Stamping & signing


I designed a monogram for myself this year & with the help of graphic designer Sarah Owen  & Roeszlers Engraving in Melbourne, I had an embossing stamp made.  It was a costly process but well worth it in terms of being able to put my mark on my work in a professional manner.  The ‘Bird on  Rock’ series is the first time I’ve used it.   I really love it ! 

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Spatula rest

It’s very easy to get into a big inky mess at the inking bench. This week I created a rest for my ink spatulas.  Such a simple thing… I just screwed a piece of dowel to the table next to my ink slab.  It’s made such an incredible difference to the order, cleanliness & how I work at the inking table. 

Happy dance

Detail of “Forty Spots on the Rocks”


I began the actual printing of my Collagraph plates this week & after a week of burning the midnight oil, much experimenting & testing, proofing, puzzling & pondering…. I’m finally getting some clean un chaotic compositions & colours with my Bird on Rock series. I very nearly gave up on this idea so  I’m pretty ecstatic right now.

A slow & labour intensive journey toward the manifestation of the final prints that are worthy of showing is always the way with printmaking.  I always used to feel so frustrated & disappointed that my artist proofs were crap & now I accept that the APs are the learning, the testing, the figuring out. It can be a painful journey for a novice like me. Rome wasn’t built in a day !! Printmaking definitely teaches me patience. Oh…. the feeling when you get when you peel back the blankets on the press bed & voila ✨… There lies a beautiful print, with all areas resolved. Your heart sings, you whoop some crazy bird sounds madly into the air, you do a happy dance. That feeling is the reason I do printmaking. I’m so glad I persevered through all the “frustrations & disasters with this set of prints. It’s been in my head for a long time. 

I’m on a roll now …… I still have a lot of work to do but I’ll be proud & excited  to show my final resolved work in a months time at the Bruny Island Bird Festihttp://www.brunybirdfestival.org.au/val Woooohooooo

Nearly at ink stage ! 

So much has to happen with printmaking before the ink comes out.  

Collecting!  The collecting is an integral part of my printmaking. I’m forever collecting stuff for my plate making…..bits & bobs, scraps of this & that, botanical specimens etc. The foraging & collecting is a continual & ongoing process for me. 

Next…. The worst part for me is nutting out the scale & measurements of print area, paper size & borders ! 

Next ….. Design the bare bones of the composition & make the printing plates & stencils (my favourite bit). I never go overboard with the planning here & I leave heaps of things unresolved for spontaneity later on in the process. The ink has a mind of its own ! My plate making / stencil making takes weeks. 

collograph plate detail o


Next…..when the plates are complete its paper time. Tear all the paper down to size. A printmaker always tears the paper ! Soak the paper, blot the paper, stack & wrap the wet paper.  

Set up the press ….make the registration sheet & adjust the pressure on the press… Each plate needs a specific & ideal pressure. A task in itself but I’m getting better at it. Too much pressure can wreck the printing plate, not enough pressure & you get a crappy print.  

Then the ink comes out & colour mixing & testing begins. Ink is not like paint….& colour mixing is an art in itself. I use plate oil & transparent ink to achieve my colours. It’s tricky. I write down most of my colour recipes. I’ve still got so much to learn here. 

The actual printing (my other favourite bit) is where the magic happens ….. But that’s another story ! Better get to work …. I’m nearly at ink stage for my series “Bird on Rock”