Monday, October 28, 2013

What is letterpress printmaking?

Ummm... to explain the  e v o c a t i v e   w o r l d   o f   l e t t e r p r e s s   printmaking in a nutshell. 

It's a metamorphis of highly trained skills, then and now, trying and failing, patience and determination, 

a crisp and luxurious impression,

within slow cook printmaking.

H e r e' s  a   q u i c k   l i t t l e   h i s t o r y   l e s s o n..

Moveable type was first developed by Bi Sheng in 1040  in the Song Dynasty in China. Although Sheng was progressive with getting the word out it involved a lot of labour in their extensive alphabet system so on the other side of the world a Johannes Gutenburg invented the printing press and independent movable type system...and a smaller anglo saxon alphabet.

A different cleverness Johanne knew that it would create a renaissance in spreading the thoughts and intellectual ideas to the world, rather than time consuming hand writing.
It meant the monks in monasteries could have 
more time to tend their medicinal gardens.

W h a t' s    m o v e a b l e   t y p e   y o u   a s k?

Well it's the individual letters and numbers that are either made up in wood or metal and assembled to create your dialogue and held in place by gadgets called coins and popped into a metal chase, then popped again into the press.

It all has to line up elegantly, be spaced beautifully and be enticing to the eye. 

It takes time and a whole lot of practice and patience.

Nowadays letterpress printers combine this with photopolymer plates, which means we can use our drawings and artwork, simply by making the plates in our darkroom.

You can see our tutorial on how we make our own plates
because we believe in thoroughly understanding our artisan industry as a whole.

T h a t' s   h o w   d i s c o v e r i e s   a r e   m a d e.

Our Gordon Platen Press is then set up with ink, all portions of the printing surface will strike the paper with the proper pressure, which gives a crisp, luxurious impression embedded into the paper 
on our 100% eco sustainable cotton german 600gm board.

This is where the patience and determination comes in, because no matter how
many times you have this experience of printing and your skills are honed in, there more than
often is troubleshooting, which ask any letterpress printer and they will nod 
their head in an agreeable smile.

The alignment of plates and equal pressure of the ink placement can try and undo you some days and it can be like a disagreeable teenager, only you can't send the press off to the bedroom, it's having the years of experience behind you to sort it out.

After inking up...

Paper is then hand fed one invitation at a time through the press and at the same time pedaling the foot up and down, concentrating while the large flywheel spins 
until the desired number of printed copies are obtained 
with crisp lines, patterns and typography.

One has to watch their fingers and it's all in the  r y t h m n.

 To bring out the best attributes of letterpress printmaking one has to have a full understanding of the capabilities and advantages of what can be a very unforgiving medium at times.

But  w e   a r e   i n   l o v e  with the process,
(custodians of the authentic)
both its cranky, frustrating and the seamless happy days of printing.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

There's a toffee moon in the night sky

I'm sitting here looking out the window
and the moon is the colour of toffee.

The bushfires in NSW, all up and down the coast
have been horrific. Many people have lost
their homes. 

My brother at Mt Tomah is ready to go,
the fires are hovering a few kilometres at the
back of their land.

He has cleared as much as he can the land
around his very special property
where he has developed and bred rare
 irises, camelias and many
very rare plants from China.

Craig has the patience of a saint, sometimes waiting
years to see his achievements in
developing new varieties of plants.

Fingers crossed they and others will be safe.

For myself today,
I got stuck into painting my still lifes.
It helped to distract myself from
the fires.
It's the perfect meditation.

And ate broad beans on toast.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Working Spaces

Hey, we are pretty excited.

Australian photographer Martyn Thompson whom has lived in New York for the past 25 years
has just launched his new book called 

Working Spaces

and he has included Hill End Press
in it.

We haven't seen or got our hands on a copy yet
( oh for living in the country)
we are  i t c h i n g  for ours to arrive in the mail.

