Spring has arrived, on the calendar, anyway.  In the city, we are still experiencing the frothy flurries from Old Man Winter.  Mistress Spring has not made her big entrance, although she has seeped into the edges of some days with her warmth and beautiful sunshine.  I have taken up the call of the printing press and entered a class to learn printmaking.  These techniques will be a beautiful addition to my bookmaking.  


This book has been influenced by the milkweed plant and the importance of its relationship to the monarch butterfly.  

There is a symbiotic relationship between the Monarch butterfly and milkweed plant.   They share similar biological elements. In their life cycle, each has a pod which nurtures and transforms egg and seed to full maturation. Silken threads securely wrap the caterpillar in the Chrysalis allowing transformation to butterfly. The seeds of the milkweed are attached to silky threads that assist in their flight to fertile grounds. There is a natural rhythm connecting these two members of nature in their journey of sustenance and survival. 

I used a piece of stained glass for the cover of this book.  During another project, while under heat, the glass split in a very precise way, like the splitting open of a pod.  The edges were smooth and had beautiful curves. 

I had the seeds from the milkweed laminated and then using embroidery cotton, I stitched into the laminated surface, small images of milkweed seeds in flight. 

Different embroidery thread colours were used for each page.  On some pages I used one colour and on other pages I used a combination of colours.  

The covers of the book are acrylic. I carved them using the milkweed seed image with attached hairs onto the covers.  


I found some little music components that are used in music boxes and decided to create my own.  I chose the tune, 'Spring' by Vivaldi, to go with the current season.  The paper is a Japanese paper and the heart adornment on the lid is coral and sterling silver. 


I have been wanting to take a print making class, from a particular instructor, for a long time.  When his night class was advertised, I signed up.  I have enjoyed the class a great deal and will continue learning about printmaking.  It is a fabulous complement to the artists books that I make. 

We started out by making mono prints.  It was a great way to explore the ink, the plate and creating patterns or designs.  The first couple are very abstract.  This was right down my alley and I had fun with it. 

I then made a couple of trees.  Always favourite subjects for me.  

We then moved to drypoint.  This was interesting and I found I had an understanding of the technique with the material since  I had been carving book covers in the acrylic and aluminum.  This first drypoint is of a glass.  I printed it on a piece of marbled paper and the effect was interesting.  

The second drypoint I did was ginkgo leaves.  I used this theme through to my first printed book: Wind.  

I covered the book with paste paper.  I cut out the ginkgo leaves from my print proofs and added them to the front and inside covers.  

I added more to the printed pages of the book as well.  When printing the book, I used four drypoint plates and printed on Arches paper.  I did Chine Collé with a Japanese lace paper and printed words.  The letters spelling Wind were painted with watercolour paints.  


Warmly wild 
Insistently intense 
Nicely naughty 
Decidedly delightful 

These are the things I think about when I feel the wind caressing my skin on a warm summer day. 

This was my first Chine Collé using the ginkgo theme.  I did this one in green ink and used the words and lace paper. This was the precursor to the book.  

From here we moved into etching.  This was my main interest in print making.  After the initial print we then added aquatint to the prints.  Both techniques I very much enjoy. This first piece was inspired by Georges Braque's work.  

Prior to adding aquatint, I used some watercolour paint to one of the prints.  I liked the effect on the print. 

The next etching was again abstract in nature.  I followed the lines of the ground that was on the plate and then filled in the spaces.  I call this one Greenhouse.  

first etching of this plate 

second etching of the plate with watercolour paint added 

final printing of the plate with aquatint.  

The next technique we learned was adding texture to the plate.  I found this process fascinating and enjoyed playing with it.  

The most recent technique was adding transparency to the plate.  In the first plate, I used ball ground to wax the plate and I printed it in sepia.  The print was inspired by photos I took while riding the O-train one day.  

The second print was inked with sepia and then a yellow transparent layer was added to the plate before printing. This seemed to add more depth to the print.  


I was speaking with a Toronto artist who had purchased one of my sketch books.  She told me about her cold wax painting  technique and suggested I try if for book covers.  I read up on the technique, bought some supplies and tried my hand at it.  I used the palette knife to create the abstract paintings. Here are the results: 

I quite like the finished results.  Once they are dry, I'll decide how to bind them into books.     

Cooking Classes 

I have been taking cooking classes, once a month.  A group of six to eight people gather at the instructor's home and we cook a menu she has planned.  We work in teams and then get to sit a a long table and share the meal we have cooked. It has been great fun and I have cooked some of the dishes at home.  Maybe I'll take some pictures of the dishes in the next class.  


If you are in Ottawa or the surrounding areas, you can find my work at the Ottawa School of Art Boutique on George Street and at the Ottawa Art Gallery on Daly Avenue.  If you see something in my blog that you are interested in or would like more information about, you can contact me at: bbinder999@gmail.com

That's all for now.  Wishing you a warm and sun filled spring.  



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