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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Making Friends With Your Adana Press, UWE Bristol, Part 2

Hazard Press, Jeremy Dixon
Jeremy Dixon, Hazard Press - First Print from Adana Press

I have been meaning to do this follow up post for a while. I just wanted to show a few photos of some of the work that was made on the Making Friends With Your Adana Press course at CFPR, UWE Bristol. Just waiting for them to post the courses that they will be running next year so I can choose which one to do :-)

Above and below is the work of Jeremy Dixon and  also below is Lucy Guenot and Mavina Baker. I have included links to ther lovely websites/blogs so you can check out all their beautiful work :-) Just click on their names above.

Hazard Press, Jeremy Dixon
Jeremy Dixon, Hazard Press

Lucy Guenot

Lucy Guenot

Mavina Baker
Mavina Baker

Monday, 27 July 2015

Making Friends With Your Adana Press, UWE Bristol

Adana Press

I attended Making Friends With Your Adana Press  at the CFPR, UWE Bristol on the 2nd & 3rd of July.  I do not own an Adana Press but have been toying with the idea.  All of the other participants brought their lovely Adana's with them. I suppose even if I did have one I couldn't have brought it because I came on the train! The course was led by the Lovely Angie Butler and her husband Si - and there was a lovely Adana there ready for me to use (above).

We covered:
Day One: Parts, Maintenance, Lock-Up and Printing: Angie & Si Butler
Press Anatomy
Set Up and Press Care
Locking up
Printing with Type and Blocks
Day Two: Printing, Techniques and Trouble-shooting : Angie Butler
Printing with plates and Lino

I've put the full set of photos here on Flickr.  We started off looking at different parts of the press and had a run through of general maintenance. I'm sure Angie and Si found it very gratifying with all the ooohs! and aaahs! as those who owned Adana presses found out names of parts and oiling points that they didn't even realise existed. I was fascinated and I don't even own one!

Adana Press, Maintenance

Adana Press, Maintenance

I am not sure why but I was particularly fascinated with the counter mechanism that some of the presses had. It was just such a simple design but obviously a really handy addition to the press.

Adana Press, Print Counter

Hearing about the history of the Adana press was also really enjoyable.  I didn't realise how widely the were used by organisations like Schools, Church Halls and small businesses. I suppose it makes perfect sense - a cheap way for them to print leaflets, business cards, stationery etc. rather than pay a print company.

We were shown a selection of work produced on the Adana.

Adana Press, Seletion of Print Work

It wasn't until I came to print myself that I really appreciated the skill and patience it took to make this print on the box of matches!

Printed using Adana Press

On Day 2 we got to print and I chose a line from an E.E. Cummings poem. Before I even started composing the text Angie guessed right "something about birds" :-)  I chose grey card and a lovely grey ink. I thought I'd written the colour of the ink down somewhere but I can't find it now. The typeface is Univers Medium 24.

Adana Press, Composing Type

Adana Press, Print and type in press

I was pleased with my prints and really enjoyed using the Adana. Am I going to buy one? I'd love to but at the moment I don't have the room. Yes they are small but I have 6 typewriters (!) and it is not just the press its all the paraphernalia that goes with it - type trays etc.

Adana Press, Finished Print
Adana Press, Finished Prints

At the end of the course along with our certificates we were presented with a Printcraft Magazine each.  Mine is from March 1955.  I just love reading these old magazines. In this one I particularly enjoyed the letters page - the story of the shy printer from Birmingham who proposed by composing a card on his Adana.

Angie and Si were great tutors and perfectly complimented each other in their individual areas of knowledge about the press and letterpress printing.  Also  - a really lovely bunch of people on the course and a presentation of lovely letterpress work from the very talented Mog Fry   I think I've already droned on long enough and I hate long rambling blog posts - so I am going to have to leave it here and do a separate blog post about Mog and the work produced by other people on the course :-)

But! Before I go - if you haven't tried one yet I would throroughly recommend the CPD Courses at the CFPR Bristol. I should know I've been doing them since 2006 :-) and there's the running joke that they are running out of courses for me to do.  Apart from learning a new skill its lovely to meet other artists, share ideas and tips and find new ways of working. Then there's the really great facilites at UWE and of course the very knowledgeable and helfpful tutors.  Its also great, if like me your day job is not connected to art (I work in IT Support) - its a really good way to keep connected and keep me sane :-)

