Archive for the ‘Shows’ category

On humility….

March 2, 2016

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Yes, that’s a litter box under my press. As Tennyson fades into extreme old age, he chose the space where I kept my rags under my press as his salle de bain, so it seemed to make sense to move his litter there. Also, using an antique section of banister, we are able to keep the dogs from devouring the contents of the litter, which is simply gross and where I draw the line at humility. It means as I work on getting the type printing just right or fighting with make-ready on wood engravings, I catch the occasional whiff of…. Is it me? Surely not! Ahhh, the cat.

The press, being both the source of beauty, elegance and style – and Tennyson’s depository – does bring me down to earth when things are going well, as they have been for the past year or so. In 2015, I received word that the University of Toronto’s Fisher Library wanted to acquire all books and broadsides printed to date, with a keen interest in anything else I come up with.

The year also saw me blaze through 20 shows: indoor with table or booth, and outdoor under tent. These shows were on the whole very successful, and just a few changes I will be repeating the same number in 2016. Shows are a wonderful way to meet new people, and to keep up with friends and collectors.

As for what shows I’ll be doing, I’ll be adding a page to this blog, but a listing will also appear in my newly reinvigorated website, complete with an on-line store for prints, all to be found at www.greyweatherspress.com

The biggest news this year will be the release of the most ambitious project yet from the press: Ecclesiastes. Yes, Greyweathers Press is getting biblical, with a heft that will weigh in at an estimated 80 pages of beautiful Arches Text Wove, illustrated with 60 odd wood engravings. Stay tuned, a detailed announcement is forthcoming.

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An early draft of the title page design.

So with all of this activity, Tennyson’s periodic visits to my press keep me from getting too full of myself, and rightly so. It is all about the work, after all, and not the accolades.

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You can’t beat City Hall…. for art!

September 14, 2015

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So it’s back to Toronto this week to set up at the Toronto Outdoor Art Expo, held at Nathan Philips Square in the shadow of City Hall on September 18, 19, and 20. Don’t miss this art extravaganza!

 

Book Arts & Small Press Show in Toronto

August 21, 2015

Two years ago I had the privilege to show my books in the womb of the Fisher Rare Book Library at University of Toronto. It’s happening again on September 12, 2015 from 10 to 5 pm at 120 St. George Street in Toronto, Canada. For more info, click here.

A view of what participants and attendees of the Fisher Small and Fine Press Fair see all day.

A view of what participants and attendees of the Fisher Small and Fine Press Fair see all day.

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Next! Bon Echo Park show

July 20, 2015

Early next Friday morning, Holly and I will be heading north by north-west to Bon Echo Park, where I will be setting up for three days, once again out in the woods, although this time it is in a rather large clearing. And once again, we’re hoping for pleasant weather and lots of patrons. At last weekend’s Fantasy in the Forest, I revealed and offered for sale illustrations from the upcoming book, The Sorcerer and the Seventh Daughter. The vaguely fantastical nature of the engravings fit nicely with the show. There will be new work for Bon Echo as well, but it will be more in tune with nature, the joys of the woodlands and lakes, and an homage to the Group of Seven.

artshowposter15Note that there is admission to the park, but not to the show itself.

Forest fantasy over for another year

July 20, 2015

After two very successful, if rather hot and sticky, days in the woods, we are home. We met many new people who had not been to the show before, which means word of the show and promotion is reaching new markets. My hat’s off to Jamie and Annette Brick and their helpers for all their hard work, in sometimes less than ideal conditions, and this, their 20th anniversary show. Myself, I’m looking forward to exhibiting for the next 20 years!

Kudos to those who wore rather hot costumes throughout a very warm and humid day in the woods.

IMG_2721 copyOn of the features that makes Fantasy in the Forest so wonderful an experience is the beautiful singing Maria and Albert, and now their son. The singing is operatic and sometimes haunting; we were grateful to be close to these extraordinary performers.

