After 9 months of planning, a 5am start, & Ernie scoffing my sandwiches before we'd even got ourselves out of the door, we hurtled Westwards on the A27, stopping only to replace said sarnies with sad service station ones. Not being the sort of person to turn down a golden opportunity at a checkout, I also bought a bag of custard filled doughnuts. It happens. We arrived at Amberley Working Museum to a cavalcade of hurrahs & cups of tea; something tells me the enthusiastic welcome was for the doughnuts rather than us. Anyway, the printing, the printing....
Lucy Jenner from Ditchling Museum planned the whole day to the last minute, she also wrote a script for the ArtFund video, & pitched to the camera... which meant it all went horribly right, despite sub zero temperatures.
The boiler was filled with water, the fire was stoked & in 2 hrs flat, the 12.5 ton steamroller was hot & hissy! Conversations around the cooking of baked potatoes, bananas stuffed with chocolate buttons & full roast dinners in the steamroller's oven ensued as we waited for THE moment when the old beast could chuff & parp it's way up the hill to the White Pit...
At the White Pit, the beast waited, poised for attack...
We warmed the lino in the Museum's hayloft first but it chilled down pretty sharpish when we put it on the frozen ground; it started to crack & the ink was the consistency of the dark matter you find in treacle mines in some of the grimmer parts of North East Lancashire....
Undeterred, the extreme steam dream team rolled up their sleeves & covered everything that wasn't hopping around trying to keep warm with a thin layer of the thick black stuff. I stopped to take photos when my roller gave up under the strain. Twenty minutes later, after much huffing & puffing, we were ready & slightly nervous.
We laid the paper down onto the lino, covered it with rubber sheets & said a short prayer to the Gods of rubber & custard confectionery. As I climbed aboard behind Chris, owner of the beast, I paused for a moment, it was finally happening!! Expectations were running rife through my 17 layers of clothing; I looked at the dream team in the White pit, the atmosphere was so thick you could've cut it with an ancient, Lancastrian treacle sword.
He released the brake & cranked the rollers into action. Whoooooooooo....
As we pealed the paper from the lino I felt like Liberace. On crystal meth. After a particularly good diamond encrusted gig in Las Vegas. Flippin'eck. It worked. Of course it did! It didn't print as well on the front roller as it did on the back & I said the immortal words, 'oh my god, it isn't heavy enough!" Cue hysterical laughter...
The Artfund film crew disappeared into the sunset & we cleared up.
But the fun wasn't over yet, I got to drive the steamroller & blow the whistle. Total joy. If you ever get a chance to drive a steamroller I urge you to do so, it's the closest you'll get to feeling like a dog that ate an obscene amount of sandwiches early one morning & got away with it, & looking like Eric Morecambe. Way-hey!
So, now we know it works... Let the #arthappens happenings begin! The big project launches on 22nd Jan on the ArtFund website. Get cutting lino people! Operation #bigsteamprint is GO!!!
I've teamed up with Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft to bring #bigsteamprint to life!
We want to take a vintage steamroller on tour! Here's how you can help us...
We need to raise £12500 to take a 12.5 ton vintage steamroller on a printing tour of 4 venues in the South East; the crowd funder launches on the ArtFund website on 22nd January 2016.
We plan to print giant linocuts & enormous movable type with some big name artists, university students & our most generous supporters in the crowdfunding process.
We can't wait!!! Please support our campaign, every donation counts, big or small... we'd love you to be involved when we go on tour. Dates & venues to be announced on the launch date (22nd Jan).
Here's the test linocut in progress; it's rather large...
The steamy beast is kept under lock & key at Amberley Museum!
Will the lino cut withstand 12.5 tons or will it be squished, smooshed & smashed to smithereens?
We will find out when the beast is unleashed in a few days time...
Keep everything crossed!!
More news soooooooooooon.....
Greetings grapple fans! We've calmed down a bit this month; raspberry jam & War of the Worlds has been cast aside for Leonard Cohen & a bamboo mat on Ernie's side of the studio. And.... breeeeeeathe...
We have two new prints available & the lino workshops are back in action...
The printing process is such a delightful & satisfying journey so we'd like to share a few pictures of the making process with you along with the finished posters....
Laser cut images, honeycomb text & wood type. A2 size.
NEW ONE DAY LINO CUTTING WORKSHOPS
DATES: 5th & 26th July.
This one day course will give you the chance to explore the wonderful world of lino cutting & print making. Bring your ideas for a lino cut, take proofs, mix colours & make a small edition on the mighty Vandercook press.
With plenty of tea and cake & lots of technical help you’ll go home with a set of unique letterpress prints and a strong sense of satisfaction.
This is the ideal gift for anyone with a love of old school technology, printmaking and cake.
£65. 10am-5pm, materials & refreshments included. Maximum of 4 people per workshop (over 18's only)
A few pictures from last week's lino cutting workshop at Ditching, printing in the sunshine with a garden roller...
I will be running a wood engraving & letterpress weekend with Jude Clynick on 18th & 19th July at Ditchling Museum. Book here.
WHAT NEWS FROM THE FASTEST MILKMAN IN THE WEST?
Whilst Ernie has been lounging on the sofa with his friend Finn, contemplating the idea that without impermanence, nothing is possible... I have been roughing it in the aisles of Ikea. It is indeed true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but I think it was Beyoncé's cleaning lady that added - of course, that first step is so much easier when there's meatballs & a small pot of lingonberry sauce waiting for you at the end of it.
