Monthly Archives: February 2010

Hiraeth yr Awen 1

Hiraeth yr Awen 1 - bierpapier

Linocut, roughly 200mm square, posted in my Etsy shop.

This was inspired by a conversation with a friend about druidry, and remembering the mountains of Snowdonia where I grew up. It wasn’t originally intended to be a night scene, and it’s turned out a lot smoother and more Art Nouveau than I’d intended – I want to revisit the sketch with another block, probably in relief next time rather than incised, and see if I can get something closer to my original vision.

I don’t normally make separate design sketches – I usually do my designing straight onto the block – but since I did this time, here it is. I copied it freehand onto the lino, since the original sketch had slightly the wrong proportions for the block I had handy.

Hiraeth yr Awen 1 - design sketch

Knotwork dragon – plate & proof

Knotwork dragon - first proof

That’s the first proof from a block I’ve had waiting on my workbench for ages, waiting for me to work out how the top of the dragon’s head should go. Since I took some WIP pictures of the block, here they are – first, while it was waiting, then all finished and ready to ink.

Dragon print WIP

Dragon print WIP 2

And this one’s all inked up and ready to print. The masking tape is there to stop as many as possible of the traces of ink on the open areas getting transferred – as you see from the proof, it’s only partially successful.

Dragon print WIP 3

As for where next – I’m happy with the image itself, but I need to do more work on the open areas, and get a more consistent transfer of ink from the right-hand edge. The effect there is partly down to the surface of the block – it’s standard with water-based ink on a new vinyl block, and tends to tone down when the block’s built up a suitable layer of ink over time – but I’m fairly sure it’s also in my brayer technique. One of these days I really must find some others in different sizes.

High Days – Imbolc

Whilst I’m only about 20% pagan at the best of times (most of the rest is Quaker) I still like to keep the High Days, and today was Imbolc. Or, for the Christian side of me, St Brigid’s Day – patron of poets, blacksmiths, and healers, and always one of my favourites.

My normal artistic practice on High Days is to try and make something new – the rule is that anything I make has to be kept or given away, rather than sold. That’s partly just to make sure that I remember why I’m doing this, and as a reminder to try new things or go back to techniques I haven’t used in ages.

Today, I started out by playing around with some two-part epoxy putty, and there’s some jewellery hardening across the room – a stick pin, three brooches, and two choker slides. The brooches I’ve done before, but that was years ago, before I acquired a Proxxon drill for sanding and buffing. (Vorsprung-grade German engineering, slightly better than Dremel in its class.) There is almost no craftsman’s task I hate more than sanding things by hand, and consequently I’m not very good at it. Late tomorrow, or in a few days, they’ll be ready to paint & varnish, and we’ll see how they turn out.

After that, I started playing around with some colour/paper/glaze combinations I hadn’t tried before, and this was the result. It’s Ara dark bronze acrylic on Gmund bierpapier (Boc), with three coats of lightly gold-tinted Rheotech gloss gel glaze. I was rather impatient, and put the second & third glaze coats on when the first was touch-dry instead of properly clarified, but I rather like the clouded effect in this case – it looks like a faux-nori finish, which entertains me.

Bronze on bierpapier