Monday, 23 February 2015

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Work In Progress & Finished Book - Personal Histories Exhibition

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Finished Book

This book was made for the Personal Histories Exhibition. It was not the book I first intended to make  - I was going to use the Twinkle Story - however, I just could not make this book work. I wanted it to have a glossy cover but could not get any paper that satisfied all my requirements i.e. the look and the feel, printed well, and could withstand a bit of man handling (!) when gluing and using the bone folder. I was disappointed, I thought I wouldn't be able to take part, but one morning (lying in bed!) the idea for a new book came to me - it came from this blog post about one of my typewriter ramblings
Initially I didn't think the book would be suitable for the Personal Histories project, but then when I started to think about (really hard 'til it hurt!) I realised it was actually perfect. As I made the book and started to type up the Read Me that goes into the back pocket I realised how much it was a part of my personal history, much more than I had ever realised before.

Another thing that happened, was that everything seemed to come together really quickly. I already had all the paper and card (for the cover) - left overs from other projects. The 2 stamps for the images I used were from 2 other books I had made. That is not to say it was a really easy to make - there were the usual hiccups along the way, failed experiments and my printer breaking down.

There's No Such Thing Seagulls, Signatures and Covers Cut

All Covers & Signatures Cut

This is probably the simplest book I have ever made in terms of construction - not a hardcover, no gluing or cutting book board. The most difficult thing was all the typing. The typed text in the book pages was easy. I've come up with my own technique for alignment and measurement on the typewriter and there wasn't a lot of text. However! I decided to be put a short 'Read Me' at the back in pocket - it was half an A4's worth of typing. My original intention was to type it once get a good copy - scan this in and then print 10 copies (the book is an edition of 10).  My printer had other ideas....so I ended up typing all 10.

When I started I thought there is no way I can type this 10 times - I'd done a few practice runs - but in the end I managed it. I made mistakes but I learned ways to amend them. My RSA I typing training started to come back to me.  I learned to touch type in South Bristol College in the early 90's on an electronic IBM and got a distinction in my exam! I remember buying my little typing kit from WH Smith with the special pencil eraser and brush etc. Its weird to think now that stationery shops sold stuff like that.  I remember part of the training was correcting your mistakes and the tricks and techniques came back to me, I had totally forgotten about this even though I still have my certificate! Unfortunately the only photo I have of all 10 copies typed up is this awful one below. My hands were probably trembling after all the typing!

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Typing Text for Read Me

So not only did the book tell the story of part of my personal history - the making of it resurrected another part that I had forgotten about. I began to think about my long relationship with typewriters. The first typewriter I used was a very old Underwood (looking at photos it was probably a 1930s one).  My mother found some of my old  typewriter ramblings when she was doing a clear-out at home and posted them to me.  Looking back on it I was about 12 when I started playing with the typewriter.  I also forgot how much concentration it takes when you are using a manual typewriter - it was quite exhausting!

You may also notice my lovely grey felt typewriter pad in the photo above. Very good for muffling some of the loud tapetty tap tap that drives my boyfriend nuts! I got it from My Typewriter It was expensive but I looked all over and this seemed the thickest and best quality. It fits all my manual typewriters (5 in total now!).

It wasn't until I got right to the end of the book and had nearly finished that I realised that if it was not for the events described in the story I might not even be making books today. Then I felt a bit stupid in totally overlooking this and not realising it was such a big part of my personal history. The 'Read Me' explanation is similar to the blog post but slightly amended, with some other thoughts. If you've got good eyesight you may be able to read it from the photo below.

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Read Me

I can't fully remember how I first started to use typewriter text for my rubber stamps but I seem to remember it has a lot to with font snobbery! Why else would I torture myself with choosing a really difficult serif font to carve instead of nice plain Verdana or Tahoma. I carved the text for the cover using the same method I had used for Nest Building Perils & Pleasures - all the text in that book was carved by hand (I must have been mad).

