Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Open Studios 2008

Its that time of year again and I'm getting ready for my open studio.

A warm welcome to any of my readers who might be in the Ely area during the first two weekends of July (5th/6th and 12th/13th) between 11am-6pm. See here for details (you will have to look me up in the directory).

In 2007, I used a gallery space near Cambridge but this year I will be at home near Ely in Cambridgeshire. Of course, I am nowhere near ready yet - mainly because I am still continuing to work on engravings ( had originally planned to take the month of July off but I don't want to build up a big waiting list).

My studio is a room within a larger garage building and , while it is fine for day to day work, it isn't the greatest space for demonstrating engraving or displaying my wares. I spent this afternoon and evening clearing space in the mail room to set up a table. This was no mean feat as it was cramed full of all kinds of junk that has either been discarded or moved elsewhere - such as into the camper:

Here is the cleared space - yes this is the "after" view, not the "before":

Here is some of the printing paraphanalia. The large blue press in pieces is an Arab treadle press undergoing cleaning and restoration. To the right is a bookbinder's nipping press on a stand. Below that you can just make out a small Adana 5 x 3 resting on an unrestored Vandercook No. 0 proofing press. In the background are small cases of type and cans of ink. Click on the image to enlarge it:

Here is the view from the cleared space looking into the studio. You can see the small Albion through the door and cases of type outside.

Thankfully, it was cooler today, which made the work easier. Yesterday was rather hot and the garden started to wilt a little. The lavender is looking lovely:

The stone heads seem to enjoy in the sun:

A robin decided to strike the kind of pose that I would love to see on a snowy day:

One of the hens finds a shady spot:

Meanwhile, I have been continuing work on a very detailed block that features a nude. It is very difficult to capture the texture of flesh with wood engraving. I treat the figure as if I were drawing it in ink - a series of lines. The scale at the side of the block is in centimetres, not in inches. the block that you see is two inches wide.:

The design features a book. I find it easier to draw it larger and then reduce the drawing. I prefer to do this by the old fashioned method of squaring up the drawing and then copying it onto smaller grids. Below, you can see the original sketch and two smaller variations:

The book was transferred to the block and then other elements were added.......

...and engraved.

Well it looks like I will have a busy few days now. One of the good things about the open studio is that I will be working. I hope to have this block finished at the weekend - and the next one started.

Finally, if you do make it to my Open Studio, do stop off and see our friend Heather Maunders who produces vibrant watercolours. Find directions from the Cambridge Open Studios website.


d. moll, said...

The piece you are working on is so small, I can hardly fathom it. What sort of tools are you using, how do you keep them sharp and do you wear special glasses? Good luck with your open studio!

Celia Hart said...

I'm busy tidying too! Hope to call in on Sunday.

Do you manage to get work done during the open days?


Annie B said...

Wish I could come and visit you and Celia in your studios! Wishing you great success. Oh, and I sure do love those stone heads!

Celia Hart said...

Cliff and I enjoyed our visit to your studio yesterday. I didn't realise that lovely book plate was in the packet with the print - thank you!

Hope you get lots of visitors next week too.


Tracy Turner said...

I've just discovered your marvellous blog and fabulous prints from Celia's blog. Celia and I did a lino printmaking course with Richard Bawden back in the Spring.

Now I've discovered you I'm eager to visit, so may pop over during open studios.