Friday, 27 December 2013

Mussels & Barnacles - a reduction lino print








A little while ago, (yikes nearly three years actually!) I wrote this post about my travails with the reduction method of lino printing in two or more colours. As an alternative I developed a way of cutting and registering multiple blocks that worked with my little nipping press and I was reasonably happy with the results on Giant's Causeway and Artichokes, amongst others. This way the lino cuts for each colour are maintained intact as opposed the reduction method where the single plate is gradually destroyed.

However although my registration (getting the different colour blocks to match in the right place) improved with each new piece it became clear that what I couldn't do was cut the same line in exactly the same way twice, let alone three of four times. So I have wandered back into the realms of reduction and actually this time around its not so bad. I am now a lot more familiar with the inks I use, the properties of the different papers that I like and how to get the best from press so more prints make it to the final edition.

Detail from Mussels and Barnacles - a 3 colour reduction lino print - the barnacles were cut out before the 1st colour was printed so as to be left white as the pale, mid and  then dark blue layers were added in turn - I could never have cut each and every barnacle in the same way on 3 separate plates.    
Mussels and Barnacles - Highlights and barnacles cut away - remainder printed in pale blue

Mussels and Barnacles - Pale blue and mid blue printed
Mussels and Barnacle - complete!

 Mussels and Barnacles is availabe in my Folksy shop and in my Etsy shop

   

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Something different...



A chance win of a crocheting tutorial on theamazings.com website a couple of week ago has led to this premature bit of Christmas on my blog today. 

Having never attempted crochet before and having only the flimsiest of grasps of knitting this Christmas Stocking seemed a bit over-ambitious. I should add to this that I am notoriously bad at taking instruction from anything or anyone.



 My first few attempts were very loose and unstructured. My first mistake was to ignore the instructions as to how to hold the hook and feed the wool. After starting the first four or five in my own rather awkward knitting-with-one-hand way I suddenly got the hang of the correct technique but the results were so different I decided to carry on in my own wrong way to make sure all 17 hexagons were similar  (Mistake #2). 


Mistake #3 was starting at the wrong point for the white circuit. I knew something was wrong because the hexagons were becoming contorted, and not just from my poor technique. At this point I should have stopped and returned to the tutorial but I was on a roll, and on a train, and nothing was going to stop me. On hexagon number 15 I accidentally started at a different point, which happened to be the correct point and everything became clear, too late! But at least they were consistently wrong, most of them.

The tutorial does assume knowledge of some crochet stitches, which left me feeling a bit lost at first but by repeatedly replaying key bits of the video I soon got the hang of it. Overall the content was clear and had some really good tips about steaming hexagons into shape (I needed this!) and sewing the pieces together (I overlooked this and had to unpick the toe section 3 times). Towards the end my main regret was having promised the stocking to my son because I think the hexagons could have made a rather nice cushion cover. Another project perhaps.



Sunday, 17 November 2013

Iced Blue Caribou


http://www.jacksonsart.com/newsletter/2013-11-08/2013-11-08-newsletter.html

I was over the moon when the lovely folk at Jackson's Art chose to use one of my images on their newsletter the week before last. If you haven't seen it please do click on the image above.

They also sent me a voucher and some ink & paint goodies. I splurged the voucher on the biggest of gelli plates  and can't wait to start experimenting, hopefully I'll have some results to share here soon.

Iced Blue Caribou is available to buy in my ETSY shop and my FOLKSY shop .




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Revealing Craft

Watch the film


Admire India Hobson's beautiful photographs

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0k9fl5wc3zjyvuh/Inserts_.pdf

 
a stunning print
a beautiful book
a stunning print and a beautiful book
a stunning print and a beautiful signed and numbered book 
or even 
all the stunning prints and the beautiful signed and numbered book!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Green Surf Anemone

Green Surf Anemones - a five colour lino print (20x20xm)
Another print inspired by a trip to Vancouver Island earlier this year. As someone who cannot resist any chance to poke around in a rockpool the sight of these giant green anemones clinging to the fringes of the Pacific Ocean was bound to have me hooked. Unfortunately the weather didn't hold and our beach-bound activities became more bracing. On the plus side, in an attempt to escape the weather we did find the Uclulet Aquarium which is a fantastic hands-on experience with an excellent  ethos. 

