I’ve recently had various bouts of illness. During this time, I have slowly completed print ready files of the Mirrors of the Heart card deck and have sent them off to the printer. When they are completed, I’ll show you their new look.
Also, while resting, I’ve been reworking some more of my earlier art work. Here are 3 hanging ornamental pieces I’ve made combining segments of a woodcut I made in the 1970s and extra hand coloured cards from the card deck. I’ve also added decorative starched transparent papers that I wish I could trace to a distributor again. They’re the shapes growing out of the rectangles. If the papers look familiar to anyone, please let me know.
I’ll be putting some of these pieces in my etsy shop soon.
I was ill over the past while and only got to printing a first proof of the Sisters of Mercy block print this past weekend. If you’re not familiar with printmaking, a proof is a print of a block that may not be fully complete. You can print the block at different stages to see how it’s coming along and whether the print needs more work. In this case, I’m happy with many aspects of the print and can see where I want to further carve the soft cut lino block. I’ll show you the process as I go along.
The two photos show the green and violet inked block to the right of the printed image. I’ve always been fascinated with the symmetries you can get in printed images by repeating them in different orientations. Here, I played with the block itself and the proof. Because they are mirror images, when I put them right up against each other I saw some neat (as in neat-o) patterns that show up in the last photo.
You can see more of my artwork in my etsy shop: artsofmay.etsy.com
This week, after years of selling the original printings of the card deck I made in 1994, it sold out in my etsy shop. Mirrors of the Heart has been the most popular item I’ve ever made. And, as an artist who has sold a modest amount of work in my life, it’s been an amazing experience to send work across the continent and overseas. I’m now looking into getting the cards reprinted and will let you know how that goes.
Now all I’m left with are extra cards that do not make up complete decks. These are ones I set aside when I found printing glitches in other cards. I’ve been hand colouring some of these with non-toxic permanent markers. Here are some I’ve grouped in sets of 4 for my shop.
I love Leslie Nan Moon’s work and wanted to show it to you. Here’s her latest post with some of her excellent prints in multi media form.
As I continue to reconsider some of the prints I made 20 to 40 years ago, I have realized that this work is part of a process of rescuing my younger self. As part of that, I have returned to a miniature card deck I made in 1995, a year after I made the larger deck, Mirrors of the Heart.
The 1995 deck is also on the theme of hearts. In making the card deck, I played with the phrase “21 gun salute” and turned it into A 21 Heart Salute. I then listed as many phrases that included the word heart I could think of and came up with 21 of my favourites. Some are phrases widely used like “heart felt” or “kind hearted.” And some I made up like “fountain of heart” or “heart song.”
I carved the deck out of a rubber-like material that was softer than linoleum but that produced clean edges. And I printed a few of these decks in 1995 with stamping ink that produced faint images. A few years ago, I reprinted them in violet but found I don’t have a complete set of these.
So I decided to hand print them properly, this time in red oil based relief printing ink. And I found I enjoyed this reminder of earlier printing. This, even though the actual burnishing of the blocks was always my least favourite part of the printing process. However, pulling the paper off the inked block was and still is a joy because of the surprise of seeing the image reproduced in reverse.
I’m including a photo of some of the 1 1/2″ x 3″ blocks and their prints laid out to dry. These are on my highly sophisticated drying area—a foam core board on the floor with part of my shell collection used to hold the prints from moving in the breeze.
The last week or so, I’ve scanned the prints, cropped the images and sent them to an online printer for reproduction. I’ll let you know how they turn out when I get them back. I plan to list them in my etsy shop.
The most recent origami booklet I’ve made is from a woodcut I carved and printed in 1973. It’s called Forth Form Variation and is from a series I did playing around with several shapes. I used two pine boards that I lined up to make the whole image. I have loved trees since childhood and I enjoyed making an image that felt powerful to me.
When I measured the actual print size, I saw that if I cut the print in four, I could wind up with different sized square booklets. After I made the first cut, I flipped the parts of the original around and placed them next to each other to create different designs. I’ve got a photo of one of these arrangements below. This is a process I’ve always enjoyed. I used a variation of it in some of my prints. I’d print the original block in different colours and overlap the colours in two stages, orienting them in opposite directions. I loved the surprising designs that emerged.
Here’s also photos of the first of the four booklets. I kept it quite simple, only adding a bit of colour with Pitt markers.
Yesterday the high in Toronto was 36 C, that’s just shy of 97 F. Our air conditioner, which we are fortunate to normally have, was out of commission because of massive reconstruction in our building. I needed to go somewhere to counteract not only the heat but some of the terrible news of various forms of hatred that is present these days.
I had recently been to the Art Gallery of Ontario where I saw a terrific exhibit by Theaster Gates and I wanted to go somewhere else. So I decided to go to the ROM, the Royal Ontario Museum, to see the Chihuly exhibition. What an antidote to hatred and war in its various forms. It was magical. All of us there, independent of age, were amazed children once again, looking at Chihuly’s spectacular installations. There was a sign outside the exhibit encouraging us to photograph the works freely. And we all certainly did just that. I did, however, put my phone away at times to just look at the glass so that I was not distracted by taking photos, so that the phone was not a barrier between me and the environment, but rather was a tool of memory.
The world is a place of both beauty and horror. Being surrounded by such startling beauty allowed me to remember what is full of wonder on earth and in the human spirit. Here are some photos of Chihuly’s magnificent glass works.