Where did January go? A month almost over in the blink of an eye. I did manage a lovely day over at Tatton Park; I needed to deliver a painting to the folks here, so it was a perfect excuse for an excursion. I was dismayed to see that a much-loved ancient tree had been very badly damaged by the wind. When my boys were little they loved to hide inside the hollow trunk. The land manager has left the branches to decay naturally so other life forms will benefit, some consolation for the near demise of a very old oak.
I have been working on a new collection of designs for the spring trade fairs, mostly hand drawn but with lots of digital work added. So much for my intention of spending more time outdoors! The reaction to this new collection has been very positive and I am keeping my fingers crossed that some of the designs will make their way through the final selection process. All this sitting at the computer has made me determined to make time for more printmaking.
The very lovely thing about wood engraving is handling the wood. It arrives so beautifully wrapped, like a very pretty bar of soap. I love handling the tools, the feel of the paper, and the smell of the ink. The whole process is very satisfying though not without its frustrations. I have been making good use of my new press and keeping fit by all the pulling involved.
I got so obsessed with getting a rich, black, even print that I almost obliterated the finer details. Each print is unique in its own way, the first few are total rubbish, and then as you get into the swing things improve. Just as you think you have it cracked you notice a smudge here, a blotch there, an uneven bit where the ink wasn’t quite evenly applied. The stack of rejects steadily grows until you feel like throwing in the towel altogether. Now, I am talking about my own experiences you understand. I have met many fine craftsmen who do not have these problems but sadly I am a long way off that. However, I did enjoy getting back into the craft and managed to get together a little collection of prints and even made a little portfolio to contain them.
If you feel inspired to have a try you might like to visit this website for information about the wood, tools etc.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.