Good Tidings

With the holiday season at hand, it's time to prepare excessive meals, wrap presents, and for the postally-minded, send holiday cards. For the past few years I've been making my own now, and this year was no exception. I made these back in October, so that I wouldn't be scrambling later on.

I always like to use local subjects for my cards to give my friends and family a sense of the place where I live. After flipping through my various sketchbooks, I decided to adapt a sketch I'd made of some mesquite seed pods last summer. I drew them while hiking in Bottomless Lakes, and the shape vaguely reminded me of mistletoe, so I thought it'd be a subtle, Roswellian play on a cliche subject. 

                                                 2014-07-13+11.24.41.jpg (1061×1600)

Once I'd decided on the subject matter, it was time to figure out the technique. Whereas in the past I'd done block prints, this time I decided to try out an intaglio card. Knowing how lengthy the inking process can be on a larger plate, I decided to make a small Plexiglas drypoint that I would then glue onto larger cards. Recently I bought myself a Plexiglas cutter, so I took a sheet and cut it into smaller pieces, files down the edges afterwards to mimic the filed edges of metal etching plates.

Below is the actual plate; my thumb in the left corner should give you an idea of the print's actual scale.

Since I was working with a smaller image, I decided to use the small printing press at the Museum.

Working on a smaller scale certainly has its advantages; within two hours I created 40 prints. The plate held up surprisingly well, and can endure additional printings in the future if I ever feel inclined to use it again.

Here's a close-up of one of the prints.

I'd recently discovered the hand-colored prints of etcher Bertha E. Jacques (a Printmaker You Should Know, and will get to know in the coming year), and decided to emulate her delicate work by hand-coloring my own prints. Again, the small scale enabled me to complete these quickly; each piece took two or so minutes at most to color.

After leaving the prints under some books for a few days to flatten, I glued them onto the cards. 

So there are my holiday cards for 2014. Good tidings everyone!