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.