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Forest Fantasy grooves Alice theme this year

July 17, 2015
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Sketch for title page illustration for The Truth About Rabbits

On Saturday at least, expect to find vendors and visitors to the Fantasy in the Forest Show in “Alice in Wonderland” themed costumes, according to organizer Jamie Brick. Just another reason to come check out the show, rain or shine.

The Fantasy in the Forest (or FAF) is our favourite show of the year; setting up and showing with the other exhibitors is like a reunion, as is meeting the people who come year after year to this ‘wonderland in the woods.’

I often get asked how my books and prints hold up in the great outdoors under tent. So far, so good, but I still have tests to face. In the early days, I swore I would only do indoor shows, not liking the risks that rain, damp, wind and the odd tornado tend to bring to an outing. Other extremes, like humid heat and, yes, cold (this is Canada) also discourage visitors. FAF would become the test venue in many ways, situated as it was (at the time) right on a lake shore with July bringing every extreme of weather imaginable. Obviously, the paper and books on display respond as one would imagine to high humidity, from the air or the ground, but handmade and cotton papers are incredibly resilient, and if books are bound properly, they ‘move’ almost not at all. And any changes that do occur inside frames or inside plastic sleeves returns to normal as soon as it goes back into the studio. The one thing I watch is books in plastic wraps; if left in hot sunlight, moisture contained in the book will condense inside the plastic, and if any of the bindings are cloth or leather, there’s a risk of staining. As I said, I’ve now done dozens of outdoor shows in most conditions outside of apocalypse, and so far, so good.

So, we’re packed and ready to go! See you in the woods….

Wood Engraving – Craft Show Productivity

November 15, 2013

At the most recent craft sale, Holly and I set the booth up so I would have a little table to work on for cutting engravings or linoleum. I will always do this in the future, if there is any room at all in the booth. People are interested and astonished by the process, it makes the shows bearable during the lulls and it looks more productive than thumbing away on an iPhone. I suppose the amount of cutting that gets done is directly proportional to the truck and trade passing thought the aisles, but so it goes. I finished three engravings during the five day show: one was a demo block that I had been chopping away at  through the summer and fall shows, and finally ‘finished’ into a kind of abstract.

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1.25″ x 4″ size cut on resingrave block

My next exercise was to explore the relation of light and dark in skin tones using lines, with interesting effect but needing more attention.

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Proof and endgrain maple block  2.25″ x 3.25″

And finally, those who follow this blog may have read about a recent personal project involving my family history. Earlier in the summer, I sketched a pencil drawing of my ancestor, based on his photograph, onto a block. While idling at the show, I inked in the pencil drawing to indicate areas of black, gray and white, while ignoring the background for the moment.

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Following the advise of some wise engravers, I began with the most difficult areas first, the face, hands and the lines of the coat, and the wrinkles in the bent arm. For the arm in particular, I went in with the fine tipped marker and clarified precisely the wrinkles. After completing the figure, I cut the chair and table, then had my fanciful way with the background. My only agenda there was to create a contrasting backdrop that was somewhat lighter and more graphic than the very tonal figure and face.

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Block size 2″ x 3.25″

And the result:

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I like it, although it needs some work still. The background work fine, and I am very pleased with the face, beard and hands — faces and hands are tricky. I wish I had left more shadow in the crook of the arm and along the breast, the contours of which seem wrong. The lower portion of the coat is almost perfect, and the pants worked out pretty well. There are some amateur errors — my graver slipped more than once along old Joshua’s forehead, which I assure you pained me more than it did him. In retrospect I might have done something more with the white space behind the chair, even just some visual noise, but there you go. In the original photo, Joshua has some unruly bed-head action going on, clearly a familial trait that has passed on to his great-great-grandson, so I preserved that element.

I cut myself some slack, since this is only the ninth or tenth illustrative engraving I’ve tried my hand at, and am still flailing around a bit as I adjust to the tools and the new medium. But it’s definitely coming along, and the possibilities in detail offered by the medium are pretty exciting.


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