Of Oz, Clogs and Linocut Prints!

Gentle reader,

When I finished high school in Australia, I went on student exchange to the US to do the last half of senior year all over again. Glutton for punishment, right? ^_~ Not really, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life, and I met some of the most awesome peeps ever. And, I also got to learn how to do linocut prints! I wish for the life of me I could remember my art teacher’s name, she was so amazing, and I feel like a jerk that I can’t remember. But, that class was so amazing, and I learned more about art and craft in the six months than I did in the two years I took art at my Australian school.

Anyway, recently my super lovely friend, Amy (who blogs at Mildly Crafty, so you should give her some love!), gave me a whole bunch of linocut bits and bobs – all stored in a delightful old cardboard suitcase – and a book about different DIY printing processes. I already had some linocut stuff, but I hadn’t touched it in years so this got me all fired up about linocut all over again!

Amy’s Awesome Gifties.

I didn’t use the clean, new blocks that Amy gave me, because I wanted to save those for when I was more practiced, so I used some lino scraps I already had. The fabric paint didn’t work very well on my lino – it balled up and didn’t print very well – so I used the regular block ink that I already had. I can’t wait to do some fabric printing though!

My first carving went straight into the bin because I’d forgotten to mirror the letters so they printed the right way, but after that I did a Wizard of Oz print which came out really well! I was very happy with that one. Beginner’s luck. The next one I did was of the clogs. It’s somewhat of a tradition for bloggers to take pictures of their feet, I guess, which I’ve always thought was quite funny and cute. A bunch of the lovely ladies whose blogs and Instagrams I follow seem to love their clogs, so I asked GourmetGirlfriend if I could use one of her Instagrams as a reference and carved a tribute to bloggers who clog. ^_~

It’s slow going, but super satisfying!

I’m still finding the best amount of ink to use. The first time, I used to too much, and tried watering it down a little. I got the best prints from thicker ink though, and having a lot of ink had some trade-offs. I got better prints, and more prints from one application, but I also got more waste prints at the beginning from the ink squishing around the edges too much. So, the second time I used less ink, and got good prints, but not quite as good, and only one or two prints per application. I need to find the happy medium.

The roller is called a brayer. The more you know!

I did prints on brown paper and some canvas cartridge. I think I liked the brown paper best. I have lots of love for brown paper… brown paper bags, brown paper parcels, ah! I love it all! So, I was really happy with my brown paper prints. I found that I liked the Oz design a lot more when the print wasn’t completely even, and the paper showed through in places with the ink. But, for the Clogs one, I liked it more when the print was very crisp and even.

No Place Like Home, and Clog Lovin’

The canvas was more of a mixed bag. I think it was just a little too textured, and the Clogs design went right up to the edge so it was tricky to line up. I think I’d like to try printing on some other textured materials that aren’t quite as rough, like watercolor paper or something. I still liked them! Just not quite as much.

Click your Silver Clogs three times… (or Ruby Clogs for the movie peeps).

All in all, I’m properly happy with the carvings, but I still have some experimenting to do with the printing process. They’re definitely not Etsy-ready, but hopefully soon. Experimenting is the fun part, so I’m well keen to get on with it!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished sock to show you soon! ^_^

What other kinds of designs would you like to see? Have you done any printing before?

Awardzies!

Gentle reader,

I’ve been bestowed with an award, from Cross(stitch) Your Heart! I’ve not had the opportunity to have a very good sit and read of  that blog just yet, but I did have a bo-peep at her cross stitch pieces and they’re staggeringly awesome! So, you should absolutely go and have a sticky beak. ^_^  (And thank you very much, T.M!!)

So, anyway, she left some very lovely compliments and this award in the comments on my last post, so there you have it! Here’re the rules:

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Well, I’ve done the thank-yous and linkies, so here are 7 things about me:

1. My Pa taught me how to use tools and sharp things before I even started school. It took me a long time to realize that most other kids didn’t play with hammers and nails and stanley knives…

2. My favorite book of all-time-ever is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If you haven’t read it, you need to buy it right this second. Go on, now.