So it's so lovely to have this acknowledgement 
of all our hard toil,
putting back together our
delightful little 1872 cottages & studio
here in
Hill End

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brad and Anna's dream country wedding at Cobbora Hall

On Saturday 5th October Cobbora Hall became a magical place for Brad and Anna's wedding day.

This enchanted location near the rural township of Dunedoo, Central West NSW there is an old hall that the highly energetic and creative Penny Stevens and her husband Rob Ingram have totally restored back to its former glory.

It sits up on a hill with breathtaking views right across the valley.

It has been a labour of  l o v e,

 their attention to detail on creating an evocative space to hold special events, 
weddings, birthdays
can be seen by the photos
is a major success.

Professional wedding photographer has done
a beautiful documentation of 
this very special day.

We highly recommend this as a unique beautiful location for your wedding day

Y o u   c a n   c o n t a c t   P e n n y  o n  02 6375 1540
f o r   b o o k i n g s

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Preserving time

The colour is still vibrant but the jars are oh so old.

My sister in law Marilyn found these under her old unit
in Bondi in a brown box amongst all the coal supply
when the plumbing was being redone .

It's a very o l d  flat.

How old they are, who knows but they do look incredibly 
fresh particularly the peas and how
delightful to bottle peas.
Can you imagine doing this now?
Bottling peas.

It does make you think about how much we waste food
these days and to bottle peas would be far
removed from our minds.

The temptation to open them
and to know if they are still eatable.

but I rather like the idea of
the green peas just sitting on a shelf.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

boobock owls and tintypes

Bill is on his way, the tintypes for his coming December Dubbo exhibition
 are incubating very nicely, thankyou.


Lovely in largeness 8 x 10

a l w a y s with these antiquarian processes it's only for the very determined,
the patience one must have is saintly.

It suits a certain style of person, not one that
likes process as such, as it at times has a breaking point with Bill
 and for that matter

Because getting the technical side happily running smoothly
is at times frustrating because you 
all these images in your head
and it's being held up by
juggling and understanding all the ins and outs of
the technical side.

At times we are learning more about what goes wrong
than right.

You just want to get on with it.
Time marches on very quickly when a show is looming and your still in
the laboratory.

They are one offs , the chemicals are very expensive and you are very needy
in wanting a result each time, which is not always the case.

At times we have found the carry box that you develop it in,
has leaked overnight expensive chemicals,
this is when we start eating chocolate
in large quantities to 
make up 
for it 
g l u i n g   g l u i n g   g l u i n g

The recipe is for a investigative mind, one that loves
scientific stuff,
the magic of the unexpected,
19th century spirit of discovery,
 triumphed romanticism.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Drunken Bees on the Landscape Floor is coming home soon

I t ' s   a l m o s t   o v e r,   I' m   s a d   t o   s a y.

I really so enjoyed putting this work together 
and it has been a most satisfying exhibition.
I felt good about fighting for the lament of the bees future
and forgetting about me for a while. 

My exhibition

The Wattle Room - Bedspread of Natural History

Dubbo Western Plains Cultural Centre.

One more week and my giant bee returns home.....

To be or not to bee

 My art is essentially  autobiographical, a colliding of two worlds.

From the personal to the universal.

Still life and the garden.

A divided heart

The threat to bees and food on the table.

Pesticides and organics.

You see it's all personal.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seeds growing, rain and bed

This morning woke to grey clouds and the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed.

Was I procrastinating about going and painting
was it just enjoying a small slice of slow time.

a bit of both I think.

It's raining now,
coming across in sheets.

I love the rain and never tire of it
it means all my seeds that I have thrown around the
garden are feeling sparky and wanting their
faces to see the blue sky.

I've thrown in Kale, californian poppies, foxgloves, dill,
sunflowers seeds in three varieties, love in the mist and cosmos.
they will mix in beautifully and create a harmonious balance
with the weeds and insects.

My wilderness garden.

Hill End Pink/red