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....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adventures in papermaking

Last weekend, I spent a few hours in a papermaking class at a local art store.  That got my mind spinning, as it often does, with new ideas for cards and paper art.  I spent much of sunday annoying my husband with the sound of tearing paper.  But I've got a lot of raw material to work with now!

One of the problems with paper-based art is that you sometimes screw things up, and that creates waste.  Waste drives me crazy.  In my other life, I'm an architect specializing in green buildings and sustainable design.  So I have a really hard time being a waste generator.  Taking that class was part of the greater plan to develop a line of eco-friendly cards using my own paper.  I've been wanting to do it for ages, finally got a chance to get into a class last weekend.

In printmaking, there are sometimes misprints:  a plate or a sheet may slip when going through the press, or you get ink on your fingers and unknowingly transfer it to good paper.  Usually, my mess-ups involve not paying attention to what I'm doing or trying to rush through a step.  Haste makes waste, quite literally.

I'm a big believer in what green architect William McDonough says about garbage:  waste = food.  What he means, in the context of manufacturing, is that the discards of one process should feed other processes.  

I have so much wasted art paper that can be made into new paper.  I also have a ton of newspapers, magazines, utility bills, etc. - we generate a surprising amount of paper in our lives.  And in my day job, there is way too much paper that gets wasted when we print drawings for reviews, then print them again for more reviews. 

I've already started collecting paper into boxes in my studio, some of it torn into bite-size pieces and ready to go into the blender. 

One of the ladies in my class last weekend brought lavender and I put some in a couple of sheets - heavenly!  It is the best smelling paper!  That got me thinking about other natural additives - I have a bumper crop of Boxwood Basil this year which is just crying out to be picked.  There's only so much pesto a girl can make!  Might be interesting to drop some of it into a paper mixture.

I've also been saving flowers from my garden that I can add to the pulp mixture.   Sheets of paper aren't the only things you can make - I've been thinking about designing paper sculptures,  using recycled paper pulp, like a paper casting. 

Our instructor had some really neat ideas, and I jotted down a few of my own in my sketchbook.  I'm really psyched to get started on some new work.  Let's just say that this year's collection of Christmas gift tags are going to smell yummy....

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