Anyway back to the print. It was printed from two separate plates, one for the greys and one for the yellows and greens. The grey plate was cut for the rocks, printed in pale grey, cut again for the shadow and definition and printed again in dark grey. The yellow plate was similarly reduced twice after the initial carving.

Green Surf Anemones will be available shortly in my Folksy and Etsy shops.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Long Beach, Tofino, Vancouver Island

Long Beach, Tofino, Vancouver Island.
The photo below was my first view of the Pacific Ocean.



And this was the same ocean the next day, perfect conditions for whale (and sea lion) spotting!





We visited Long Beach on a day of driving rain, crashing waves and sand-laden wind, but still is was fun tracking wolf (dog!) tracks, watching the sea eagles and waiting for bears to lumber out from the forest.  My only disappointment was not coming away with some of this mammoth drift wood (apparently illegal, even supposing we could lift it!)


also available in my Etsy shop

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Langoustine lunch

Langoustine Lunch - Etching with ink wash
The great thing about taking part in #printoctober on Twitter is that it has encouraged me to side-step my usual world of lino and explore some different techniques. 
First to make it beyond the drawing board was an etching on acetate, which is slightly foolhardy because I don't have an etching press. Undaunted I spent a happy if slightly fumy hour scoring a sheet of acetate with a soldering iron. 
Langoustine Lunch - actetate "etched" with soldering iron
Next was the inking. I though relief printing was messy but really it has nothing on inking up for intaglio printing. Having scrubbed ink into all the etches I wiped of the excess and then gave it a press. The result, as expected was not great, a nipping press simple cannot apply in enough pressure and doesn't have that roller action that intaglio really needs.
Langoustine Lunch - "etched" acetate proofed in nipping press.
I now see three ways to go with this: 
1 rub down the burrs to see whether that allows greater contact between ink in etches and the paper 
2 try pressing it through the mangle (requires cobweb extracation)
3 beg/borrow/steal time on someone else's etching press
I've added an ink wash to a few of the test prints (see top and below). Now back to the lino!


Langoustine Lunch - Etching with ink wash


Monday, 14 October 2013

Beakhead Ornament


Birkin Beakheads II

Several years and one house move ago, before we sold it on ebay we were the inconvenienced owners of a coal-fired Rayburn. It was great for slow cook stews and the warming oven was ideal for softening lino prior to carving but it was pretty rubbish at the central heating thing. After one too many winters of lugging coal through the snow we decided it had to go. Since then I've taken to giving my lino a quick warm through in a very low oven. However the other night I'd absent-mindedly turned the dial around to 220 and promptly got sidetracked by a slightly bothersome email exchange. Twenty minutes later I remembered to retrieve the lino and it was well and truly baked.  In the past my oversights have led to a rather floppy and crumbly lino plate that soon restores to it workable state, but this time I had pushed it too far. As it cooled the surface began to bubble ominously and eventually the texture turned rather brittle and difficult to cut. Normally I would have called it a day at that point and started afresh but this was the second phase of a reduction lino print and I really couldn’t face beginning again and abandoning the 20 prints I had started. So on I carved. It was not nice, the surface kept lifting, I had to make much shallower cuts and I was convinced the whole piece would crumble before my eyes or at least start lifting once I ran a roller loaded with tacky ink over the surface. Once the carving was complete I flooded the cut areas with PVA in an attempt to stabilise the lino “baulks”. Fortunately the design didn’t have large areas of the second colour or the blistering would have been a really problem. When the PVA was nearly dry I put the lino under a little pressure in my nipping press in the hope that it would consolidate long enough to get through the edition of 20. When it came to printing I used slightly more oil that I usually would to reduce the tack. I am relieved to say that the carving survived the 20 inkings and pressings!

