First of all, before I forget, I would like to thank Olivia at 4roomsandthemoon for nominating me for a blog award and also Julie from beadholder.etsy.com for listing one of my books in a treasury.

I would also like to thank everyone who visited my blog over Christmas and left kind messages. We had a very enjoyable and busy Christmas with family and friends but now the last guest has departed, I have been enjoying a bit of time to myself, time to play!

In September, my husband gave me a set of wood/lino cutting tools. Now, some women like perfume, others bags and shoes, but for me, I just love receiving craft tools! Last Christmas I got a Japanese hole punch which works like a dream, this year I treated myself to needle nosed pliers and a crimping tool, aren’t I the lucky one? However, I digress, I have been playing with my lino cutting tools and have managed to make several prints of a barn owl feather for a little book project I have been working on called “Silent Flight”.

Cutting lino is fraught with difficulties and I have many failed attempts which I consigned to the bin. The wood cutting tools gave a much better result than my old "school" set but as a print maker I feel I have a long way to go, however I have enjoyed myself immensely and have made a great deal of mess in the process.


  1. I love doing this, too, but haven't in a couple of years.
    I recall the speedball inks used to come in an oil based permanent ink. But now, do you only find waterbased ones which are not resistant to water?

    I have been wanting to make a print and then wash over it with watercolor. I suppose I could just use acrylic paint instead of ink. But I've just been trying to figure out what happened to the oil based inks.

    Probably an environmental or health concern made them obsolete.

  2. Exquisite feathers acornmoon - I too like embroidery bits and pieces for presents - best of all a bag of bits of material - satin, velvet - all the touch-feely ones - enjoy your lin cutting tools. Happy New Year.

  3. Dear Dana, I think you can still buy oil based inks, I thought that the water based ones would be less mess. I suppose you could paint a wash ground and then print on top?

    Dear Weaver, you are a girl after my own heart! Happy New Year to you too.

  4. As a fan of old woodblock prints, I'm glad to see you are doing so well. I got some old children's illustration prints for Christmas which is just what I wanted. Have a great 2009 and keep up the great work.

  5. Beautiful feather... it's so light, and well.... feathery!I do believe the first and only time I used wood cutting tools I required several Band-Aids (plasters)and have not pursued it since. Ouch! :-)

  6. Your feather design has worked so well.
    I think your present would be just perfect for me too!
    Like weaver of grass I love getting threads and fibers although this year my husband has given me an easel.
    Have a great New Year.x

  7. Hi Valerie,
    Thank you! I just received the little book "A to Z Flora" yesterday, and it is the sweetest little thing! I can barely wait to give it to my friend, Flora. I know she will love it. I bought myself some carving tools and a block of lino last summer - I had forgotten about them - I've never tried this, but I've always wanted to, and now I intend to give it a try!

  8. Dear Liv, I am so pleased that the book arrived in one piece!

    If anyone is tempted to have a go at lino printing here are two things that I have learnt- (the hard way!)

    No 1, warm your lino first, a radiator is good for this.

    No 2, and this is important, always cut away from your hand!!!

    This blog is all about sharing inspiration, I have been inspired to try lino cutting by Rima at The Hermitage and Celia at Purple Podded Peas, follow the links in my blogroll to be inspired further.

  9. Your feathers look wonderful - I had to smile at your craft tool presents, one of my friends makes silver jewelery and she was so excited on her birthday last year to receive a craft tool from her husband that she'd wanted for ages:)
    Have a great New Year:)

  10. Hello! There are also "eraser-like" blocks that are much softer and easier to cut than lino. The catalog www.dickblick.com sells them. I so prefer using them over linoleum.

  11. I LOVE your Christmas gift selections! Tools and craft "essentials" are the best...they're fun, helpful & never collect dust!
    Beautiful feather...love your design~
    Happy New Year, Friend~

  12. I just bought myself a Christmas present....your little book. It looks so sweet; I can't wait to see it up close.

  13. These feathers are beautiful. I can't wait to see what else you create with your new toys!!

    Happy, healthy New Year to you!!!

  14. Valerie, you've inspired me to get my cutting tools back out! I have some of the soft lino that Holly (my daughter who posted here) recommended.
    It's actually quick fun - not a lengthy project like a painting.

    Your watercolor artwork is so light and delicate.

    How nice to find your blog. I'll be back!


  15. I think your feather is lovely and looks perfect on the front of your little book. I too have recently bought some lino cutters and lino and inks, thanks for the tips, for when I get started. Look forward to more prints.

  16. The feather looks so light, and I like the texture of the tooling on the block itself as well as the prints!

    I'm reminded of woodcuts I have always admired, such as John Nash's (and his paintings!). There were also some by an artist called Monica Poole - haven't seen them around for a while.

    Happy New Year!

  17. Happy New Year, and thank you for reminding me of the fun of discovering how to play with a new medium.

    I used to know how to do lots of printmaking, lino through etching. And time passed, and my mind and hands have got to get together again.

    Yes, heating the lino is definitely a great tip.

    This past fall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York had a splendid exhibit of British printmaking from the early mid 1900's. It was superb. Lots of lino prints, my favorite artist being Sybil Andrews. She had a wonderful sense of color and figure out how to reduce complexity into very striking images.

    I now have a set of wood engraving tools that I once gave to my late father, who I knew greatly admired Thomas Bewick. My dad never used those tools, and now I do hope to give them a try. Maybe this year.

    I do love the concept of the new year and the jolt it might just give our creativity.


  18. "A Happy New Year" welcome to my visitors old and new and thank you Holly for the info about materials.

    It is always good to learn about new artists so thanks to Ralph, I shall investigate further.

    Frances, I love Sybil Andrews lino prints, amazing!

    I look forward to seeing lots of new and inspirational prints from my blogland friends, happy carving everyone.

  19. Exquisite and delicate!

    Happy new year, Valerie! All the best. xx

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  21. Is there no end to your talents? I am completely enraptured. All Season's greetings to you and yours.

  22. This is beautiful Valerie! Really beautiful. It is some achievement to get it to look so real and delicate. I think you are being modest! :-)

  23. I know just what you mean. Give me paper ,pencils, crayons ,anything like that and I am happy.
    This wood/lino cutting looks difficult..Love the feather!
    And congrats with the award...

  24. Bother.

    This post is going to lead me to greater expense.

    I remember having wonderful fun with lino printing when I was at school and, although I have done none since, have often wondered why it is under-used in illustration, the results can symultaneously be so simple and yet so subtle; truly impressive and atmospheric when done well.

    Perhaps you will inspire a resurgance!

    Fortunately I have a birthday between now and next Christmas and know now what will be on my list of requests.

    Thanks for the inspiration.