Posted tagged ‘Wood engravings’

Announcing The Sorcerer and the Seventh Daughter

March 21, 2016

PrintComing to a Zombie Apocalypse near you,
or the Grimsby Wayzgoose, April 30, 2016.

In which Septima locks wit and wile with the
Necromancer who has designs on…. well, everything.

Written and illustrated with wood engravings by Larry Thompson

Printed as the snows of winter faded, after three years of silence from the Press. Now the rumbling voice of the Vandercook can be heard again in the Studio at Greyweathers in Merrickville, in the production of this, another Gothic Trifle, as a sequel to The Vampire and the Seventh Daughter.

Letterpressed with hand-set lead type in the Italian Oldstyle face, with Goudy Text for the titles, on Arches Text wove paper, in a limited edition of 60.

$80.

 

 

Rabbits Unwrapped – Winona Linn

May 17, 2015

Periodically over future posts, I’ll be deconstructing the process I used for  the illustrations of Winona Linn’s collection of poems, The Truth About Rabbits, but I thought I’d introduce you to the shakers and movers of this project.

First and foremost, we have Winona Linn, a young woman who is certainly making a name for herself. When I say she’s a Kingston-based poet, I beg you to take that in the loosest manner possible, since she floats between Kingston, Paris and other worldly points.

img_6514

One of the benefits of having one’s own press is that one may print what one likes  (and you have to say it like that, first person singular pronoun, with a really snobby accent). So I won’t go on and on about the quality of Winona’s poems; if I  didn’t like them, I’d have passed on the opportunity to illustrate them. I will say that these poems are smart, sharp, poignant and witty with refreshingly light-hearted, self-deprecating moments. It is those latter aspects  that conjured images for me from her verse. You see, it has been a very long and dark couple of years; if I had been writing and performing poetry during that time, I would have fit right in with most of the poetry scene – a lot of dark emoting. In fact, I only made one illustration for a book a year or so prior to Rabbits, also for Thee Hell Box Press. Here is that one:

IMG_2387

Linocut illustration from Shane Neilson’s Out of the Mouth 2014 Thee Hellbox Press.

Well. Enough said. There’s plenty in Winona’s vivid imagery to conjure dark images, but (to rip off another poet) ‘I am half-sick of shadows’, so instead I’ve done a lewd Starbuck’s logo, a crow who is about to (or has just) pooped cherries on our poet, a toaster slowly browning a copy of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar,  young lovers in a church etc. Periodically I’ll blog about the imagery that inspired the illustration, and the sometimes bizarre route I took to creating them.

I should note here that Winona does not only excel at writing and performing her own poetry, but she is an illustrator and artist of some force. Prior to her departure for Paris after Rabbits launched, she showed me some of her linocuts…. All I’ll say is that I’m hoping I get the chance to work again with this amazing artist.

 

A Joyful Collaboration: The Truth About Rabbits

May 2, 2015

IMG_2294 copy

It is our great pleasure to announce the release of a book of poems by Winona Linn, The Truth About Rabbits. These edgy, intelligent and humorous poems have been set by hand in metal type by Thee Hellbox Press in Kingston, with wood engravings  cut and printed by Larry Thompson of Greyweathers Press — a joyous collaboration of word, type and image.

The Truth About Rabbits
Poems by Winona Linn
Wood engravings by Larry ThompsonJointly published by Thee Hellbox Press and Greyweathers Press
Hand set in type in the Garamond face printed by Hugh Barclay at Thee Hellbox Press
Wood engravings printed by Larry Thompson at Greyweathers Press
Dimensions: 10.5 x 10″ tall. 20 pages on St. Armand paper
142 copies

$75

IMG_2296 copy

IMG_2293 copy

The Third & Elm Press

November 4, 2012

Click to view larger

Business and good fortune had us visiting Newport, Rhode Island a couple of weeks prior to Hurricane Sandy. The weather was extraordinarily beautiful and temperate, literally a calm before a storm. When I travel with Holly, I try not to schedule too much press activity, which can easily usurp a timetable. But destiny took a hand. While visiting a photography gallery called Blink, we learned that the owner’s mother ran a letterpress in the heart of Newport. On our last day there, Holly and I made sure to visit The Third and Elm Press, named (as you probably surmised) for the corner on which Ilse Burchert Nesbitt’s shop is located.

The home of the Third and Elm Press, located at Third and Elm in Newport, Rhode Island.

Ilse came to America from Germany in 1960, and set up the press with her husband, a calligrapher and book designer, in 1965. There are details and sample of her work on her website at www.thirdandelm.com. She is now 80 years old and not showing much sign of slowing down.

Isle has a very nicely organized studio. It is not large, but it holds an early 19th century “acorn” iron press, a good sized floor standing platin press, a cutter and several banks of type. While she has printed several books over the years, her primary focus these days is in making wood cut prints. In the long-established German tradition, she cuts her blocks using knives, as opposed to gouges and gravers.

A relief wood cut carved with knives on the plank.

The style of knives that Ilse uses for cutting her blocks.

Close-up of the plaque on the ‘acorn’ iron press.

A close-up of Ilse’s work-horse platin press, with a rainbow hue of inks on the underside of the inking disk.

I admired Ilse’s cutting desk, which folds down elegantly when not in use. Most print studios need space-saving solutions like this. (Mine certainly does!)

All the type drawers have beautiful calligraphy labels. Since I live with a calligrapher of some note, I have put Holly on notice that I would like this treatment for my type cabinets as well.

