Thursday, 22 November 2012

Woodhurst advent fayre

This weekend we have the annual advent fayre in the village. This year I have a stand and will be exhibiting artwork.

I will be showing a range of work including the pen and ink work I showed in a previous post, Woodcuts, greeting cards and the framed watercolours shown here.
Cromer (£35 Framed size 40cm x50cm)

Autumn (£35 Framed size 40cm x50cm)  

Monday, 12 November 2012

Pen and Watercolour

I have been spending some time over the last couple of weeks producing some artwork to sell at the village Christmas fayre.

I thought I would share some examples here.

Paul's Field

Maple Leaf Greeting Card

Sparrowhawk feather Greeting Card

Tawny Owl feather Greeting Card  

Monday, 22 October 2012

Pen and Ink

Ouse nr Ely


View to Wyton


View to St Ives

Field margin
Over the last couple of weeks when I have found myself going stir crazy in the office I have produced a Pen and Ink postcard of the landscape around here. I use some rough texture watercolour  paper that is printed on the reverse so they can be used as postcards. Once I finish drawing on them I spray them with a fixative to protect the ink. I am yet to post one but someone will get one oneday.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


 The creation of my latest woodcut 'Avocet'

One of my the most beautiful British birds is the Avocet. It was also an ideal subject for a woodcut due to it's black and white plumage
 I have spent the last week making this work and took the first test print yesterday.
The first step was to sketch out an idea for the composition

Once I was happy I transferred the drawing to tracing paper

I then transferred the outline to the wood block. The wood is a block of lime cut from some 200yr old trees felled on the Burghley estate. Lime is a traditional wood used in craving and woodcuts due to it's straight close grain.
Once the outline was on the block I drew in the rest of the image.
I could then start carving the details. You will notice that there is a lot more detail than in the outline sketch. I find that as I start cutting into the wood I get a feel for how the work should develop, you also have to visualise the final piece remembering that the areas in relief will pick up the ink.

Once the carving is finished it is time to ink up the block. At this point you can spot any errors
The first proof print hanging up to dry, drying takes 2-3 days.

If you would like to own a copy of this or any other of my works please visit the work for sale section of this blog.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Table Lamp

A few weeks ago we went for a meal in London and were rather taken not only with the food which was excellent but also with the decor, especially the lights. These were small pendant lights hanging on old style twisted braid flex. I decided to have a go at making something similar, but as we didn't need any new ceiling lights I thought a reading light for the living room would be nice.

I first had to make a suitable lamp shade

I took a large thick walled wine glass which I had painted with whit paint. to allow me to draw a cutting line on the surface.

Using a diamond saw I then cut the base off the glass. The saw I used was one I had for cutting floor tiles.  Diamond saws are very safe to use but as I was cutting glass i wore gloved and wore a safety visor in case of shattering.

I smoothed the rough edges with some wet and dry paper. It was important to make the hole the right size for the fitting in this case 2 inches.
I then attached the antique fitting. The fitting and the braided flex are both new not recycled for safety reasons.
The final stage was to attach the lamp to the stand using a piece of chain. The base was made from an oak base with spruce uprights. I made all the fittings from brass sheet
I made the uprights adjustable, there is a spring attached between the arm and the uprights to counter the weight of the lamp

It works !!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Wind Chimes

I was asked by friend if I Could make her some windchimes For the balcony in Trinidad. I had never made windchimes before so I thought it would be a challenge. When I researched how to make them I found it was actually far more complicated than I thought, the tubes must be cut to precise length to obtain a true note. Luckily I found a very good website they gave me the lengths that I needed and also the distance from the end of the tube to drill the 'hanging point' as this also affects the sound.

I decided to make the chimes from stainless steel this gives a very nice resonance when struck. The supporting structure is made from Perspex and the striker is made from a combination of Perspex and brass. To make the sail that catches the wind driving the striker I used Perspex surrounded by copper wire. The whole thing was hung on braided nylon fishing line. I made a hook from a piece of brass wire to hang the whole thing from.

The whole project took me about a week to complete however part of that time was waiting for materials to arrive. It would be great fun to make a larger one as the longer the tubing the nicer the note as you get better harmonics. I had to make this one reasonable small as it has to be transported home to the West Indies.

Drill holes in the support after cutting out centre hole.

Main components, Support, striker, and sail.

Chimes with hanging bars in place. Hanging in studio while glue sets

Finished chimes
Close up of sail, made from Perspex and copper wire

Finished chimes

Monday, 30 July 2012

Making my own ink

I decided it would be fun to make my own inks for block printing. This was for 2 reasons, firstly I enjoy a challenge and second it is much cheaper than buying premixed inks, all you need is the pigments and extender ink which is a translucent medium. The fun bit is you can blend pigments to make up your own colours.

Step 1
Powdered Pigment in this case Venetian red
Step 2
Using a Glass Muller to fine grind the pigment and remove any lumps
Step 3
Adding extender, a neutral base used to carry the pigment
Step 4
Finished ink rolled on a plate ready for use

The ink works really well so I am now planning to expand the selection of pigments that I have to play with.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Diversion in to Jewellery

It was a quiet weekend in the studio as there was a lot going on in the village with the start of feast week so I thought I would share something I made recently. I was inspired to make this brooch after a visit to the V&A in London. In the jewellery collection in amongst the the fabulous Gold, Diamonds etc there is a collection of jewellery made from less exotic materials such as Iron, Aluminium and Brass.  One of the pieces that caught my eye was by Alexander Calder the American artist who invented Dynamic art by creating the first mobiles, and whose work I love.  When I got home I just had to make something. This brooch is made from paper thin brass to which I have given a hammered finish to catch the light the pin is attached to the center which allows the whole thing to vibrate when worn. As a first attempt I am really pleased with it I am planning to make some more designs experimenting with other metals.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


I am always excited when I go and pick up one of my pictures from the framers. Linzi at L'bidi always does a wonderful job for me I just need to find somewhere to hang it.

The other good news is that Linzi has offered to put some of my work in the gallery at L'bidi so hopefully I might start selling some work.

Monday, 11 June 2012

How to create a Woodcut

The first step is to prepare a design. I like to draw a sketch to start with, which I then copy onto a fine Japanese tissue paper using ink.
I then stick the tissue face down onto the block using wheat glue. I find that as the ink is soluble I can peel the tissue off the block having transferred the image, you can also leave the tissue stuck to the block and carve through it.

You can then begin carving out the image, I use a selection of Chisels and gouges. The areas that you remove will be white on the final print so it is like creating a photographic negative.

Once you have finished carving you can make a test print, I love this bit it takes me back to my days in my darkroom.

I prepare the ink on an old tile and roll it onto the block.
The paper is then placed on the inked block and the imaged is transferred by carefully rubbing the back of the paper using a Barren.
The paper is then peeled off to reveal the final image.
The printed images are then hung up to dry, this can take a few days