Since I made these butterfly thingies a while ago, I have become interested in the whole process of printing, and creating block designs for printing. I treated myself to a couple of nice practical books on the subject: Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand and Lotta Jandsotter’s Lotta Prints. I really enjoyed both: Corwin and Jandsotter have quite different design aesthetics, but both these books are real treats for the eyes. I would say, though, that Corwin’s book probably had the edge for me, in terms of straightforward, in-depth instructions; a super range of projects; and the real care that has clearly gone into putting her book together. Whereas Lotta Prints tends, at some points, to edge toward being just a visual celebration of the author’s style, theres much more substance to Corwin’s writing — and a real generosity of approach as well. It is very clear, very practical, and veryuseable book: ideal for a beginner like me. Produced under Melanie Falick’s imprint, it of course looks very nice too. I found myself foolishly drawn to this jolly chest of drawers.

Lena Corwin, “Dressed up Dresser,” Printing by Hand (2008).

I’ve since had a bit of a go at designing and cutting a lino block, and I don’t mind admitting that my first attempts have been bloody awful. I definitely need practice. But in the meantime, I’ve really been enjoying printing with blocks that other people have designed. . .


. . . these being my current favourites. Everything about these stamps is satisfying: I love the shapes of the blocks in their hand-finished box; I love the pared-down feel of the designs. I find there is a very evocative pleasure in just getting the blocks out of the box, looking at them, rearranging them, and closing the lid again. It is a childlike pleasure, and one can feel the same sort of thing messing around in one’s button box, but here you get to make marks with these things too! Fun! Anyway, I’ve recently been using the Yellow Owl blocks, together with a block of some cranes I got here to stamp up some seasonal cards.


Yes, I know the shot is a bit blurry, and the festive lights in the background are cheesy, but I care not — I rather enjoy getting in a seasonal sort of mood. I’ve been sitting by the newly-decorated tree and stamping away at my cards, in between shovelling in several mince pies and some festive booze. Fill up that glass, Tom! Keep that stamping hand steady! Ho ho ho!