I make a habit of carrying samples of my books and prints with me where ever I go, so I was able to show them to Ilse and recieve a critique. She was refreshingly frank, or perhaps I should say refreshingly Teutonic. She thought my lines might “open up” and become more naturalistic if I abandoned gouges and gravers and adopted the knife as my principal tool, something I will certainly try when I turn my hand to cutting on the plank. She felt that my lines were too clean, that they followed each other too closely, that I needed to “loosen up.” All good advise, and in a sense, that’s the direction my linos had been going prior to my jump into wood engraving.

We spent a very enjoyable afternoon visiting with Ilse, hearing her thoughts on the ‘business’ and dropped some money in her gallery upstairs on a book and two prints. Most of all, it was simply inspiring to meet a fellow printer and print-maker who is steadily pursuing her passion and not letting anything, least of all aging, get in the way.

Announcing Tintern Abbey

May 7, 2012

Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern
Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks
of the Wye during a
Tour, 13 July,
1798

by
William
Wordsworth

~ ~ ~

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length

Of five long winters! and again I hear

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a sweet inland murmur. —Once again

Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

Which on a wild secluded scene impress

Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

~ ~ ~

A letterpress limited edition of 80 copies, 40 pages, hand set with cold type in Goudy’s Italian Oldstyle, with calligraphy rendered digitally to magnesium plates by designer Holly Dean. Illustrated with seven engravings by Larry Thompson. Printed on a Vandercook 219 onto St. Armand Canal paper. Dimensions: 9.5 inches tall x 5.5 inches wide.

REGULAR EDITION: Half bound in cloth with painted papers created by Holly Dean. $160.

DELUXE EDITION: Copies numbered one through fifteen quarter bound by Christine McNair in leather with painted papers created by Holly Dean, in slip cover. Complete with set of engravings printed on St. Armand Old Master paper. $260. SOLD OUT

Shipping and handling additional. Discounts to the trade.

Orders welcome at studio@greyweatherspress.com

~ ~ ~

More than five years have passed since Greyweathers Press published its first book, Coleridge’s popular poem Kubla Khan. Once again, we return to the Romantics to celebrate our first half decade and to commemorate a visit we made to the Wye Valley in the fall of 2008.

William Wordsworth wrote ‘Tintern Abbey’ to be the thoughtful and serious end-note for the poems assembled in Lyrical Ballads (1798), which included the work of his friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We are pleased to present ‘Tintern Abbey’ on its own, featuring an introduction by Professor Mark Jones of Queen’s University, Canada.

~

Tools of the Engraving Trade

March 5, 2012

About five years ago, I went out on assignment to cover the Tools of the Trade show, near Toronto. About 30 or 40 dealers had tables covered, selling everything from your grandfather’s screwdrivers right up to plough planes worth thousands. I’d covered the show before, but that year I went with a mission of my own, to find wood engraving tools. I didn’t have much hope, but asked each dealer until I found one who handed me a plastic bag filled with the familiar “chopped” mushroom handle. It was literally a mixed bag, to say the least. The tools were very old. The handles showed either considerable airburn from the passage of time, or a lot of handling – probably both. I bought them.

Spitsticker showing the "shaved mushroom" handle.

Once home, I realized I had spitstickers and tint tools, perhaps a lining tool or two, but no burins. Clearly some had been better cared for than others: the angle of the points on some were absurd, and others had bowed faces, meaning they would need to be ground to the proper angle again. I ordered two burins from McClain’s, along with a Crocker sharpening jig, because I had no idea how to sharpen the tools, and they must be very sharp to work properly.

So here is my wood engraving kit so far:

Engraving tools.

At the top left, coarse and fine grain ceramic blocks for sharpening the blades. I use the Crocker sharpener prior to beginning work on another block to get the shape back on the top of the blades. While working on the block, I return fairly frequently to the stones to give the blades a touch-up. The Crocker jig works, but it’s not terribly well manufactured, so I’m keeping my eye open for something similar that has been better milled, perhaps in brass. I’m still having some trouble sharpening, and that’s causing some problems in my engravings.

Through the middle are the tools themselves. From left to right; a flat graver (with a full mushroom handle), a rather hefty scorper (or round graver), two spitstickers, a square head and a diamond head burins (from McClain’s), three tint tools (the second and third have points in need of reshaping), and finally two very odd looking tools that might be for stippling. At the bottom are some carving chisels that were in the bag, and one mushroom headed flat graver that needs some work,

The books say that gravers must be cut to fit the hand, and based on the early work I have done with these tools, this is most assuredly true. I’ll have to contact McClain’s or Lyons to see if they can cut the tools to my hand size.

Scorper or round graver

Scorper

Square burin and diamond burin

Spitsticker

Tint tool

Tint tools with badly shaped points.

Stippling tools (I think....)

 

Another New Year – Goals

January 25, 2012

A few press-realted things I’d like to get done this year:

  1. Tintern Abbey, for launch at the Grimsby Wayzgoose later in April
  2. Another goth fable, maybe a golem/frankenstein type story similar in format to the Vampire & the Seventh Daughter
  3. Collaboration with Holly (a book called “LibrAries”)
  4. A type sampler (in booklet form this time)
  5. A series of wood engravings
  6. A series of linocuts
  7. Business cards!
  8. A broadside poster
  9. Complete a family history design project
  10. Maybe a little Shakespeare

%d bloggers like this: