Saturday, June 18, 2005

Notes from a Darkened Room

We are having something of a heatwave in East Anglia this weekend. I was up early this morning to walk with our lurcher along the old droves and ancient lanes that thread between the fields surrounding the village. Very soon it was quiet save for the birds and insects. The landscape still had the freshness of June but the sun shimmered across the wheatfields and promised long dry days to come.

And so I returned to work in a windowless room - no natural light or ventilation.

This does suprise some people and it was not my original plan. In the old house, I often worked at a first floor window. The trouble was I often gazed out of the window (I am wont to daydream) instead of working. I also had problems as the light changed, especially at night when I often couldn't make out the fine pencil marks that I sometimes use to guide my tools.

When I was converting the pressroom over the Christmas holiday, I had, at first, intended to set a window into the existing wall to let light flood in and give ventilation. I changed my mind for several reasons. Firstly I was afraid of dust. Without the window, the pressroom is a sealed box. I can keep dust at bay and I do not suffer from the problems that specks of dust cause when printing woodblocks. Secondly, I decided to standardise my light source. I have a large flourescent tube to light the room but set up a table lamp with a powerful and moveable "daylight" bulb which allows me to pick up my work at any time of day and night and always have the same light conditions. I have been very pleased with this. Today has also proved that the pressroom is actually a cool and comfortable place to work in as the insulation that kept my bones warm in winter cool the flesh in summer.

Right now I am on a break and a large mug of tea is at my side. The new bookplate has already been proofed and I think that it passes muster until one looks at the lettering. What did I tell you? Still, This is only the first state and I will soon be back at work, taking each letter at a time and fixing things.

Many thanks for your comments and emails. I will sit down and reply later today.


yochanan said...

good morning just stopped by to say hello.

off the computer you would know me as John Center

name of the rose said...

Very nice blog inspire me to print (again).