Tag Archives: hares

Pasta Print Perfect!

2 Jul
Repurposing and recycling an old pasta machine into a portable printing press

Pasta Maker Printing Press

The tabletop pasta maker had it’s first trial as a mobile printing press today. RESULT!!!!! It worked beautifully. It’s taken ages to renovate because we had stored it in a really damp cupboard and it was badly rusted, but WD40, patience and elbow grease did the job.

Here’s how I recycled it…………….


First, I cut a piece of Intaglio Printmaker’s paper drypoint etching plate and then I redrew a little drawing of a hare onto it, from one of my sketchbooks, using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S. Thirdly, I scratched over the linework with my drypoint tool, just breaking the surface of the plastic coating. Then I cut and soaked some small pieces of Bockingford before removing the pen drawing with a very lightly dampened piece of cotton wool. Finally I cut some pieces of felted wool to be used as tiny blankets for the pasta press.

Inking up the drypoint plate ………..


I put a blob of Intaglio Printmaker’s Drypoint Mix oil–based etching ink onto my inking block (a recycled bit of marble from an old fireplace) and picked some up with a mini rubber squeegee. I squeegeed the ink across the little drypoint plate then removed the excess, firstly with the edge of an old business card and then with a piece of tissue paper, taking care not to take too much off. Finally I wiped the edges with a rag, cleaned my hands and blotted a piece of the soaked Bockingford paper.

Making a blanket sandwich …….


On top of one of the first blanket I laid a clean piece of tissue paper, then the blotted Bockingford and then placed the drypoint plate, inky side down, then another layer of tissue and finally the second blanket.

Taking the print ……..


I picked up the blanket sandwich very carefully and firmly, making sure none of the layers slipped and rested the bottom edge onto the rollers in the pasta press. I turned the handle with one hand while keeping a tight grip on the blanket sandwich with the other. Once it was through, I peeled away the layers and voila! A teeny little etching.

These paper drypoint plates make an edition of 10 or so etchings before wearing out. I think I might try some hand colouring on these little hares, with my Winsor & Newton Artist’s Watercolours.

More Mini Monos

5 Jun
mini monotypes of hares and badgers

mini monotypes of hares and badgers

After two days in Bath at Fringe Arts Bath with the Commensalis group, I came home and did a day of making monotypes at Creative Bubble with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective. I was there on Monday doing more of the same. Today I used some drawings of a hare and badger from my little spotted sketchbook. I’m using different papers – acid-free tissue, Saunders and cartridge. Each gives a different line quality. I like them all, can’t choose a favourite. This weekend, I’m going to have a lie-in. If the cats let me. Which they won’t.




24 Mar

hare 1hare 2

I cut these little lino blocks of running hares a few weeks ago. Now I’ve done some proof prints. I’m pleased with them so I’ll print up an edition.

hare right hare leftI’ve used black oil-based litho/relief ink onto a Japanese hand-made lightweight paper. I’ll probably do an edition of about 30 of each.

The Name Game

21 Mar

21 stu 1

One of the things I find hard to do is think up names for my artworks. I don’t want to number them #1, #2, #3 and so on. And I don’t like to label them ‘Untitled’, so I often struggle to name a piece. This little lino block of a dancing March hare was easy though.

21 stu 2

Obvious really. Disco ‘Rabbit’ Stu. 😉

Based on an original drawing, cut into lino, printed onto Japanese lightweight hand-made paper with black oil-based litho/relief ink using a Colombian Press at Swansea Print Workshop.


Hares And Colombians

3 Mar

hare 1hare 2

I’ve been doing a lot of drawings from British wildlife photos and I’ve started to cut little lino blocks from them. I’ll be taking these to Swansea Print Workshop soon to ink them up and print them on the old Columbian Press, one of my favourite pieces of machinery. I’ll probably use an oil-based relief/litho ink in black onto a white Japanese paper and limit the editions to 30 or 40 each.

hare 3

Here’s a Colombian, isn’t it lush? The one at the print workshop dates from 1855. I love antique machinery and tools.

Colombian Press


Hare Pair

28 Jan


Today I finished cutting the small lino block of a hare that I started a couple of days ago. When it was completed, I liked the idea of cutting a mirror image to make a pair of hares. They’re similar, not identical and I cut them with my set of Flexcut tools, using a Flexcut Slipstrop to sharpen the gouges every 4 or 5 cuts. If you let the tools get blunt, it’s a real hassle to resharpen them, much easier to keep them sharpened as you work. And they’re pretty sharp – I managed to draw blood on 2 of my fingers, despite using a bench hook to cut on.

It’s good to get back to a simple technique like block cutting. I’m a huge fan of paleolithic art and one of the earliest art forms was rock carvings, or petroglyphs. Carving into lino or wood blocks is a similar process and although there’s no evidence that prints were taken off petroglyphs, it’s a small step to carving onto wood and using pigments to make prints. Fabric printing from blocks is thousands of years old and I feel this continuity of the practice whenever I carve a new block.

Next step is to do a proof print from each block to see if the image is complete or if I need to do any more cutting.

Hare Cuts

26 Jan

26 print progress

*Groan*, another bad hare pun! I’m using some of the wildlife sketches I’ve done to develop some very simple lino blocks that will be printed up into smallish editions in the next few weeks. I’ve just made a start on the first one. I’ve hand drawn the hare onto the lino, using my original sketch as a guide and I’ve started cutting around the outer edge with a small gouge.

You can see my ‘slipstrop’ in the picture; it’s a leather sharpening block which uses a yellow polishing compound on its surface. I give my tools a couple of strokes on the strop after every 4 or 5 cuts to keep them sharp. Underneath is my bench hook; that’s what I cut the blocks on as they can be held firmly while I cut into them. The sharp tools can give nasty cuts if they slip, so a bench hook is a vital piece of equipment.



Bad Hare Day

22 Jan

22 bad hare day

Yesterday was a good hare day, today a bad hare day. The expression on the face is OK but the ears are WAY too small. Drawn into my A6 spotty sketchbook with Derwent pencils in B and 3B from a photograph. Oh well, can’t win ’em all. I’ve done enough hares now, so no more bad puns from me 🙂

Good Hare Day

21 Jan

21 hare pencil

Back to some focussed wildlife studies. More hares. I like this one. It’s in proportion. It’s a good hare. Drawn with Derwent pencils, B and 3B into an A6 sketchbook.

Wild Scribbles

18 Jan


Day 2 at Creative Bubble and I carried on drawing large-scale studies of British wildlife for something I’m planning to do in coming weeks. Alongside the two hares I did yesterday I scribbled a hedgehog and badger.


My drawing style changed slightly with each animal; quite jerky with the hares, spiky on the hedgehog and quite blocky on the large, ponderous badger. I guess that reflects the way the animals look but I wasn’t expecting such a difference in the way I did my drawing strokes – it just happened.

4 animals straight on

I also like drawing onto newspaper. The overall piece is about 10 feet long and maybe five feet high and I’ve enjoyed working on such a huge scale after spending several days drawing hares into a tiny sketchbook and into a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. It’s much more physical and my shoulders and neck are aching now. Back to a tiny sketchbook tomorrow, I think.

The art collective I’m a part of, 15 Hundred Lives, will be doing these 2-day monthly events regularly throughout the year. If you’re around in Swansea, come and check us out or keep tabs on us through our Facebook group or website. Those hares look like they’re disco dancing 😀

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