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Text Drawn On Rubber

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, First Cut Rubber

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Text Stamp In Progress

I am really happy with the way the cover text looks and it printed beautifully with a Memento Grey Flannel ink pad.

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Text Stamp In Progress

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Finished Book

I used a 5-hole pamphlet stitch to sew it and decided to round the corners. I used an X-Cut 5mm corner punch for this. It did a good job on the thick 250gsm Somerset paper for the signatures and the Daler Rowney Canford Card (Dreadnought Grey) for the cover.

There's No Such Thing As Seagulls, Sewing Pamphlet Stitch

I am quite happy with the end result and it has been posted to the lovely Robyn Foster who is coordinating this exhibition. I would like to take this opportunity to also say thanks to Robyn for all her hard work and patience organising this. Sounds like a nightmare of a task!

You can see all the Work In Progress and Completed Book here.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Robin, Rubber Stamp Print

I've been thinking about making a Robin print for a long time and had a few requests for one.  After a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall I was inspired again to make one and more importantly finally got round to doing it.

The first time I visited the Eden Project I thought the bird song was a recording, but then found out that the cheeky little Robins had taken up residence in the bio-domes.

Again strange things started happening when I was photographing the print outside - there was a robin in a tree above me. Something similar happened when I photographed my Goldfinch print. I wonder how they know? ;-)

Robin Moleskine

Here are some photos of the stamp in progress. I did a drawing from a photograph I took at my parents house in Ireland. I did some tests with my inkpads to make sure I had the right colours. I ordered 3 different inkpads trying to get the rust/orange colour right and finally ended up using one I already had -  Memento Tangelo - but stamping it twice to get the depth of colour.

Original Drawing for Robin Print

Original Drawing and Photograh

First Cut, Robin Stamp

First Cut - outline

Robin Stamp, In progress

Almost finished - Experimenting with colouring pencils

Robin Stamp, Nearly Finished

Nearly there - testing inkpad colours

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pressure Printing, UWE, Bristol


This post is long overdue!  I did this course in July of this year, I posted the photos on Flickr and never got round to writing about it.

Here is a description from the UWE Website:

"Stratography or Pressure Printing is an innovative and experimental technique that uses a flexible plate attached to the cylinder of the press underneath the printing paper and is run through the press over an inked block. The pressure from the low-relief collage displaces the ink and produces beautiful, delicate, soft-edged qualities, not usually associated with relief printing techniques."

The course was led by the Lovely Angie Butler  seen in the above photo poised at the wonderful Vandercook Press. On the press is MDF with a piece of clear acrylic on top - this will be inked up. 


1. So first we inked the rollers.

Rollers Inked up Vandercook Press

2. Rollers inked up.


3. Then turn the handle to ink the block underneath.


4. Block inked up - the block is Type High.


5. Sheet of Acetate placed over the rollers of the press and inked up for registration.


6. Acetate Inked up


7. Registration


8. Registration marks on plate. 

In this case the plate is a piece of paper with some paper cut up to make a pattern. It looks really basic but the result is beautiful.


9. Putting the plate directly on to the rollers - using acetate for registration.

So the plate is placed directly on the rollers. The paper is then placed on top of this  - rolled over the ink block - picks up the ink from the block underneath and takes the impression from the plate.

If you look at picture 5 where the acetate is put on - the paper is placed in the same position - under the metal clips - and then you roll the press.


Finished Print

So here is my plate - surprise, surprise its a feather :-)


We weren't too sure how this would turn out because it had not been tried before. I attached it to the acetate with PVA which was little tricky.



Very pleased with the result. Angie was very surprised at the fine detail picked up by the feather. As always it was a really enjoyable course at UWE, great tutor with a lot of patience, extremely knowledgeable and excellent facilities. I would thoroughly recommend it.


One thing I really like about the process is - for every print you take the ink gets more and more faded. At the end you are left with an impression on the block of your image.


You can then remove the plate and take a print from the block alone which gives a lovely subtle affect - below.


2015 courses have not been all published yet but I suppose I will be back again like a bad penny. I've been going there since 2006 and have managed to do a course almost every year.  There is a running joke that they've run out of courses for me to do ;-)


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