Saturday in the park’, but rather Wednesday outside Bouctouche at ‘The Woodchuck’s’ little Carving and Antique and odds and ends shop.  Twas there, after staring at the shelves it was on for five minutes and not seeing it, that the Woodchuck himself pointed out to me the little tabletop press.  He had remembered me being there last year and asking about printing stuff and said that I must have seen his little press.  I said no, and he took me back over to the open book case it was on and showed me.

I think the reason I hadn’t seen it was that I wasn’t expecting to see anything that tiny. That, and it was black like every other item on the shelves.  Anyway, I bought it and brought it home, and have now pretty much identified it thanks to the folks on the Briar Press site.  I am pretty much sure that it is a Sigwalt Chicago #10 — made sometime after 1910, I believe, in Chicago by the Sigwalt Company.  It has a printing area of about 2 1/2” x 4” and weighs maybe thirty pounds.  So, it is a cute little press!  This one needs a chase, a pawl for advancing the ink disc, a new roller, and some cleaning up and repainting. But nothing too serious.  I really don’t know what it’s worth in good shape but that is irrelevant as it is a great little conversation piece…

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A Month On…And More…

A month on…and more…and I guess things have been happening even though I’ve been making no mention.  However, some stories cannot be told til they are all but ended. So, more about those later on if all goes well.

In the meantime, with July over half gone and I/we about to leave for a week at the coast, I figured I’d better touch base with the blog.  Time has flown and things have been happening.  This past week will do as a bit of a microcosm of it all.  As far as the printshop goes, it included my continued adventures with printmaker Alan Grabelsky from Milwaukee and cleanup from a visit by Phil LeBlanc’s group of future entrepreneurs from the week before (really the only cleanup was Phil’s dumping of a case of 24 pt Bembo on the floor and the ensuing sorting of type by him and myself).  It also included a followup visit by some of the group — four to be exact — Jacob, Katie, Anna, and Andrew.  They showed up with food and drink and were wanting to do something.  Something ended up being coasters, pics of which I did not take but will and insert later on.  However, I did get a picture of the printing of said coasters on the C & P.  Anna, unfortunately, had to leave before we got going….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThings went well and a good time was had by all, I think.  Even Gertie who was in for the night and, after a treat, settled in to watch…

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I should, however, go back to earlier in the day — just before supper — when my friend Barry Grant called and asked me to drop by with some ink and give my opinion on a little print job he was doing.  Barry has about everything I have and more and is working towards getting it all set up.  His main press, like mine, is a flatbed proof press.  His is a Challenge — a very nice little press.  He was working on some wedding invites which I gather came out ok.  I managed to catch a pic of Barry hard at it…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…he has a nice little setup there with a decent variety of handset type. Between the two of us, we have a better than nice little setup — ‘one for all and all for one’….

Now, on with July beginning with a week at the beach…..

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A Coaster, A Poster, And A Jo…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…..A porcupine out on a limb.  You don’t see one of these every day and especially in the daytime, but this appears to be a fairly young one and maybe he/she doesn’t know enough to stay out of site and away from along the road where this was taken.  There must be quite a few porcupines as I’ve seen more than usual laying dead along the road.

This was maybe the high point of the weekend as my better half and I took a drive up to an open house at Megan Billings’ pottery studio on route 104 in the Hainesville area. A dandy little drive on a dandy little day.

The low point of the weekend was hearing about the death of Ian Lumsden, former director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and someone I called a friend, having known him and Cathy for a long time and mostly outside the art end of things.  He was a real decent sort.

As far as things in the studio go, it’s been a little on the slow side over the past few weeks — and it has been a few weeks since I’ve done a post here.  About three weeks ago, Phillip LeBlanc was by to talk about his Fredericton Makers Space project that he’s been getting off the ground.  There was to be an event at the Convention Centre downtown featuring a number of those involved and he was looking to do something as part of it that visitors could take away.  We came up with the idea of  coaster/beer mat with info on one side and the logo on the other.  The interesting part was that the ‘type’ for rthe logo would be printed on a 3D printer by a friend of his and mounted to a block and used in the little tabletop Kelsey which I would take to the event.  People could print their own.  It all went well, I guess.  Here is a picture of Phil printing the info on one side and one of both sides of true finished product…

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The next day after the big Convention Centre event, I had a visit from Sophia Melanson’s class from McKenzie College in Moncton. She had called me the week before and arranged it and they came over for two or three hours.  They’re were seven all together and they got to handset and print their names on the C&P and Ludlow set their names to be included in a poster I threw together for the visit.  They also got to print one of the beer mats from the night before as the little press was still inked up.  I’m still waiting for them to send me pictures of the visit, but I did take a couple of the poster….

