Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Projects

I've been struggling with my New Year's resolution.  Well, not so much a resolution as a direction for the coming year.  Often I have set myself a long-term project or process to explore, as for instance the year I applied myself to tablet weaving exclusively.  Of course, that was back when I mostly did fiber arts and woodcuts weren't even a twinkle in my eye.  Back when I only dithered between writing and weaving.

tablet woven band from the pattern on our wedding rings

See that's the problem.  I have too many interests, often in opposition to each other.  I have discovered that when I concentrate on my art, I let my writing slide, and vice versa.  Throw fiber arts back into the mix and I have a three-way tug of war for my attention.  And let me tell you, ink and fiber do not mix!  That's why I split my studios.

I think my hobbies need to learn to get along.  Maybe that should be this year's project:  learning to share.

Now hobbies are notoriously jealous of my time, and they're not inclined to share.  When an idea grabs me it's like a dog with the bone, and I'm the bone.  So how to set boundaries without interrupting the flow?

That's the real trick, isn't it.

What about a joint project?  I've done that before, as when I printed woodblocks on cloth.

Nothing to write home about, but it's a concept.  Mixed media.  I do it with my woven/beaded tapestries.

So a printed and woven tapestry is not out of the question.  I did woven paleo mythos critters before I did printed ones.



Bead and embroidery embellished woodcut image printed on cloth?  Still that's not specifically weaving, only embellishment.

Ok, weave the canvas.  Now I get really bored weaving vanilla cloth, but say a plain tabby woven section on an otherwise complex woven piece?  Dornick twill, double weave, summer & winter, rosepath.  Pull out some of my old favories.

This shows promise.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carving a Letterbox Stamp

Carving a Letterboxing stamp for a friend of my sister's.

This pink stuff is easy to carve, but just as easy to mess up.  Still, it's not going badly.

It's a design of Live Laugh Love with a ribbon for the L.  It'll look something like this:

Friday, December 07, 2012

Blank Cards Printed

I took advantage of a cybermonday half price deal on vistaprint and got some blank xmas cards printed up from this year's Snowflakes xmas card and last year's Denizens xmas card.

When I can pull myself away from sending out my own xmas cards, I'll get these up on my etsy shop.  I know there's not much time left for this holiday card season, but at least I'll have them for next year.  ;- ]

They came out really nice -- glossy where the original cards were matte finish -- but I think I might like that even more.  The colors are a little richer perhaps, tho the matte finish was more like an actual print.  They both have their good points.

I can offer them as single cards, sets of 6(?), or some of each.  Anyone have any ideas on that?  I expect I can eventually get cards made from all of my past xmas cards, then offer a mixed set.  Something to ponder (as I'm not an up-and-at'em kind of person).  ;- ]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Loscon Art Show

Woo and hoo!  I sold two woodcuts and one etching at the Loscon Art Show this Thanksgiving weekend.  8-]

Snowflakes are Dancing!

Straight On 'Til Morning

Jingle Bell Rock Art

Here's a shot of my display booth:

I was supposed to have two side by side panels, but there was a mix-up and I had to squash everything into a corner display.  But there was a silver lining because it was also the first display through the door and everyone had to pass by it.  So as they say, location is everything.  ;- D

Someone else asked me if I had blank xmas cards of Denizens, the xmas tree woodcut, but alas I did not (but I will -- vistaprint has a great Cyber Monday deal and I have cards coming for Snowflakes and Denizens for next time).

Too bad Cyber Monday doesn't come before Turkey Day.  ;- p  

I'll have the cards in about a week (rush shipping was also free today), so I guess I can put them up on my hibernating etsy shop and see if anyone goes for them this late in the season.

All in all, I had a great Loscon Art Show this year.  8- ]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Cards Ordered

Woo and hoo!  Ordered the Schuyler House xmas cards of Snowflakes are Dancing! from vistaprint.  8- ]

We've had great success with vistaprint, but boy are they aggressive up-sellers.  Barely got off their site with my wallet intact.  Also 5 snowflake mugs.  ;- >

That's some of my xmas shopping taken care of.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Words on Woodcuts

Martha Knox has featured my print Tiger and Sloth on her blog Words on Woodcuts  (one of these days I'll remember how to make this look all spiffy and linky).

Check it out.  She has an interesting take on the pieces she features.  8-]

Go back a couple days and see what Martha has to say about Annie Bissett's Sometimes I Am Married:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snowflakes Are Dancing!

Printing!  Test prints went well so I moved onto printing on Arches 88.

 I like the color.  8-]  Half blue, half white...with a dash of red.

This one is good and solid:

But I really like the wood texture that comes thru on this one:

Either would make a good Schuyler House xmas card.  I'll think about it a bit while they dry.

Note to self:  Change signature line to "from your friends at Schuyler House."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Color Swatches

Made some color test swatches.

Pretty sure I'll go with blue and white with just a hint of red (around the middle).  It dulls up the blue and white a tad.  Too much red moves into purple tho.  Too far.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Snowflakes Have Danced

Done carving, tho I know full well once I ink it up and it swells a bit, I'll have some areas to recarve.  But at this point it's done.  8-]

Now for a test print.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Snowflakes Still Dancing

Back to carving after a short hiatus to edit a semi-annual poetry collection.  Snowflakes are almost there.  Then I can do a test print.

