Mostly about chickens

Birds of a feather...the chicken on the left is a V.I.B. (Very Important Bird). She came all the way from the Border Tart, with a gorgeous Easter card of her sisters. Unfortunately she arrived in the middle of the upheaval, (see below) but now she has her own hanging space, next to the folk bird. There are some very special and affordable treasures on this site, and we at the Hovel wish the Tart all good wishes with her new venture.

Meanwhile, in the new improved studio...attempting to print for the first time in oh, about 13 years...most of it came back quite easily, some memories emerged when I hit problems. There were snags right from the start - last year I invested in 'proper' lino inks, water based...nasty. Flat, dull, thick. I had 25 sheets of nice pink linen effect card, upon which I wanted to print a poultry design. It doesn't matter how often you do test pieces on bits of scrap, sooner or later you have to bite the bullet and print on your precious stock...

The ink pushed out to the edges of the design and soaked into tiny crevices. The lino didn't want to accept the ink. The card was too shiny. I finally remembered that oil based inks are best. I went online and found a great medium, Daler Rowney Georgian block printing medium. It's recommended that you use it with their own oils, but essentially it's a sticky glop which thickens up normal oil paint and gives it the 'tack' you want for ink rolling. It saves re-investing in 'proper' relief inks, which are the best part of a tenner per tube, way beyond my pocket. It's quite frustrating at these times, when you need something 'now' and live miles from any decent shop, without a car. Internet shopping is brilliant, but delivery times are variable. I found it cheapest at Ziggy Arts and I was really pleased when it arrived the next day. That is service! And their postal rates are very reasonable too, so they get top marks from me. Bizarrely they don't seem to have it in stock anymore - did I buy their last tube?

This is how the water based inks performed...not so good.

Unfortunately, my first attempts with the new medium didn't give significantly better results at first. The (large amount) of lino I bought last year isn't 'how it used to be in the good old days'. I did check; I've got some old plates filed away, and the surface is sumptuously dense and ink saturated. The new stuff is greasy and the shiny surface pushed the ink about. I consulted Andy. He was a whizzo printer in our college days - he still is when he puts his mind to it, but that is another story. Firstly he told me my ink was too thick and then that the medium didn't work. I was determined to make it work as I can't afford to spend any more money. And as I was tidying up the edges of the design, a vague memory of 'sandpaper' crept into my troubled mind. Whizzo printer didn't think it would work - but it did! Gently sanding the surface gave the lino 'teeth' and the ink a purchase, enabling it to soak into the plate. With that, and spritzing the card, then blotting it in an old magazine, I was away. The studio started smelling nostalgically like a print room, even with the window open (remember kids, always print in a well ventilated area). There's still a lot of work and experimentation to be done, but I think I'm getting there. Better had be, I need to earn some pennies!

There is nothing like seeing repeated images Andy Warhol style. That's one of the things I love about printing.

Francie from the Scented Cottage has asked me to name favourite five blogs. Well, most of my favourites are over there in my links. Some of them are superstar popular, and for good reason. Some are not so well known, but I visit them every week, because they are brilliant.

1) The newest kid on the block is Children Chocolate and Wine. There's a long story behind this, involving the ill fated Country Living 'find a new columnist' contest - but on this barely fledged central hub-blog you'll find a plethora of new bloggers, all writing wonderfully, mostly about Real Country Life - in which very little Cath Kidston features. Many of them have never had a 'proper' blog before, but you wouldn't know it. So please extend the big bloggy hand of friendship to them and make them feel welcome.

2) Ramblings of a Cotswold Gent. Very funny and often mustard sharp. One of those rare blogs which can perform on writing alone. Also the only other blog I'm aware of in our area and it's nice to know someone local.

3) Remember I'm the Bloody Architect. Supreme, witty writing, always makes me smile - does the wondrous thing of making architecture entertaining...it's the way she tells it.

4) Hannah's Country Kitchen OK, listing this means I have to divulge our new status of TV owners (yes, yes, I'll confess all another time). We got hooked on Masterchef. I was thrilled to find that the lovely Hannah, one of the finalists, has her own blog, where she shows her mind-blowingly beautiful cakes and shares her recipes. This is one of the blogs you go to for time out and niceness.

5) Oh dear, only one left...hmm...ok, quilt and patchwork heaven...Feeling Simply Quilty. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Ah yes. I hooked my web cam up. It's on when I'm in the studio, (UK time) and I put my open/shut sign up as necessary. Not that seeing my grizzled head bent over artwork is at all interesting, but it gets me to work in the morning.

EDIT - Blogger turned the comments box off! Thanks to Penny for alerting me...


Anonymous said...

Love your design. I am glad you are having fun.

Anonymous said...

The printed pink pages with chickens are brilliant and the results (sounding a bit like the old "...if at first you don't succeed," sort of thing, must be so satisfying now that you have the space to work in. It was all worth it!

OldBagNewTricks said...

The little folk bird is called a distlefink... I think... it's from the Pennsylvania Dutch... which largely explains everything. Also, I'm delighted to see the results of your printing... yu make it look like magic. Thank you, Jenny

Un Peu Loufoque said...

How about that for serendipity? here I am in France, me and Madame Grognonne contemplating a return to lino printing as a change from tile panels (and it must be said to avoid houswork) and there you are with all the info and a studio and house as dismantled as our own!... oh damn just realised some of those are before pictures, ah well one day I may get around to tidying my studio too!

Lovely site.

Joanna said...

I did some lino printing in one of my childrens lesson and we used water based inks - becuase of less mess in there mums kitchen. It does not take very well. I love your chicken design. Have fun printing. Love the web cam and looking forward to seeing what that teddy with the paint brush paints, this morning!

Anonymous said...

Love the chicken print paper, must have been so much fun printing again. I fully understand the frustration of supplies, I do drive, do have a car and do live near a decent town but can you get what you want?
Now I'm off to check out all thse links.

Anonymous said...

Oh Brill, you've started! love the chick notes and was interested to read of your fix to the slippy lino surface. Good thinking!

Re supplies I get everything from the internet now. I loathe driving and the art shops in town seem to cater to hobbyists rather than real artists.

Emm@ said...

Oooo. They're looking fab. I love, love, love the yellow ones above. Yellow being my colour of the mo.

What be this 'ere "Children, Chocolate and Wine" blog all about? I went to have a look but I couldn't figure out how it works. Is it just a portal to other blogs?