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Other than that, there has not been a lot going on print-shop wise…..a couple of things in the offing, though, but too early to say anything about.  And, though not really print related, I did get to finish the jo staff I had started for one of my Aikido buddies, Nevil.  The rough ‘blank’ that I had split out of a 2″ x 6″ piece of hickory has been taking up space by the door since last year.  So, between my not going away to the annual Aikido workshop in Lunenburg and my taking a little slack time, I got at it and finished it. I don’t know how it will hold up….the proof of that pudding will be in the eating but it appears that it might be a half decent jo.  Here are some pics of the progress…first the ‘split out blank….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…..next the hand planed and shaped jo followed by what it looks like after having been wetted down and scraped, fired with a torch ad sanded and then re-fired and oiled with tung oil and sanded again, and finally the finished jo after a couple of cold pilings and polishings and a hot wax polishing and a cold wax polishing…..

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….hopefully Nevil will be happy with it after his long wait…..

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‘The Pain Face’ by Shane Neilson…

One week stretched to two weeks and now it’s been three since I last took stock of things here.  Since last time, the snow has pretty much gone from around town here, although I am sure there is still plenty back in the woods (if you can find any woods to get back into), and the river, although still high, has dropped at least three or four feet.  along with it, the subsidiary rivers and streams and brooks have also dropped, making it good for fishing — in fact very good as evidenced by the brook trout my next door neighbour caught yesterday morning.  He caught five and gave me one which was one of the biggest I’ve seen…

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…The back yard is clear of snow and is greening up but needs some warmth.  However, our post apocalyptic(Renovation) rhubarb remnant is coming alive….

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It is Spring in name only, staying cold and overcast with only the odd sunny day.  Nonetheless, Gertie and I have been taking advantage of sitting on the back step sometimes and she is especially spending lots of time outside and, thankfully, not going to far afield for too long.  She’s hanging around pretty good and spending the nights inside…

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As far as the printshop goes, I have had a couple of projects on the go.  The front liner has been a poetry broadside for Shane Neilson of Guelph, Ontario.  It was on the back-burners for a while as I tried to come up with an image that would not be too corny alongside what is a serious poem, ‘The Pain Face’ —one that to me is thorny and razor sharp.  So it took some time as it tapped into my dormant creative juices, and actually came together on Good Friday.  So, from there I tried to use the ‘cheat’ method of transferring the image to a block with furniture stripper (which did not really work so I had to draw it on in the end) and then proceeded to cut the image in and then cut the block for printing. I also set the type with the title in 36 pt  and the poem itself in 24 pt Bembo handset from the type foundry of Michael and Winnifred Bixler in Skaneateles, New York.

Next I tore the paper to size and dampened it.  I used  300gsm Hahnemühle German Etching Paper which I had been saving for something special.  It was the first paper to jump to mind when I read the poem as it has a slight yellowish colour to it.  It is soft — a waterleaf — and takes a really nice deboss and, as I said, I dampened it for the main reason of easing the pressure on the press, which in this case was the Vandercook SP15.
The first step in printing was to do the image.  I wanted to pull some variations as proofs for Shane to choose from.  I ended up with five that offered a range of no tinting to some tinting of both the paper and the image.  I used a yellow acrylic wash wet into wet for the paper and for the image a bit of graphite rubbed onto it in the area of the face — just to add a hint of shadow. I did two of each and numbered them and sent one of each off to Shane.  His choice, or I guess he gave it over to his son.  From there, I tried to consistently match his choice for an edition.  After a slow drying of things, it has been sent and received and is ok, having talked with him this evening.  The end of a great little project.  Following are some pics of ‘The Pain Face’…

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Just In…..

Two postings in one day…..amazing…….but, just in, a picture of my attempt at a goblet sent to me by Tony Collrin of the New Brunswick Crafts Council.  On forgetting to take a picture of the finished product, I called and asked if they could send me one.  Here it is….

Photo Credit: Tony Collrin

Photo Credit: Tony Collrin

Their ‘Goblet Grab’ is this Friday evening in Saint John…..check their website……

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