While I understand the conventional wisdom that Christmas cards are a postal-service-propping hassle, my good lady Lilly and I do like the annual excuse to put our tiny letterpress through it’s paces.
Like every year, we try and make the card vaguely thematic to an event from our own past-twelve-months, and this year’s standout event was Lilly showing how excellently she does something when she turns her hand to it – she won the World Bread Award for her home-baked wild-yeast bread this autumn!
Alas, we don’t even have a garden for a wood-fired stove, but Santa’s affinity for chimneys made it a good way to link the season with the achievement. Like one of Lilly’s loaves, the card came out great!
Lilly and I were busy travelling a bit this autumn, so Christmas cards became a bit more of a clandestine operation than in past years. As usual, we struggled to come up with a design. When I sent Lilly a sketch of this it made her laugh, so in absence of a better idea I took a punt on it.
When the plates arrived, Lilly was worried that it wouldn’t be understood by most of our recipients, but sometimes you’ve just gotta be weird. Our rotund Santa has stolen the stollen (which wasn’t the only thing we believe to have been stolen in 2016… Ahem).
I went for slightly smaller cards this year thinking I would do a design that didn’t max out our tiny press so much, but I still ended up pushing the tiny Adana’s limits. We got surprisingly good results out of it though, and the silver ink highlighted the reasonable impression it made too!
Last year was my first year selling my letterpressed christmas cards, and in hindsight, it was a bit ambitious to try and sell every single design I’ve done all at once when I was printing them on demand. To keep things simpler, particularly under the time constraints, I’m just going to be printing and selling the one design this year, which you should be seeing a mockup of above.
This year was the year of the bicycle for me – Lilly and I got bicycles for the first time since we were teenagers, and spent the summer cycling around Hertfordshire, so we decided to reflect that in this year’s design. In developing the illustration, I tried to put Santa on a variety of bicycles (he looked particularly ridiculous on a racer bike!) and found he fit best on a slightly beach-ish cruiser.
As ever, these cards are being hand-letterpressed onto high-quality 300gsm Somerset card stock, and they will come with appropriately-sized envelopes. This year the envelopes are made of recycled paper, which is a big look!
Cards will be pressed and sent out to you during the first week of December, so they arrive with you in good time to send out to your people. It’s a small selling window, so get yours now!
Would you like some to send to your nearest and dearest? Go and get some here!
Ah, November. It’s that time of year when the days get so short you’ll miss the sunlight if you blink, and time to get the old Adana back in motion – it’s Christmas card time!
Lilly and I have been making hand-letterpressed Christmas cards for a while now. We come up with a new design each year, so now we have a little range of designs and feel a bit more organised than past years, I think it’s about damn time I put some up for sale!
As you should see in the lead photo, I have four designs up for sale:
Sleighbell Safari – I haven’t printed this one yet, but it will be a nice black and silver print. Buy Here
…or if you can’t decide which ones you like the best, you can also buy a multipack of all four designs here!
The cards are all printed on a very nice 300gsm Somerset paper stock, so they’re nice and heavy and when combined with the letterpressed artwork, there’s a wonderful tactility to them – something you could never dream of getting from an e-card! All cards will also come with an appropriately sized and coloured envelope – either red or silver.
I’m calling this a speed sale because by the nature of Christmas coming on a fixed date, they’re only going to be up for sale for a couple of weeks. All orders will be printed up and posted out to you by 1st December, which should give you plenty of time to fill out the cards and get them into the mail to your friends and enemies before Royal Mail’s own deadline.
Head over to my tiny webshop now to get your orders in, and send your friends some hand-printed and totally unique christmas cards – receiving mail is awesome!
We got some nice heavy-guage magnesium plates made up of a robin design I came up with under Lilly’s direction. They plates are really good – so much easier than my previous linocut efforts, and capable of a really nice deep impression in the card too.
Unfortunately I was a bit hasty when I started to print up these cards and by rushing I messed up the text on the front a little bit, ending up with a bit of ghosting from improper inking. Oh well.
Other than that we’re pleased with the cards! We’re reclaiming ‘tweeting’ from its modern social-network-meaning! If you’re not British, you might be wondering what robins have to do with Christmas. Wikipedia has an, er, nice section suggesting some reasons robins are associated with Christmas in Britain. I don’t know if it’s common, but when I was small, my Mum used to tell me that robins are Santa’s little watchmen – they had red chests to match Santa’s outfit and they reported back to him on whether you had been good or bad throughout the year so he knew what to give you for Christmas. Haha 🙂
Well this operation has proven to be a success – all the inks are sold after not even a month! Hooray and thanks!
As a [very] amateur letterpresser, I’ve been through a few struggles when it comes to finding ink. I managed to learn when we first got our press that litho inks (that is, the inks used in big offset printers) are good to use, and found forums of discussions where people have said they get friendly with their local print shops and scrounge odds and ends of ink from them. I managed the same trick only once, but now I’m trying to actually make some things on the press, I’ve needed to expand further than the dregs my local print shop very kindly gave me a couple of years ago. Continue reading “Ink Baronry”→
Happy December, internet folk! After a few weeks of tinkering, begging for supplies, doing test prints, whittling and re-engineering, Lilly and I have finally made our first useable letterpressed product- some christmas cards to send to friends and family!
Me being me, someone who likes to make stopmotion things and having an occasional fancy to make random flash-based toys, I decided to make this this afternoon- a virtual version of Lilly’s letterpress!
It will run by itself, but you can mouse over it to make it work yourself too! just move your mouse up and down over it!
If you know your letterpresses, you might be a little confused by the ink disc ratchet. Yes- it’s something I made myself, out of an old scrap of metal, and a cent I have had knocking around on my desk for ages (it wasn’t heavy enough on its own and Abraham Lincoln was happy to help!). The original one was very broken, too short, and not well attached, so I made this replacement on the weekend. I didn’t have a bolt of the right size though, so it is currently being held on with a small screw and chunk of wood. I’m not really sure if it looks or works anything like it is meant to, but it seems to work!
If you are curious to what we’ve been printing so far, you’ll probably find it on my Flickr. This weekend, we made our first prints with the litho ink I scored last week. Cool!
The Letterpress I got Lilly for her Birthday saw a little bit of action this weekend, in the form of this bumble bee, named princess wings.
Princess wings was a picture I drew Lilly a few years back of a bumble bee with fake wings tied onto it. I spent the weekend carving it out of a random chunk of MDF that happened to be hanging out here, and ran it through the press today. Unfortunately, when I was carving, I didn’t do too well at carving out her eyes (I managed to carve them right off), so considering the abundance of googley eyes I find in my posession, I thought I’d add a couple of those instead!
To my surprise, it worked! I think we might need some better ink though- we’ve been using block printing inks as we couldn’t find anywhere in London that sold proper letterpressing ink- I think eBay is going to be the answer for that.
Be sure to see more adventures from the letterpress in the future though!