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Tuckamore Design is a very small handcrafted card and print company based in Buffalo, New York. I'm a Canadian transplant, originally from Newfoundland. I've been a printmaker for 15 years, almost as long as I've been an architect. I never formally studied art, but I've taken classes from a handful of amazing artists at Dundarave Print Workshop in Vancouver, BC, and NSCAD in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I love paper, especially since I spend a lot of hours every day working on a computer for my other business, Design Synergies Architecture.

I also love to create handcrafted greeting cards for everyday and seasonal occasions. When the inspiration hits (and I have time), I make the occasional original print. Every piece is printed by hand or on an etching press.

In the early days, my prints and cards were featured at the Canadian Craft Museum, the Craft Association of British Columbia shop, and various exhibits in Vancouver and Halifax. My cards have been sold in shops in the Maritime Provinces, Buffalo, NY, and most recently in Martinsburg, West Virginia! Through my Etsy site, my cards have been sent all over the world.

My work is influenced by Celtic and Art Nouveau design, by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and by the Arts & Crafts movement. I found inspiration for several years in my front porch container garden in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo, and now I'm daydreaming of spring in my new backyard garden.

My favourite medium is linoleum block printing, especially blind embossed prints (deeply impressed and printed without ink). I'm about to embark on a watercolour adventure, and I'm wondering how that will find its way into my printmaking....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rediscovering monotypes

Watercolour for printmakers:  that's what I've always thought of monotypes.  At least, that's the way that I learned how to do it from Lone Tratt, my instructor when I took classes at Dundarave Print Workshop in Vancouver back in the mid-90's .  Monoptypes and monoprints have a painterly quality about them, more so than most other techniques that I've tried. 

A monotype is a one-of-a-kind print made by coating a sanded piece of plexiglass with gum arabic and then painting the dried surface with watercolours (or oil pastels).  It's an edition of 1.  You can also print ghost images from the plate afterwards and experiment with combining printmaking techniques.

 I've been reminded lately of my one and only attempt at watercolours.  It was a one-week course taught by Newfoundland artists Julia Pickard and Ilse Hughes that I took in 1998.  I loved it, even though I struggled more than most students because I'd never painted before.

Last friday, my husband and I had dinner with a dear friend whom I met in that class.  We hadn't seen each since then, but we've corresponded via christmas cards, email, and Facebook.  It was a lovely evening, and it reminded me of three things:  one, how much I love watercolours; two, how I wish I had the talent for it; and three, how much I've missed doing monotypes.

This longing to be a watercolourist coincides with peak gardening season in Buffalo which is leading up to the annual Garden Walk.  It's a fabulous weekend, July 24-25, of self-guided tours and salivating over incredible gardens.  You can't help but be inspired when you live on a street of gardeners in a neighbourhood of wonderful gardens.

All summer, I've been watching the gardens evolve as everyone gets ready for Garden Walk.  I love flowers and I've been taking photos of some really lovely gardens so I can develop new prints.  Thing is, I can't do them justice with blind embossing or linocuts.

But monotypes - now that's an option.  I haven't done one since Lone's class in 1996.  I have great notes but no record of what I printed and no copies of my work to compare with.  But I've got images in my head of what they might look like, if everything comes together and I've retained any semblance of skill with a paintbrush.

I found my old sketchbooks from Lone's class this morning and searched for the notes from the monotype class.  I still have all of my "stuff" from Vancouver, including 15-year-old bottles of acrylic medium and gum arabic.  I'm no expert, but I figure they probably aren't usable anymore. 

Off to the art supply store this afternoon for more supplies, and to the hardware store for sandpaper and plexiglass.

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