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At the weekend I …

September 5, 2016

Oh dear! A bit of a disaster this weekend on my further adventures as a printmaker.  While I have been working on the letterpress side of my industry I have neglected my other pursuits.  I am able to do relief printing, and other intaglio methods; but, screen printing still needs to be perfected. Perhaps, not yet perfect but at least beyond the bounds of ‘ had a few lessons’.Yellow

So after gathering a few tools I began this weekend … I set up the table; made a stencil which incidentally was a mistake; first, it was a unnecessary detail for a first attempt. However, at the point of no return I stuck with it, or rather didn’t stick with it,  the bits kept falling off. This begs my first question can I use glue on the mesh to ensure the stencil remains secure? Or perhaps do the stencils in a different order; the background last rather than first?

This all became unimportant as I drew the ink across the screen, the squeegee was very bendy and the screen had no ping. So when I lifted the frame that was hinged at the top, the paper stuck and when I gently pulled it off; it came away with a horrible squelchy sound.  

The result was dreadful.  

I am reluctant to blame the tools ; but they were very cheap.  As a print maker I have always bought the best tools I could afford but thought I could wing it this time with economic cuts.

… I have this morning already ordered better quality tools and will be back having ago at the weekend.

I would value any thoughts as regards paper stencils; I don’t have the facilities for complicated digital methods but do want to get a good well registered piece and when I have gained confidence … play a bit.   

Leading from the front without leaving anyone behind

September 4, 2016

Pretty much!!

Julia Bard

A  friendJulia+JeremyCorbyn_Highbury_150816_AZI_5607 I haven’t seen for a long time contacted me out of the blue to ask who I was voting for in the Labour Party leadership elections. She was torn, she said, because, although she basically agrees with Jeremy Corbyn, she thinks he’s “a lousy leader”. This is the line being put by his opponents, including the charismatic Owen Smith himself. To paraphrase what seems to be the entire campaign: “Jeremy’s a nice chap, principled and all that, but not a leader.”

I’m so fed up with this claim that, with apologies to my poor friend who wrote me a quick three-line note and got this long reply, I decided to revive my old blog and publish my response to her.

Photo: Aziz Rahman

Yes, I’m not only voting for Jeremy Corbyn, I’m campaigning for him. I left the Labour Party in the 1980s because I couldn’t stand the…

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Silent Sunday

September 4, 2016


Its Saturday again!

September 3, 2016

matrixThis week has been good,I bought a couple more things for nelabligh at nopress. While I have not taken possession of my press yet and still unaware of lead times, I take joy in considering other tools required.  Nonetheless each item takes much thought and discussion with myself mostly but others close at hand are subject to my painful decision making.  The whys and wherefores of a photopolymer plate and imposing stone; who would not want one of those? During this time another useful little table found its way into my dining room … my long suffering other half has long since given up  understanding the requirements of a woman on a mission.

So after last week’s short falls I have gathered strength and ready to fulfill the deficits that upset the apple cart.

Today, I am going to Whittington Press Presstival; with a shopping list, while I might not meet all the requirements; I am looking forward to the trip.

Whittington Press, Whittingham Court is near Cheltenham; little over an hour away and promises an afternoon of joy looking at some working presses from USA, France and Germany.  There will be an informal exhibition of working including copies of Venice, its latest title and pages of Matrix 34; which I am particularly interested in, as we have previous copies in the library and they are  lovely.  There will I hope be some demonstrations and I know there will be some hand-made papers, printed wall papers, books and ephemera, along with some equipment and type for sale.  What more could I ask for? Oh, yes and nearby there will be a village fete and maybe a beer for the ‘long suffering’ one before I drive home again.   

A poem … the learner

September 1, 2016

Looked back at the poem … and remember the day …

Living, Libraries and [Dead] Languages

This is a the poem … I really would value your thoughts even on Silent Sunday

The dinghy was robust, squat and buoyant
pulled up on the slipway
undignified and vacant.
On the shingle slightly tilted to one, side -waiting
The coming tide lapped at the river’s edge.
She tiny, not so robust
had made the journey many times before.
but now alone.
The breeze still and warm
the second tide at noon was slack .
The ideal time for the learning girl.
Tentative steps in her summer pumps
on shingle, golden in the sunlight.