A faux print (bw mirrored image of the block) looks pretty good:

It's funny.  I get so used to looking at the block while I'm carving that the actual image starts to look strange.  But I'll adjust.  ;- ]

Carving is a good way to dispel nervous energy today, election day.  Off to cast my ballot shortly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Snowflakes are Carving

Let the carving begin.  A lotta-little lines.  The trick will be to remember the snowflakes and swirl lines are white on blue in the top and blue on white in the bottom!

Chip, chip, chip.  Repeat.


Another 45 min.  Time to stretch.


Another carving session.  Stretching.  Think I'll ice the knot at the base of my neck.


Another session.

And another.  


More carving.  Listening to Christmas music on Pandora to get in the mood.  ;- ]



Chip-chip-chipping along.

Faux print -- b&w and mirror image of the block to see what it'll look like.  Not bad.


Another carving session.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Snowflakes are starting to dance.

This is the portion that will show up on the card:

Need to tweak those swirly lines a bit.

Carving.  Finally!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cartoon Transfer

Transferring the cartoon now.  Went with the waxy transfer computer paper.  Used a wooden spoon.

Can barely see the image through the transfer paper, but it looks like the image on the right.  

It's a pale image, but it's enough to work with.

I go over the lines in pencil.

Tedious, but necessary.  The image on the right helps with connecting missing lines.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I don't know what I think about transfer paper you run through the printer.  I've used it to good effect, but I keep falling back on my tried and true chalk-the-back and trace the cartoon method.

If I use the tracing paper, then I print out the cartoon in obverse:

And if I use the chalk method, then I print out the cartoon in reverse:

I don't have any strong feelings either way, I just have to make an executive decision.  You'd be surprised how hard that is.  ;- j

But decide I shall, and then I'll begin carving.  


Ok, so there's another reason a favor the chalk technique.  If I'm doing multiple blocks (and I'm still dithering about that too), I want to use the same cartoon, not a different print out.  I'm sure it's not really a problem, but I'm iffy on it.

The block is sanded and stained and drying in the garage.


Ok, there's a reason for using the transfer paper -- the image is too detailed.  If I decide to use 2 blocks I'll need exactitude.  Besides I stained the block and that doesn't take to chalk as well as when I blacken the board (used to use india ink and gesso, but I'm out of the habit).  So with the lighter wood the transfer may work better.  At any rate I've decided, so that's that.

But remember, print the cartoon the right way!!  I hate it when I get that wrong.  ;-*

Now I just have to stain the other side of the board for that mythical second block.

Monday, October 01, 2012


Got the cartoon down to a set of motifs.

I can play with coloring the background now, as well as the snowflakes.  The chop is just a placeholder for whatever I'll be carving, and probably in the same colorway as the rest of the card.

Bill did his math magic on the card size and what size to carve the image on the block (i.e., how much margin to leave so I can crop it to fit).  Now all I have to decide is whether I want to carve an 8x10 or a 9x12 block.  Tiny detail seems to call for a larger block.


Measuring now.  Bill worked up the measurements for me,

Print 4.61 x 7.17  
Bleed (full image) 4.72 x 7.28
On the 8 x 10, 10 inches high, 6.5 inches wide
On the 9 x 12, 12 inches high, 7 3/4 inches wide

but I really have to print out a cartoon and hold it up to the block to see what I think.  Still dithering between blocks, but I'm leaning toward the larger one.  That castle motif is awfully small.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Snowflakes - The Choosing

Time to choose my snowflakes.  I've printed out pages of snowflakes to choose from.  It comes down to feathery ones and geometric ones, probably a mix of both.

Time to nail down the cartoon and start carving.  Christmas isn't going to wait.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Block Prep

Ok, I've got two mismatched blocks, but I can use either one and carve on the back (but it really is time to order more blocks from ).  

So, do I use the 9"x12" or the 8"x10" block?  They're both 3/8" thick, so there's no problem carivng on both sides.

I guess it depends on how tiny I want to carve my snowflakes.  ;- j

Time to work up the cartoon and see.

Snowflakes and castle sans trees.

And of course I have to pick my snowflakes.

I love snowflakes!  (At a distance.)  ;- >


Playing with motif placement in PageMaker.  If I want to print out a cartoon and transfer it to the blocks, I have to translate an 9"x12" image to fit an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper.

Where the outside rectangle is the block and the inside rectangle is the sheet of paper.

Of course I need to leave room for my chop (which I might actually carve separately this time).


Math is my weakest suit, so I'm trying to juggle three sizes:  block, paper, actual card size (5.5"x8.25").

Here's what my cobbled cartoon looks like scaled down to the card size:

Now I can pull this off if the snow fades out to white on the bottom.  This particular image assumes a separate chop, as the top and bottom of the board are represented by the pale gray lines.

I have to keep in mind the wind-marks I want to include.  They can't go below the top or bottom of the board.

Oh well, I can always resort to letting my hubby the math wiz work it out for me.  ;- j  Why else did I marry him?

I haven't done it before, but the title can actually be added when the card is created in vistaprint.