Ok enough of the rambling and more about this print…

The piece is inspired by the stunning beakhead ornamentation carved around the doorway of St Mary’s Church, Birkin. I came across this on a bike ride earlier this year and was stunned by these imaginary beasts. One of the beakhead beasts is slightly misaligned as if he might fly away at night and rejoin the flock at first light. Someone kindly pointed me to this article http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/beakhead/beakhead.htm which suggests there is a little pocket of similar work in this part of North Yorkshire. I really need to find the time to see the others.

Birkin Beakheads II


"Birkin beakheads" is available in two colours, grey and blue here and here.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Glen Coe

Glen Coe, a passing view (pen)
A small confession. I'd rarely drawn for drawing's sake until I took part in #drawingaugust. Of course I'd made pencil sketches in advance of watercolour painting and some quite detailed plans for lino cuts but I've rarely produced a drawing that would stand on its own two feet. But I've resolved to do a lot more drawing.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Up through the trees

Available here 
and here 
My latest print was inspired by a trip to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast earlier this year. We had rented an RV and worked our way around several of BCs Provincial Parks. For anyone used to the UK's slightly cheek-by-jowl approach to camping and caravanning this was an eye-opener: enormous drive-in plots (complete with fire pits) screened from the nearest neighbours by enormous cedars and Douglas Firs and a lush understorey of saplings, trilliums and ferns. 

This piece started out as a sketch for #drawingaugust on twitter

but I quite liked the concept and adapted it for lino cutting.



 and many tiny leaf cuts later...



PS If you do follow me on twitter please note that I have locked myself out of my original account and am now tweeting from @a_deeganprints please do follow me (again!). Thank you :-)

@adeegan is now back in action please do follow, thank you :-)


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Loch Linnhe

(converted to greyscale from original sepia ink)


A week of views across Loch Linnhe, I could have sat, sketched, painted and photographed all day and all night.



video




Wednesday, 4 September 2013

That's me!

and my studio, on pages 88 and 89 of Mollie Makes no. 30. Big thanks to India Hobson, Folksy and Mollie Makes :-)


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Handprinted by A.Deegan website






I recently decided to resurrect my website after a lapse of a year or two. I had forgotten how much work it takes to get them up to scratch! I don't think I will every find the time to reinstate all the galleries and images that the old one had but I plan to make this look a little less generic, eventually. So it's not too pretty at the moment but it does feature a series of monoprints not available elsewhere, please take a look at tell me what you think.

Handprinted by A. Deegan ~ www.adeegan.co.uk

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island

Cowichan Bay - an original lino print in sage green
**Happy Canada Day** USE THE COUPON CODE CANADAY13 TO GET 25% OF THE COST OF THESE TWO PRINTS (excluding P&P, valid until 3rd July)

On our travels around Vancouver Island we stopped by the small town of Cowichan Bay for a quick coffee and a nosy round. I really liked the feel of this quirky little place with its stilted, shoreline stores and homes, floating houses and row upon row of moored boats. The shoreline up to the mouth of the Cowichan River is studded with tall wooden piles and I loved the way some had been customised as bird boxes and feeders and weather vanes. Cowichan Bay is also the home of the Arthur Vickers Gallery (unfortunately shut during our fleeting visit) and the True Grain Bread bakery (luckily, very much open with its fantastic selection of breads and yummy spelt cookies).  

 I've posted a few photos below to remind me that we did see blue sky once or twice!






Links you might like

http://www.cowichanbay.com/
http://arthurvickers.com/gallery/
http://www.truegrain.ca/


Friday, 28 June 2013

Chine colle (sticking the light stuff down)



I chose a lightweight tissue for my latest print "Leaving Saltery Bay" for a couple of reasons. The main two were entirely practical.

I'd planned out a reduction lino cut that would require 4 different inkings and 4 separate pressings and even for a relatively small edition of 25 prints this would mean winding my press up and down 100 times if I used my preferred 120g paper. The tissue however picks up the ink under the gentlest of pressure and needed only a few swipes with a bamboo skin baren.