3. To me, the sound of someone else brushing their teeth makes my skin crawl and completely freaks me out. It’s like my equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Geesh. It doesn’t even make sense!

4. My Ma’s favorite film is Dr Zhivago, and back in the day, we had it on VHS and it was so big it was across two tapes and it was in a fancy box. I think I watched it almost every weekend of my life until I was eight or nine. I didn’t really understand it then, but I thought it was properly beautiful, especially the act at Varykino. Now I understand it AND think it’s properly beautiful (cuz I growed up, I did!).

5. I used to go sailing with my Pa. We had a 16-foot wooden sailboat named “Ralphie Too” which was named after me – my Pa calls me Ralphie though none of us can remember why – and I loved every minute of it. We even sunk it once! Well, we didn’t sink it per se, the tide went out and dropped onto the stump of a demolished pier. I even some medals and trophies from sailing in competitions with him. I wish I’d kept going with it, but, y’know. Teenagers are revolting and weird and difficult and I was no different.

6. Back in my theater days I played: a dead body, a drug addict, an elderly business magnate, a Scottish prison officer, a British prison officer who was haunted by the souls of those he’d had hanged (and he later became a dead body too), and a peg-legged sea captain with a heart of gold.

7. I put my grilled cheese sandwiches in the fridge for ten to fifteen minutes before I eat them. Cray-to-the-azy, riiiiiight!?

Now, I’m supposed to nominate 15 other blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award. I had some trouble doing this at first for a couple reasons. Firstly, I wasn’t sure I even followed that many blogs. I mean, I have a lot in my RSS reader, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the amazeballs blogsticles out there, and some of them don’t update very often. Secondly, I admit, I was a little concerned about the vaguely chain-letter-ish nature of the award. In the end, I figured love is love, and I like sharing it. As it turns out, all of my never-miss-read-religiously blogs totalled 15! It was meant to be.

So much love for these blogssssaaahhh! All images from the respective blogs and belong to them.

Linkies in alphabetical order:

BonitoClub
Crocher Hooker
GourmetGirlfriend
House of Humble
Kit & Nancy
Knitxcore
Little Yellow Cat
Meet Me At Mike’s
Milkveins
Ouch Flower
Sian Lile Makes
Tea & Craft
Veggie Mama
Woollenflower
The World Is A Chocolate Cupcake

I won’t write little blurbs for all of them, but just trust me that they’re properly amazing. No lie. I’ll probs feature them individually at some point if I haven’t already. Meanwhile, I was pretty surprised that three food-focused blogs are in my never-miss-it list! I’m not at all a foodie, and if any of these people knew the horrific and bizarre eating habits I have they would judge me harshly and shun me from society. Well, Kate does have an idea, but she’s still my friend, so there’s still hope…

What’s the best award you’ve ever gotten? Sharezies! 

Meet Me At Mike’s

Gentle readers,

There are a great many wonderful people in this world, some of whom you’ve never met, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that. Well, I woke up today with a lovely reminder of that.

I logged into my WordPress, and was flabbergasted to see that my hits for the day had soared up to 220 hits (I usually average between 15 and 30 hits a day, which I’m well happy with). So, I took to the stats page, looked at the referrers and saw that most of that traffic had come from Meet Me At Mike’s, a blog by Pip, who is also author of the Meet Me At Mike’s books. I hopped over to have a bo-peep and she’d featured me in a post she’d written about her favorite “bloges” (blogs written by blokes, naturally).

Meet Me At Mikes! Click it and go read!

So, a big, enthusiastic thank you to Pip! And if I’m truly frank and honest, I’ve been a little bit star struck since Pip and I befriended each other on Google+ because I’ve loved her books for a long time. You should definitely go buy them!