Christmas is coming

In an effort to avoid thinking or talking about EU-know-what, this afternoon I retired to my workshop to start working on some Christmas cards. I’d had a lucky find on EBay – a box of 100 Fabriano Medioevalis blank cards – and so I brought out my two vinyl cuts from 2014 to revive. There’s a third one, but I didn’t find it until everything was over! Still I knew it was around somewhere, so I decided to do 30 each of the two designs that I had to hand.

For this small size job I don’t use the common press – I use my “abig” hand press that I bought from Great Art a couple of years ago. Very basic, it works, and very cheap for a press at £225.00.


The Wenceslas design in the press with masks before printing

The first design is a picture of King Wenceslas making his way through the forest, with his page who I think was more like a manservant having to carry a load of logs through the snow.
This one took a bit of make ready. The expressions on the faces were a little faded unless I built up some paper strips underneath. I also had to make sure everything stayed clean – not easy for me, I’m one of those people who is covered in ink after 30 seconds. So I constructed a little mask out of a left over piece of paper. It was hard to get these ones lined up properly. But the right pressure is easy to achieve with the help of my trusty copy of “Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550-1640”. By the time I’d done 30 I was ready for a cup of tea.

card design

“Genepy at Christmastime” cut on Japanese vinyl


The second one is a seventeenth century scene of a man and woman exchanging a Christmas toast. The girl has become kind of like my theme – I think of her as Genepy personified. A tippling, pipe-smoking, jolly roaring girl of old England. Or old anywhere, since Genepy is an alpine drink…

A card comes off the handpress

A card comes off the handpress

This one was suprisingly easy to position right – the dots I’d left for the first one matched the card size. This was probably because there was no border and it was much smaller in consequence. The downside – harder to handle and keep clean. I picked up the clean blank cards between a piece of paper and again, picked up the printed piece between the paper ‘grip’.


Holding the card with a piece of paper to keep it clean

Unwilling to peg them on a line and pinch the paper, I set them to dry overnight in the workshop, in any space they can be squeezed into. Spiders, please stay away! Next stages, once the prints are thoroughly dry, is hand-colouring and putting into cello bags with matching size envelopes.

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