A final word of advice... never tell a lurcher about vegan meatballs.
It can get ugly.
I'll be running a linocut workshop for adults at Ditchling museum on Sunday 7th June & we'll bemusing a garden roller to print them, weather permitting...
There will also be a wood engraving & letterpress combo weekend workshop with myself & the talented Jude Clynick.
You can book these events here.
New dates for June & July's letterpress workshops at my studio in Hastings are now up on the website...
Greetings grapple fans! I must start by saying it's a privilege to be able to make things every day. In the two weeks since the election result, printing has been the only thing that's helped me rise above the despair for what lies ahead... So, let's cut straight to the chase. Someone wiser, but less glamorous than Beyoncé once wrote... when we yield the rights of others we endanger our own.
WARNING: Look away now if you're allergic to raspberry jam.
It occurred to me whilst listening to *War Of The Worlds & eating a doughnut one night during the run up to the election that prog rock may hold the answers to some of life's great questions. Is there REALLY life on Mars? You better believe it! And what's more, they're coming for our wives, our money, our homes & our jammy fracking doughnuts!!! In space, they really can hear you licking that sugar off your lips...
*mixing prog rock & cheap jam can make you horribly paranoid, but that's still no excuse for voting UKIP
When he's not answering fan mail, little Ern has mostly been spending his time leaping up the stairs that love has built to look out of the window that hope has opened. Ever the optimist.
I'm not ready for that yet. I don't mind admitting it was hard to get out of bed for two days after the election, but on the third day I rose like the proverbial phoenix in search of a bacon butty... & Ernie badly needed a wee.
Denial came long before the election, then hoping against hope on polling day... anger at Billy Bragg swiftly followed & despair kicked in as the new cabinet was announced.
As the left heads right, acceptance eludes me. The politics of fear have won out; throwing vulnerable people under the bus will not keep us safe when it's our turn to cross the road. As Beyoncé (feat. Green Cross man) once sang: look right, look left... you got me looking crazy right now.
Greetings grapple fans! This month's offerings have been thoroughly desaturated for your viewing pleasure.....
Insert Fifty Shades of Grey joke here... blehh! In the winter months we prefer our gratuitous sexuality strictly in black & white, thank you. We've recently spent rather a lot of our sofa minutes viewing the 1965 exploitation cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! We were so taken by the trailer that we ran to the studio one morning last week & this happened: a whopping 33 inches of printed Pussycat... ok, close your mouths size queens.
If you like it big, this belongs in your house! More Pussycat related items will follow as the mood takes us later in the year.
Ernie has been promoted to head technician on the laser cutter & is launching a new range of engraved artist sketchbooks; here's his first self portrait...
A5 hardback concertina sketchbook with laser engraved hard case.
Calling all deviants.... Next up we have travel journal style sketchbooks with laser engraved text; choose from our words or, for a little extra, you can pimp your own... various sizes available.
Ernie was particularly pleased with himself when he thought of art bandit one night in the bath.
It really is a dog's life.
ONE DAY LETTERPRESS WORKSHOPS
Do you wake up on Saturday mornings suffering from a severe case of not being Beyoncé? Fear not, lovely people, we have the perfect antidote...
Come to sunny Hastings; set type, take proofs, mix colours, print a limited edition on the mighty vandercook press & go home with ink on your face, laughing at yourself... Beyoncé Who???
Dates for March & April are up on the website.
Until next time :)
I recently had the lovely people from Brighton Doctoral College come to the Lucky Budgie studio for a team building day, all 12 of them! It was a bit of a squeeze but it turned out really well. We had three teams of four people collaborating, one poster per team... writing words, choosing type, setting chases, proofing designs, choosing colours & printing the final poster designs on the mighty Vandercook, with a slap up lunch at the Jerwood Gallery in between. We also made some rather random postcards on the hand proof press. I had such a good time I forgot to take photos, doh!
The studio can accommodate a maximum of 12 people plus myself & Ernie. The day runs from 10am-4pm with an hour for lunch. All materials & refreshments are included.
If you'd like more information & prices please email me here: email@example.com or ring 07786 071703.
Greetings grapple fans!
Last week we fired up the Landrover & went to print with the 'crown jewels' of wood type in the infamous press room at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. We set a poster that you can print on the proof press on Saturday 20th Sept, the first anniversary since their refurbishment. Entry to the museum is free & there will be a host of pop-up shops too, so please come along & join in the #artcraftparty. We're looking forward to printing posters, eating cake & drinking beer with you.
We can't reveal what the poster looks like, it's a closely guarded secret, so... you'll just have to come & crank the handle for yourself & see what comes out!
Here's the wood type we used to get the press running sweetly. Gill sans! Gill sans!! As BIG as yer 'aaaands...
I'll have a P please, Eric.
Dogs aren't allowed in the museum so Ernie will stay home & be drip fed a calming cocktail of valium & Birds custard. Ernie's stunt double for the day will be the very able Mr Thomas Appleton, stone carver & tip top type-picker. The poster would never have been set in one afternoon without his valuable input.
SEE YOU ON THE 20TH SEPT 11am-10pm
Photograph of Thomas © Nathaniel Hepburn
Photographs of Pea © djbrass
Photgraphs of Ernie & the press room © Pea