I have a slight obsession with stationery and prints. I drool helplessly in French supermarket ‘back to school’ aisles where lucky schoolchildren, at the end of the summer holidays with their school list in hand, get to go and buy new school diaries, fountain pens and cahier after cahier filled with pages lined in every imaginable way. I still have card and writing paper samples that I carefully stored away when I was 8. It will never be used. It’s just to look at and be inspired – even more so now that emails and blogs have superceded good old-fashioned letter writing. Which is why I write and send cards at any opportunity I can get. I now have too many framed prints to put up on my walls… clearly, a bigger house is needed to accommodate my print fixation. The one which has pride of place is ‘The Iceberg’ from Tugboat Printshop‘s Deep Blue Sea collection. I love that only 100 exist in the world.
So of course, I had to go on a course yesterday at Oak Studios in Hampstead run by Eleanor of Marby & Elm Store . This 2 hour course was an introduction to letterpress printing and we all got to make our own cards using the available type and an Adana press. It’s much more satisfying than rubber stamping because of the embossed effect you get from the press.
Here is what I made:
During my art foundation, one of our electives was print-making. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not got onto that elective – probably thrown a big tantrum in the middle of the library. Fortunately, I did get a place so I had already done a bit of lettepress using a vintage behemoth that took hours to set up and clean – yesterday’s press was much more user-friendly and used the same inks that I use for rubber stamping. In just over 2 hours, we were all able to prepare and print 2 sets of stationery.
During that electove I was also able to have a go at screenprinting and copper etching. I love the process of print-making and the satisfaction, once you have put in the preparation time, of being able to run off print after print on thick cardstock, beautifully coloured and embossed. My prints are technically pretty amateur, but I’ve still got them up on my walls. One of my favourites, which is more decorative than arty, is one that I made after playing around with an old Indian woodblock print of the type which would have been used to do repeat prints on sari materials. I had been given this as a gift so I brought it along to the studio, inked it up, put lots of padding underneath my card and printed away. Later, I worked into some of my prints with ink and beads – yep, my old favourite of sewing on paper again.
Other paper pretties that I like are: