Friday, November 11, 2011

Oxford And Onwards

I spent last weekend at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair and had a very busy and successful weekend. The fair takes place at Oxford Brookes University and features Fine Presses, book artists, book dealers and suppliers from all over the world; it happens every two years and it is always a pleasure to go and catch up with what others have been doing.

I splashed out on a stand with a screen in one of the quieter corners where I could sit and work as well as sell my things:

 I had room for two small browsers of engravings:

The rest of the front of the table was taken up with my handmade books and portfolios:

There was still room for me to engrave; I like to be able to show what it is that I do and let people handle the block.

 I never work on a commissioned project with so many distractions as its so easy to make a mistake. I brought out a personal project - some long tailed tits that I see on my walks. I actually made a lot of progress and this image will be available before too long:

I came home with many treasures, including 500 sheets of wonderful Magnani laid paper from John Purcell Paper. Magnani papers have been made in Italy since 1404. This will make wonderful notepaper as well as being used for book projects. They also supplied the lovely Curwen pattern paper on the right below; it was designed by Sarah Nechamkin. The paper on the left is a very individual paper by Susanne Krause who brought her paper from Hamburg to sell. I am going to use it for a single portfolio to hold engravings.

I use papers by Victoria Hall on all my small book projects; they are sensational. I bought some for my next books and some wonderful individual sheets for single portfolios and sketchbooks; here are three.
They are (c) Victoria Hall

A huge pleasure of the weekend was collecting my copy of "the Play Of Pericles Prince Of Tyre" from Barbarian Press. It is simply a staggering book and satisfying in every way. Design, printing, illustration (by Simon Brett) and binding were all breathtaking. I am looking forwards to a third collaboration with Jan and Crispin soon.

After Oxford, I caught up with framing and then travelled to Lancashire to deliver framed and unframed prints to Artroom Gallery at Garstang, near Preston, where they will be available from now until January.

Now I am back and have tidied the design studio so that I can get on with the work in hand. I am making the final drawing for an exciting illustration. More about this very soon.

I am pretty much in the studio until Christmas now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Oxford - Its That Time Of Year Again

Its November and there have been some wonderfully dramatic light effects to enjoy on my morning walks as the sun breaks through the fog:

Meanwhile, back in the studio there are busy times.

Every other year, during the first weekend of November, I attend the Oxford Fine Press Fair at Oxford Brookes University. Full details are here. I will be working on a new engraving and, apart from offering a wide range of my wood engravings for sale, I will also be (hopefully) selling a number of my handmade limited edition books, all of which feature my wood engravings.

Back in the studio, more Woman In Black Portfolios dry under pressure under weights and in the book press, ready for me to take to Oxford:

I will also have copies of my miniature concertina-style book "A Prospect Of Ely", which I have been binding in between working on other projects:

The newest book features five of my tiny "Cinderella" stamps. Here are three of them during engraving:

... and here are some printed sheets from the book drying on the ceiling rack:

So when I printed proofs from the blocks to accompany the fifteen special copies, I was running out of space to spread them out to dry. However, "Red", the 1902 Albion handpress does make an elegant drying rack:

In fact the printing studio is a real mess at the moment as I start to gather things ready for the weekend, as well as finish projects in hand. I will have a good clean when I return.

In addition to these, I will also have copies of my "25 Bookplates" for sale, and samples of other illustrations.

The Fine Press Fair is open  11am - 6pm on Saturday, 5th  and 10am - 5pm on Sunday 6th November. Admission is by catalogue at £5, which covers admission on both days, as well as the lectures on Sunday.

Do please come and say hello if you attend.

Friday, September 30, 2011

From Yorkshire to Essex and an Arty Weekend

Last week was spent on the Yorkshire coast in a small but comfortable cottage just a couple of miles walk along the shore from Whitby. No phone or Internet made this a relaxing week with much walking, reading and drawing - done for the sheer enjoyment of drawing. Here is Whitby looking from Sandsend; the abbey can be seen on the headland:

This week has been crowded with work in hand, a troublesome tooth finally fixed and preparations for this coming weekend when I will have a table at the Ashdon Arts and Crafts Fair. Events take place throughout the village, which is near Saffron Walden in Essex. Tickets cost just £2.50 and are available from the Village Hall; the postcode is CB10 2ET.

I will be selling my whole range of engravings and will also have hand printed cards and a copy of "The Woman In Black Portfolio" for people to see. It will be great to meet any readers so do please introduce yourselves if you can get along. The event is open between 10am and 5pm and you will find me in the hall of the Village School. Teas are available so if you cannot find me I will probably be choosing somehome made cake!

Here is the flyer (click to enlarge):

Finally, a reminder that my engravings are still on show at the Bridge Street Pottery and Gallery in Hay-On-Wye. See here.

Thats my weekend. I hope you have a good one.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Hay-On-Wye Exhibition

Last Sunday was the Private View of an exhibition featuring my garden and wildlife engravings at the Brook Street Pottery & Gallery in Hay-On-Wye. Also on display were Maureen Minchin's stunning decorated earthenware. The morning was particularly busy and, by the time I slipped away for a late lunch where were a pleasing number of red dots to be seen.

I waited until the end of the day before taking out the camera and making a record of the room:

The exhibition continues until October 16th 2011. The gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday 10:30am - 5:30pm.

The telephone number is 01497 821070 and the email address is
The postcode is HR3 5BQ

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Woman In Black Portfolio

I have just finished making the first of a limited edition of portfolios of prints that were engraved to illustrate a fine press edition of Susan Hill's "The Woman In Black". The project was never completed and the images are being used (many in a much reduced form) in a new hardback edition published by Profile Books.

I wanted to be able to show the illustrations as they were meant to be seen; printed directly from the original woodblocks. Susan and the publisher were both encouraging and so I started work. Everything is enclosed in a handmade portfolio measuring approximately 295 x 215mm. It is covered with handmade marbled paper:

Inside there is a folder made of black card:

Which opens to reveal the sheets inside:

There is a title page, a page of text, twelve signed engravings and a colophon page:

The whole project started many months ago with a group of lemonwood blocks:

Each design had been drawn in ink in a sketchbook. I copied them in reverse onto the blocks and started to engrave the images onto the blocks:

Here are the twelve blocks ready for printing:

If I tilt the camera, you can see the shallow marks cut into the surface of the wood:

Here is the set of engravings. They are not shown to scale. All are (c)andyenglish and should not be used without permission:

When I started to make the portfolio, I decided to engrave one new block to act as a title page. I started by engraving the text (in reverse of course):

Next I started to engrave the gravestone that makes up the image.:

Here is a proof pulled from the inked block:

Finally, here is the completed title page:

I am making an edition of 100 portfolios which are for sale on my website. They will be dispatched as they are finished. Email me if you require one urgently.

Click here for details.

Signed and numbered copies of individual engravings will soon be available.