He walked behind rolling a cigarette
not anxious, his first born taking the oars
Until now he had taken the strain
her within his arms
Her tender limbs not meatier than the the oars themselves
they too –  taller!
He, now cigarette rolled  and strategically behind his ear
Boat pulled into the water at…

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That was a happy holiday that was …

August 30, 2016

Yellow flowerOh dear,  I had so much planned for this extended bank holiday weekend.  After a few weeks of workshops and courses,I decided to stay at home and finish a few tasks and practice a some new found skills. The only date, was one with my brother who has recently returned home from hospital after the lower part of his left leg amputated.

So with a full 4 days  of ‘work’ planned I began on Friday morning, a couple of hours in, I found myself not being creative.   The the joys of being at home with some music, a couple of books and tea was far more inviting.

When I did attempt to set some letterpress in  chase, I failed when I discovered I didn’t have enough spacing; I found writing yet another shopping list, a delight and vital if I do want to continue printing as I hoped.

I did manage to finish some tasks but again once that was done; being down the garden enjoying the joys of my previous hard work was far more rewarding.  

The highlight of the weekend was being with my brother, finding  him not yet recovered but very positive about future and looking forward to returning to the activities he had enjoyed before and bravely more beside.  

So while I bemoan my lack of hair and motivation, he boosted me ; not back to sped but to enjoy the break.  While I am not inclined towards being busy at the moment;  in  a week or two, there will be no choices. More courses, exhibitions and shopping lists to be fulfilled.  

So back to tea and Steven King  and a happy holiday.  

The view from my studio …. now can I see yours?

August 29, 2016

The view from my upstairs studio is no great shakes.  Facing southeast,I do get a chance to imagine the sunrise although there is often no real concrete evidence of this.  Until she does burn of the cloud then I have to pull the blinds completely  until her spiteful rays no longer interfere with my work.

If my view were a cinema screen then the sky holds the  top righthand corner  and a little further  right a distance roof and the sound of crows and magpies.  These are the only evidence of wildlife; bar a mangy cat that sleeps a while on a flat roofed garage at centre stage.  On the left is a terrace row of tiny Victorian houses  and their grey tiled roofs some with a plastic newness; a mirror image of those on my side.  

I often wonder in times of distraction,  (why else would I look out on such a god forsaken place) if those opposite are slightly wider and grander; but short of counting bricks and I have tried that in desperate times or going over with   tape measure then the jury remains out.      

I think this is quite beautiful!Neither side of the road has a front garden just a narrow stripe that serves no purpose and requires a cosmetic wall and gate; most have fallen in bad repair or removed for the income of modernity indoors and not replaced. In some cases there are chequed tiles, a  ‘path’ leading to door that has long since been Victorian.

So at my eye level, I see a TV aerials and the new round alternative  and a giant cobweb of  trailing cables that seem to come from nowhere and go somewhere else that doesn’t bear logic.  

My attention is drawn down and now squinting through the now opened blinds and more interesting than the job in hand, is the debate between new doors and windows having experienced the new placements in the 1970s  and those more recent.  Why should I not be an expert?  

I can see Nos. 2, 4 and 6 and leaning out a little I can see the cleaner come and go at no. 8; does it really take that long to clean throughout? She takes longer to light her ciggy, touch up her lippy and check her mobile.  I see quite clearly the comings and goings; the bumps and scrapes of the cars as they maneuver from precious parking spaces.  

Then there are the wheelie bins, finding no space in the front garden, not the luxury of a side entrance, are left on the road side each decorated with number and rendered unique almost as creatively as the aforementioned draped   communication cables.   

Not a pretty sight, but it is home and it serves a pleasant backdrop when life on the other side is less comfortable.