“Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst..” October by Robert Frost October here in my neck of the woods can be magnificent, golden sun on autumn leaves, misty-moisty mornings clear to reveal blue skies, the smell of wood smoke, all is magical until the dreaded turning back of the clocks. The extra hour in bed is welcome; the dark evenings are definitely not! Before the clocks went back we did manage to fit in a few grand days out. We drove a short distance over the border to Wales and visited Chirk Castle; driving through early morning mist and heavy grey skies it was rewarding to find ourselves in an enchanted place. The mist evaporated to reveal the castle and gardens in all their glory. I was particularly taken with a small tower, which put me in mind of Rapunzel. Chirk is a National Trust property and you can read more about its seven hundred year history here. The gardens are truly beautiful and are filled with tall clipped yew trees. You can wonder past herbaceous borders and through woodland walks and on a clear day there are great views of Shropshire and the Welsh hills. Work has kept me busy but I did manage to finish the hare painting that I started in the summer. A whole season has past and at times I thought the progress was more akin to a tortoise than a hare, I thought I would never finish it. I bought a Canon iP4950 which produces incredibly detailed prints, the printer itself was very reasonably priced but as with all ink jet printers the cost of quality inks are almost as expensive as the actual printer and I am restricted to A4 size. It did used to be the case that dye based inks had no longevity and could not be regarded as archival in the way pigment inks could but the new Canon Chromalife 100 plus inks are now expected to have an album life of 200 years or more. I did consider buying a pigment based printer but had to take into account the fact that they have a tendency to dry up if not in regular use. Forgive me if I sound like an advert for Canon, I assure you I am not being paid to say all this. You can see the finished print here in my Etsy shop There has been a little time to play and I enjoyed attending a book-making workshop with artist Louisa Boyd. The concertina books we made concentrated on paper surface manipulation techniques, including, cutting, scoring and piercing. Lou had pre-prepared the images we used and explained how she had used Thermofax screens to print her designs. As with all good workshops I came away buzzing with new ideas and a determination to do more screen prints. Lou also showed us some of her hand bound artists books and I encourage you to see her highly individual work for yourself here- and she has a Facebook page here.