Monday, May 17, 2010

The wall

This is Friday's engraving work. As you can tell, I've been dealing with the engine house wall. I gave this area a great deal of thought; it needed to be light, but darker than the snow. It needed to show a little texture, but not too much because of the size of the engraving. I think it will print ok, I'm happy so far.

I'm working now on the illustration work I mentioned before, but will carry on engraving a little at the end of each day till this is done. I'm looking forward to seeing how it proofs up!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Snow, snow, quick quick snow!

I'm engraving again today, as the illustration brief I was expecting hasn't come in yet. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Cornish Heritage

Another day's engraving and the image is taking shape. I'm very much enjoying the vigorous cutting of the snowy bank and looking forward to another day engraving tomorrow.

This building is on an old tin mine, on the edge of our village. The whole area is riddled with old tin and copper mines and they mostly closed forever in the early 20th century. Only one still survives, soon to be re-opened; South Crofty, in Camborne, just down the hill. This is Marshall's shaft Pumping Engine house once used for pumping water out of the South Condurrow tin mine workings. Another set of mine ruins not far away (still in the village environs) on the fabulously-named 'Great Flat Lode' are softened by moss and mounds and constitute part of the best network of traffic-free bridleways in Cornwall. We went walking there for the first time a couple of weeks ago, without the camera, unfortunately, but I shall take it next time as it's a wonderful walk.

Another illustration job is due in the next few days, so I'm making the most of this free time. Hopefully I shall be able to finish this block soon and get a proof run off.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

And the next one please.....

The idea for this block has sprung itself on me very quickly and I'm really enjoying engraving it. I should be able to crack on with it this week, as I'm awaiting the brief for the next illustration job to come in.

Although the left side of the building has been shaded on the block, I have had a change of mind and the front will be the darker side, with the light coming from the left, instead. I've changed my paper rough accordingly but must be careful not to get carried away and forget I've changed my mind!

This is another resurfaced block. That dark blob going up the right hand side goes right the way through the block; not sure what it is, but the wood feels very slightly different under the blade there.

I have some more old blocks to get resurfaced by Chris Daunt, when I dig them out. I'd also like to try lemonwood and resingrave too.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


 As promised, I have set to and printed the block. It was probably the easiest block I've ever printed....hardly any duff prints, at first glance, but I need to have a good look through them later, when they're dry. This is a vast improvement on my duff/good print ratio when I first began printing....then it was almost 50%!

The block is 12.6cm x 8.8cm and was an old pear (I think) block that I sent away to be re-surfaced and thus re-used. It's a very good type of recycling, as it saves you the cost of a new block (and end-grain blocks aren't cheap) but you do have to contend with the block being lower than type-high, as the original design has been shaved off it. Nothing a piece or two of card under the block, on the press bed, won't fix though. Of course if you print without a press, say, you burnish your prints with a spoon, then the height of the block becomes irrelevant.

It was printed on a thin Japanese paper called Sunome Senaka, using my old Farley cylinder proofing press.

And a peep now at the sketch for the next idea, one that I have actually started to engrave. The image is 7.6 x 9 cm and depicts one of the many engine /winding houses that dot the Cornish landscape hereabouts (I live in the Camborne area) and the image also celebrates the rare snow that covered Cornwall this winter.

This is a smallish block, (another re-surfaced one) so I think I will keep it simple in detail and clean-lined.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Printing tomorrow!

Here is the block, elements adjusted, re-cut to let in more light and parts that needed more in the way of defining have been defined. Printing tomorrow, or maybe....later today! As soon as the print is dry enough to scan I shall post it here, so keep an eye on the blog.