Journey of a woodblock – Epilogue…Arrival of a woodblock!

I’ve been running behind real time with these posts, as I wanted to wait for the final act before sharing the process.

On 12th September I packed up my block and posted it from London. Destination:California. I felt a little tug of sadness…this is the first block that I’ve parted with and I was sending it on a long journey.

I had taken four proofs, and kept one for myself.


First proofs of the tavern block.

Differing from my usual practice, I proofed with water-based ink, as  I wanted to clean down carefully and preserve a little bit of that pear wood colour for the people at EBBA to see. Luckily I found a box of just the right size to roll the prints up alongside the block. The parcel wrapping was a former print that had gone a little bit wrong. In the 17th century, old prints and paper were used for all sorts of things once their perceived usefulness was gone. Box linings…pie dish linings…sweet and cake wrappers…gun cartridges…fire kindling….toilet paper. So my old print was just right for this job.

Then came an anxious wait of about 10 days, where I feared the worst as I couldn’t seem to use the tracking number I’d been given at the Post Office. Could my humble package have been identified as suspect? Had it fallen foul of US Customs and been sent back as having failed some obscure test? Or fallen down the back of a machine somewhere between here and there?….Finally I went back to the office and asked for help, and they were able to tell me it had arrived in California. Phe-ew!

Sadly it arrived too late to be included in the inaugural pull of the Albion Press acquired by EBBA from Harry Rochat’s workshop. But there are plenty of talented students at Santa Barbara and one of them produced a great, witty little image to go on the sheet – a skeleton reading a book.

Here’s a link to the article about the new Albion. My first version of “Lover’s Farewell” that I produced this year, makes a fleeting appearance as well which is rather pleasing.

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