Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My little helper

Where would I be without it? $0.99 from Bunnings, the ubiquitous Australian DIY store, and it's great: a little cork sanding block that handy people wrap with sandpaper to help them get into hard-to-reach places... I use it by wrapping it with strips of scrim (tartalan), telephone-book-paper or tissue paper, to polish up my plate. Because I get arthritis in my hands I often can't grip small things for long, so soft pads of wadded scrim are a nightmare. Wrapping the material tightly around the sanding block enables me to polish just the surface of an etching plate, without the material being pushed into the lines and wiping out too much ink. Naturally this wouldn't be suitable for all prints, but for the plate I'm working on at the moment it's ideal because I get a nice clean surface - no plate tone! - without the pain...

This is the naked sanding block...

Now it's wrapped in telephone paper, to keep it clean, before I wrap other things round it to work with

In Memoriam

I was a trifle disconcerted this afternoon, returning to printing that edition (32 down, only 8 to go!) after a morning having my hair cut and talking Focus business with Ann in town, to find a small, very dead, grey mouse paws down in my paper bath. I was about to push another sheet of 300gsm BFK Rives paper into the water when I realised the bath was occupied...

It takes a certain amount of effort to empty the big black tub: I need to wiggle it to the edge of the box it is sitting on, slide and tilt it gently over the edge and pour into a strategically placed bucket. Two buckets later and the tub can be hauled outside, empty, for a quick rinse round with the garden hose and then back into service!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Printing problems

Is there a collective noun for mosquitoes? Perhaps "a whine of mosquitoes"? I quite like the idea of a whine of mosquitoes, so therefore let me tell you that I had a whine of mosquitoes in my paper bath today. Clearly I rinsed out the paper bath and refilled it, but somehow every print I've pulled today has come out of the paper bath with at least one mosquito leg clinging to it.

Millipedes. Need I say more?

A laugh of kookaburras on the clothes line, mocking my efforts.

Arthritis. Getting older is no joke, especially when my right wrist - of course I am right-handed - is killing me, but I still have to print. Grrr.

[I've lost count and everything's stacked between boards for drying, but I think I've now done 20 really good prints for the edition]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger lessons

I'm not good with technical things (or perhaps I should say that I don't want to get too good at technical things in case I have to start dealing with them myself), and so I had a sinking feeling when I opened this blog yesterday to discover that the right-hand side-bar had disappeared. It's not what you want to see...

I did all the right things: I cleared my cache, republished, discovered a cached version of the page via Google and replaced parts of my template with parts of the template from the cached version and republished. Again. Still no side-bar. So I joined the Blogger Help community, studiously read all related postings from other bloggers whose side-bars mysteriously disappeared, and only then did I post my own question.

I'm still very silly, because it transpires that I made a very simple and obvious mistake, only I didn't spot it! When I posted the picture of the little fish I hadn't edited it in Photoshop beforehand, as I usually do, and so it was too wide and pushed all the content from my side-bar way down the page because it couldnt' fit into its column. Doh! Problem now resolved and I've learned my lesson.

By the way, 13 good ones down, only 27 to go...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three good prints today...

... hooray! And the faintest possibility of a book arts exhibition some time next year...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Remember how much trouble I had last time I printed from my PCA plate...? All the agonising about making the damned thing, and then I had to spend days chipping 'tar' out of the lines with a needle...? I have to say it rather put me off picking said plate up again and re-starting the edition, but needs must so I finally pushed myself into it yesterday.

And blow me! It took only THREE prints before my trusty loupe enabled me to detect the beginnings of it all over again. Three prints! So it looks as if I will have to clean off the damned plate every three prints with white spirit and a tooth brush if I'm ever to finish the task. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it.

Little fishy

We take the dog for a walk on the beach most (ahem) mornings after we've dropped our daughter off to school, and usually there's some sort of treasure just lying there on the sand waiting for you to look...

Today's small joy was a tiny little fish, only 2 cms long, that shone so brightly in the sunshine that I saw it despite its miniscule size.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Well, the wait is over... I got the September issue of the Print Council of Australia's lovely magazine Imprint in the mail today - with my print in the centrefold as part of the 2008 print commission! And it's a good photo of the print, too, which is no mean feat as the blind embossing on the plate makes it difficult to represent accurately. Fingers crossed that people want to buy it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Round and round

When I'm suffering from a lack of energy and/or inspiration I take a look at links people send me or I look at Blogger's 'Blogs of Note' and sometimes, not always, I find something interesting! Here's what I looked at today:

A strange house perched on a small island, which I got from Joanna Goddard's blog, 'A Cup of Jo', which is one of Blogger's Blogs of Note this month. From 'A Cup of Jo' I went to Tina Roth Eisenberg's blog and found Eric Tabuchi's fun truck alphabet, and curiously she took me back to the strange house perched on the small island again, but not until I laughed at the 'How to be a good boss' pdf file from Number 17, which took me back to the 'How to be a good client' article on Tina's blog. It's all suspiciously circular...


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