The second reason was the difference in drying time. I've found that the first layer of Caligo relief ink sits well on traditional papers, soaking in just enough to dry within a day or two into a nice matt finish. However subsequent layers of ink dry very, very slowly and usually retain a slight sheen. By contrast the lighter tissues absorb 3rd and even 4th layers of ink. I didn't want to lose the momentum of carving and printing by waiting for days in between for prints to dry and knew my impatience could easily ruin the whole edition. So I hedged my bets and split the edition between the light weight tissue and Zerkall, with many more on the former than the latter.

Having created a pile of wafty sheets of sheer inkiness I realised I hadn't quite thought through the finishing process, which brings me to my nori versus Coccoina experiment. Presuming that the nori was the “correct” thing to use I set about testing a little off cut. Then I remember the delicious smelling Coccoina and thought I'd give that a whirl at the same time. I pasted the heavier weight paper (Stonehenge) then smoothed the tissue onto it. The Coccoina was much dryer to apply, perhaps I should have left the nori to the air for a minute or two longer but photos below show the outcome:

nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
The nori sample buckled a bit more than Coccoina. I've now used the Coccoina on the real thing and, with application of a couple of hours light press pressure, I'm really pleased with the results.






Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Leaving Saltery Bay

Finished at last, the first of a series of prints I have planned from my recent travels around Vancouver. This was the view from the ferry that links the Sunshine Coast down to the city as it left Saltery Bay. This is clearly a commuter route because we were the only travellers out on the deck gawping at the landscape, all the regulars were hunkered down inside with coffee, phones and papers. I'd give up home working for a commute like that. Better still would be to make the trip by float plane as many do, though I am sure the novelty would wear off eventually.

I broke my own "no reduction" rule for this and printed four colours on two different papers. As you can see from the wee film below I cheated somewhat on the second colour by isolating that small background area for printing. I printed a small number on my preferred Zerkall paper, but the two or more layers of ink dries so slowly on these that I printed the rest of the edition on a lightweight tissue (whose names escapes me). This had the great advantage of taking the ink very easily with only a slight rub with a baren - no endless bending over the press :-). I am finishing the prints chine colle-style by bonding them to a heavier weight paper. I like the way the tissue "disappears" and the ink really pops.



video

 Leaving Saltery Bay - available here  and here





Saturday, 22 June 2013

Beneath the canopy

A few of the smaller delights we found beneath the canopy of those tall, tall trees. 

Beautiful blue eggshell of the American Robin



  We never walked far in the forests without the accompaniment of an American Robin. The first one or two we encountered seemed so vibrantly exotic but we soon began to regard them as we would our blackbirds.

American Robin - member of the thrush family

Wren singing to the ferns and centuries old trees at Cathedral Grove

Our other bird encounters were more fleeting and they were too quick and we were too slow to photograph the woodpeckers and hummingbirds. 

The holes drilled by sapsuckers, to harvest sap and the insects caught in this sticky treat.



Friday, 7 June 2013

Big, big trees


Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island

I'm nearly a week back from our holiday in British Columbia, well Vancouver Island and a tiny bit of the Sunshine Coast to be specific, and as usual I am slow to get to grips with all the photos I have taken.

Does anybody else suffer false photography syndrome - those photos you're sure you took but can't be found on any memory card?

Confusion was heightened this time round because on the fourth day my dear son dipped my camera in the sea whilst chasing crabs. It didn't like this at all and refused to work again (and got impressively hot when I forgot to take the battery out). So I had to resort to the camera on my phone, and to begging a go on OHs bridge camera, not ideal for someone who snaps continually but to be honest I am no great shakes as a photographer.

Anyway here's the first of a couple of posts about our travels. We toured around in a huge RV and stayed on a few of the Provincial Park campgrounds  - amazing pitches under enormous Douglas Fir and cedar and surrounded by luscious mosses, ferns and dogwood, where squirrels scampered and woodpeckers drilled and the bears stayed mercifully hidden.

Old Growth Douglas Fir in Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island


Moss strewn limbs at Goldstream, Vancouver Island


Saltery Bay Provincial Park

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