Monday, 31 March 2008


In the print room where I work we try to keep toxic chemicals to a minimum. For etching we use copper etched by ferric chloride (much safer than traditional nitric acid which does all sorts of dodgy things to a person!) and follow the method explained by Keith Howard in his book 'Non Toxic Intaglio Printmaking'.

This method is fairly new to me, and so I've been messing about with some scraps of copper and different resists; varnish, acrylic paint, marker pen and vaseline...

I've found the vaseline particularly interesting, spreading it in a thin layer and using a pencil/needle/finger to draw through it and move it about on the plate... lots of potential there I think...

And what I'm really looking for is a kind of soft ground etching technique (as I sometimes find hard ground etched lines too fine; soft ground lines have a softer, blunt pencil like line which I like), vaseline seems to have potential for this too... any ideas?? 

Sorry if this is all a bit garbled, it's been a busy day... But there's nothing like a good old experiment is there :)

Saturday, 29 March 2008


Rainy day. But I'm wrapped up cozy and warm inside, with a slab of chocolate wedding cake left over from my cousin's wedding yesterday and a nice big cup of tea :)

This is the present I made for them (and I did iron it and frame it before I passed it on, just didn't get chance to take a better picture...) It's the third sampler I've made up, a mixture of motifs from books and made up bits, and its a process that I really enjoy. In the past I've used graph paper to work out the design but this time I used the pencil tool in photoshop to colour in pixels... it seemed to work ok (although I'm sure there's a simpler way that I haven't thought of) It was helpful that each motif could have a separate layer and could be moved about freely.

The wedding was lovely (despite the rain!) It feels good to see the family I grew up with changing and growing and taking on new roles in life, and it felt good to celebrate that all together yesterday... and the cake was good too :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Today I've been shoe shopping. Not something I relish... I have to find some nice smart shoes for a wedding on Friday (yes it's in 2 days, yes I know I've left it very late!) As I was trecking round the shops in my lunch break and after work I kept getting flashbacks... of hunting for school shoes with mu mum, the week before the start of term, every pair too clumpy or clompy or high or flat or shiny... the list goes on. And today was no better.

I thought it might be good if the shoes were high heeled (smarter?) and matched my outfit (which is already on version 3 as, as you may have guessed, I don't really like smart clothes so keep on swapping them.) But, the only shoes I could find that I could walk in made me look like a man (in my opinion) and now I'm home I've realized that I shouldn't really spend £60 on something I will only use once, make me feel silly and will probably cause me an ankle injury...

So, I've decided that on my final day of shopping opportunity I will play it safe and go with a nice flat plain pair that make me feel comfortable (both physically and mentally!) I think that's the most important thing isn't it...

Anyway, in between stressing about shoes I made a couple of books to add to my collection of structure examples... If only I was organized enough (and skilled enough!) to make some shoes of my own as well :)

Monday, 24 March 2008

bit of an experiment

Today I made this...

Hmmm, yes... you may well wonder what it is! 

I used this tutorial to melt together some plastic carrier bags, it kind of worked but it wasn't what I was expecting (although I don't know what I was expecting, my brain seems to have melted with the snow... not sure why.) I thought it might be a good use for the contents of the plastic bag mine in my kitchen, because although this year I have managed to acquire only 2 new plastic bags (I've been using cloth bags and reusing plastic ones) I still have a massive stash...

But I'm not convinced. Perhaps I had the iron set wrong or something, but its all a bit wrinkly and well, rubbish looking! (And the fumes made my mouth taste funny)

Oh well, I think I'll try and make it into a bag anyway, you never know, it might be a magical transformation...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Blossom on the tree on my way home...

And look what arrived in the post today!

My PIF from Rhonda at myhandboundbooks, its lovely, and although she says it's not perfect (she wrote about making it here) it looks pretty good to me! Its so nice to actually see one of Rhonda's books in person after admiring them on her blog for so long :) 

I love the simple stitching and the weight of the book, I'll have to fill it full of clever thoughts to do it justice...

Rhonda sells her beautiful books on Etsy... go on, treat yourself!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Today I had some sad news. My mum got home from a short trip out to find two of our beautiful chickens dead. A dog chased them and killed them.

I only saw them yesterday, I know it sounds silly, but it makes me feel so sad to think of them scared and in pain. And it makes me angry that some people don't keep their dogs under control.

I'm telling myself that Twiggy and Linda had happy, free range lives, much more so than many chickens (although perhaps its looking up a bit for them too...) 

Monday, 17 March 2008

hey little hen...

Well, lots of new experiences this weekend! My first hen night: Drag-queen show bar (slightly strange), bingo (terrifying) and a lovely massage in the hotel (very relaxing indeed)... All in all a good do!

So I haven't made any books or done any drawings or made anything creative at all really, but I've got the next few days off work so I hope to rectify that :)

I'll leave you instead with a picture of some tasty eggs my dad found in the bush whilst we were away... those pesky chickens, perhaps they were saving them up for easter?! 

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

like buses...

I had some more good news last week; some books I made last year have been selected for an artists book exhibition in Edinburgh! And as I'd made the books already, I felt like I wanted to make something new to send along as well...

Some little (about 4cm tall) books, a few star book/concertina book/coptic variations...

Not quite the project I was talking about the other day; the new, proper, substantial project... no, these are more like old friends, but I enjoyed making them none the less... a sort of meditation :)

I'm away this weekend, so I'll see you bright and early Monday morning... have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


Busy week. I know I always say that... those few extra hours I'm working each day are making my evenings feel none existent, especially as its still dark when I'm leaving work, but I keep telling myself soon it will be light, and soon I will be used to my new routine. 

I'm trying to remember when I first began working full time after student life; when I got home at 6 and felt I had had my life stolen away... and I survived (imagine!) and adapted and eventually it was just normal, good even. So now, in this new job, that I am so grateful for and wanted and enjoy, I know will settle again. As soon as its light in the evenings!

I have been feeling strange recently though, a bit... unsettled. Perhaps its because of the house hunting; imagining myself living somewhere else and decisions decisions, but thats all sorted now (Well I hope! We've decided to stay where we are as our landlord made us an offer we couldn't refuse, and so soon will have a spare room... a studio room perhaps? But thats another story :) )

No, I think this feeling is down to something else...

I think its some kind of creative itch. Don't get me wrong, I'm lucky to have a job that allows me to be creative every day. But often its a bit here a bit there; an afternoon, an hour, and always the aim in my head is the best way to help someone else. I suddenly realized today, whilst reading Jenny's post about her creative process, that this feeling I've had; this feeling of having loads of things to do but not being able to think what they are; this slight edgy feeling, is perhaps to do with the fact I need to make something, properly.

I've been looking at books, of pictures and diagrams and birds, at all sorts of beautiful creative things on blogs and I've been doodling a lot, and thinking, making notes and folding bits of paper into ever decreasing concertinas... planning for something, working out something, but I don't feel like I've been going anywhere, and I didn't realise that until today. 

And I don't necessarily think its a bad thing, this preparation. I feel I'm aware of how it all works with this creativity thing, ups and downs, twists and turns, but it still manages to  constantly amaze me... the way I'm feeling now, its obvious but I never even saw it until today.


I know what I have to do I think... start something