At the beginning of the summer I was taking the rubbish out when the front door slammed shut behind me. I didn't have a key and my phone was inside. Doh! 'im outdoors has just left on an errand and I wasn't sure when he would be back. So what to do? There isn't any side access to the house, but I wondered if I could get into the garden from next door? I rang their bell and hoped someone was in.
June answered. Of course I could try her back gate. But that didn't work. Maybe her husband could help but he was out walking the dog. While we waited for him to get back we chatted and she ended up showing me her sheds.
June was a fabric artist who was also a printer. She doesn't do so much now but she showed me all her stuff and I was quite jealous.
(her husband was able to get me back into my garden and so into the house.)
I'd told June about my paper making, so a couple of weeks later I put some of my paper through her door as she'd sounded interested. She thought it was amazing and asked if I'd like to try some printing. I jumped at the chance.
We finally found a date that worked for us both and she told me to bring some simple line drawings that we could turn into a print.
As it was my Mum's birthday that week and she lives by the sea, I was inspired to try and make a print for a birthday card featuring a seagull.
We went down to Junes shed and she showed me her equipment and what to do. Her shed is perfect. It smells like an art shop, full of ink and paper and tools and odds and ends. I have a room that is trying to be like this but I have a way to go before it is as good as June's shed.
We started by preparing the lino square with a light sanding. I then drew my design on in pencil. This requires some thought as you have to think hard about what you want to show in black (or whatever colour you are using) and what should be white. Also any lettering has to be the wrong way round to come out right in the print.
With the lino all cut away then came the messy part - printing.
First we had to decide which ink to use. Damp and heat and cold can all change how an ink behaves so it's a bit trial and error.
We also had to decide how to press the print. We could use a big press or hand burnish it. Both have their pros and cons.
After a couple of test prints we got the combination right and printed my square.
First we used a piece of plain white paper. Then we tried some of my garlic paper, lastly a piece of paper with a different texture.
I can't believe how well it came out. The letters read fine, the bird looks great and the textured background puts me in mind of sea and wind. Its such a clear print, I keep having to look at it again and remind myself - I made that.
Once the ink was dry I cut the paper down and stuck it to a bigger piece of card to make a birthday card. My Mum loved it.
I'm really inspired now and I'm starting to think about what else I could do like this. Christmas cards maybe? (but not this year!)