Sunday, 3 July 2011

Cards and other small works

Our cards come from the experience of living close to nature in the countryside of Tasmania. We are nearly surrounded by native bushland that has a high level of wildlife living undisturbed. We are keen observers and keep records of species and watch the coming and going of natural cycles. Over the years we have had heavy rains, droughts, hot and cold - very cold! Generations of kangaroo species have lived around us and we put out a salad of oats, cabbage and apple every night at dusk. These are our companions. We have no dogs or cats. This makes it hard to have a garden in the conventional sense and vegetable gardens are in cages. From all this life comes our inspiration. Mothers feeding young, eagles overhead, possums at night noisily proclaiming their territorial  rights. We are keen poultry keepers and they contribute eggs to the table. Three separate flocks are kept - purebred Anconas, White Leghorns, and Minorcas. Each has a distinct personality and each flock contributes in a different way. Every day a flock is allowed in turn to free range. Occasionally a hawk or a Spotted Tail Quoll takes a bird so we always breed replacements using incubators and brooders. In the orchards we run Indian Runner Ducks. These are great layers but Forest Ravens are constantly trying to steal eggs.

This year has been the year of cards for us. Joanne conceives the image and cuts the lino. Handing it on to me, I then mount it type high on 19mm particle flooring and choose an ink colour that I always mix for that particular run. I try to match a colour to the emotive content. The stock is Fabriano Rosapina or a suitable etching paper of around 300gsm. This make a nice cushioned impression that just loves ink. Its also quite archival. Printing like this is quiet, just the sound of the press clinking.

 The printing itself is put across a couple of presses. The text is usually monotype Garamond with a few ATF ornaments and this is handled on an Adana 8x5. I often do this at markets etc so that the public can get an idea of how letterpress works. Its amazing how in some people a memory is flickered into life. An uncle or father who was a printer or a corner letterpress shop that lured fascinated kids in to look at the presses. Many folk who originally came from the UK had an Adana press as a child and printed for pocket money.
The linocut is always handled on a new style Chandler and Price (1934) pedal powered hand fed press. I like to run three forme rollers to get a perfect ink coverage. This is an ideal small run press. We usually do a run of about 50. Another old style (1904) Chandler and Price is set up with a scoring rule and this puts the fold into the card once the card is dry.
Jo does the packing and presentation and that’s about it!


Joanne said...

It's fun at Deloraine Market with Den!

Joanne said...

I look forward to selling our beautiful cards at Deloraine Market Saturday 1st October & at the Tasmanian Craft Fair in November at the Great Western Tiers Visitor Information Centre where I am having a stall again.