Brrrr... it's a bit cold over here in the Northwest! Kinda helps get us into the winter holiday mood. For the first time, I'm offering digital reproductions of my linocuts as holiday card sets. Four different designs, 2 of each style, with envelopes. Best of all? They are printed on 100% recycled paper.
Have you heard of Paperjam Press? It is my favorite local print shop here in Portland, Oregon. They are great folks to work with, eco-friendliness is important to them, and they have experience working with artists. They are my go to for any digital printing needs (as a printmaker, I am picky!)
And ....they currently have their retail space decked out with local artist holiday card sets. Feels good to get an early start!
It begins with a messy table. Fueled by coffee, patterns and drawings begin to emerge...
Once a drawing is ready, the pencil lines are transferred to linoleum, and the image is carved.
(Side note: Did you know that pikas have no tails and do not hibernate?)
Next the linoleum is fixed to a piece of pressed fiber boardand isready to be printed. Getting out the ink is one my favorite parts of the process. It means I'm done with the registering (the brain-melting part) and ready to work with color. In this case, since pikas live in rocky habitats, I mixed a warm grey for the background. Each color is printed separately. Here's the first print run:
Wall of Pikas
Any other colors or text are added in different print runs, either by hand or letterpress. It can take up to a week for a design to be finished, depending on the number of colors. For the pika, I only used warm grey and gold ink, so I was able to finish him in a day. Here he is:
Right now I'm offering any 4 of my flora and fauna cards as a set, ready to give as a gift or to keep for yourself. These are perfect little note cards for any occasion, and they are printed with a combination of letterpress type and by hand, so they are little works of art that fit in your palm, and great for framing.
On a road trip to Eugene I noticed brown hawks perched like sentinels on the surrounding fence posts. The birds repeated every couple of mile or so, and were low enough that I could see their faces peering around. Since I know nothing of bird lifestyles, I wondered if the hawks have always been so prominent along our highways and I just never paid attention, or if this was some special time for the birds to be willing to come so close to us.
Later, D and I got to attend an Audubon Society bird talk at a campground, and I felt a little closer to understanding the birds around us. I was proud that D quickly identified the Great Horned Owl (I couldn't get a good shot, but here is a Northern Spotted Owl that was found wounded in the Mt. Hood forest...)
D also identified the Peregrine Falcon, probably from lots of unchecked tv time watching Wild Kratts.
Personally, I fell in love with the American Kestral, because it is so itty bitty and it has beautiful red and blue feathers.
As part of my research of common local flora and fauna, I started sketching and researching the birds that I see and hear of the most in the Northwest. They of course migrate all over - we had herons in Florida - but just recently I came upon a heron in the water while kayaking, and it was a perfect moment of stillness.
Lately I've been researching the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. It was one of my end-of-summer goals, after spending the past season in kayaks, running through sand dunes, and hiking through the falls. I chose plants that I see often, including some that I've spied in our own backyard and thought "I should know what that is!" So it's been great to finally have the time to sit down and research.
The finished linocuts are available as blank cards in my Etsy shop here.
I visit my local library pretty much every other day. It started when I was young, only pausing for the 11 years that I worked in a bookstore. Since having a kid and quitting the bookstore, my visits picked up again full force. I'm thankful to have the freedom again to venture beyond the board books, although I still spend the majority of my visits in the picture book aisles, even though D has moved beyond this territory into superhero reader books.
D reading an old favorite, Iggy Peck Architect
So it was probably more for me and less for him that I scooped up Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey...
The cover draws you into the cozy world of the Bluebird, hovering over serene landscapes. As we follow the story, we are pulled into Bluebird's quest to find a missing friend. I love the layering of yellowed paper, scotch tape lines, and other paper bits to create the dimensions of the world below a circling bluebird. We move over vast open spaces edged in detailed pencil drawings. The trees are dotted with heart-shaped leaves and the greenery is edged in scalloped fences - little details that you notice when you visit the book again and again after finishing the story.
This time of year, when the sun starts to set a little bit earlier, and the chill of the night creeps into daylight hours, I can't help but feel nostalgic and a little weepy, remembering old friends. This story perfectly captures that confusing sting of loss, and it serves as a sweet reminder that in the end, we can always keep our friends near, one way or another.