Thursday, June 29, 2006

Serendipidy and Change

I was proofing a couple of engravings for wine labels on tuesday evening when I realised that I was running short of ink. I found myself driving home this afternoon with a car laden with boxes full of ink - a gift of unwanted materials. This was a most pleasing juxtaposition of events. Here they are (click for an enlargement):

The larger tins are old and I am not yet sure what I can salvage. The smaller tins are much newer and much of the ink seems to be fine. Here is a large quantity of coloured, rubber-based inks.

However, I use black, oil-based inks.

But this has got me thinking. I used a rubber-based ink at Alembic Press and was very pleased with the results, despite the longer drying time. I particularly liked being able to leave the ink on the slab to carry on the next day. I don't think the drying time is going to be an issue with me being in the studio every day so I am considering... wondering...

Since this is a time of big changes, perhaps I should be more open to less familiar ways of working.

But... colour? Now there's a thought!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Horizons

June is really blooming! I worked through the morning on a piece of commercial work - a wine label. I then reviewed my current bookplates and planned what to do next for each of them. Finally, I made some mental notes about my forthcoming exhibition in Ely during July. I really need to finalise the engravings I will show and organise frames.

This was followed by lunch in the garden with J, finishing up the last of the goodies she brought back from France. The garden looks lovely at the moment; we ate close to this rose:

Some of you will already know of my news but I will also announce it here. After 26 years, I will be leaving teaching to concentrate on engraving and illustrating full-time. The story behind this is lengthy and complex but, essentially, financial problems in my college allowed me to volunteer for redundancy. In a few weeks, I will be building each day around engraving. Unfortunately, the arrangements are taking an awful lot of my time and I am making very slow progress with my various projects. Things will really speed up after the end of term. I will keep you posted with developments through this blog. A new life beckons.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Work; New Life

There is always something special about opening a parcel, especially when it contains beautiful woodblocks. The large and small blocks are boxwood and the other is lemonwood. Here is my work for the next few weeks:

The largest block is for a rather special bookplate. It has been commissioned in memory of the client's parents and everything in the design has significance. It is the most complex bookplate that I have been involved with but it has been a pleasure to work on this project. Here is a detail:

Boxwood is expensive but it is an absolute delight to engrave if detail is required. I am now clearing out the areas that will not print. This is laborious with boxwood, which resists such clearing but I want clear white areas around the lettering that is found at the top and bottom of the plate so I must keep at it.

Today, it seemed that summer was here again after some dull, damp days. The garden is looking glorious. Here is the large border:

I am sitting here contemplating some momentous news. I cannot go into detail yet but it seems that my dream of devoting myself completely to my art is finally going to happen! Watch this space... and fingers crossed.