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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....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Balsam fir...paper?

So it took about a month to get all the bits and pieces together, but I finally made paper last weekend and the weekend before.

Getting from the ripped-up bits of paper that I wrote about a month ago to this point was a bit messy, but it was fun.  I started with shredded brown paper bags and dried flowers from my garden, and made about 10 sheets of off-brown, floral-ish paper that I intend to print on with dark ink this weekend.  Then I tried some blue pulp with pink flowers, and red scrap wrapping paper with dried Rose of Sharon from the garden.

The other part of the great paper experiment was figuring out how to use the 2 pounds of ground balsam fir that I ordered from Wesley Moody Farm in Saranac Lake, NY.  I was inspired by finding similar bags of balsam at LL Bean last month when we drive through Maine. 

But since we were on our way to Canada and I didn't want to get into trouble carrying plant material across the border, I didn't buy it then.  Instead, I did a Google search and found two farms that sold it, one in Maine and the other in the Adirondacks.  It arrived a week ago and it smells heavenly. 

My idea was to embed the balsam fir into paper so that you would have that wonderful woodsy scent everytime you used it.  Experimentation will determine just how much (or little) I need to be effective.

The next question, now that I have about 30 sheets of handmade paper, is:  what am I going to do with it?!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Upcoming fall shows

I've decided to do two shows this fall in the Buffalo area. 

On October 28th, I will be at Girls Night Out, a dinner and fundraising event in support of Crisis Services.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this event will feature local artisans selling their wares in a boutique, followed by a dinner and fashion show. The start time of the event is at 6pm and it will be held at Transit Valley Country Club on Transit Road in East Amherst.  This is a great event, celebtrating its 4th year and supporting a very worthwhile cause.  For more information on tickets, please contact Rebecca Stevens, Advocate Program Supervising Counselor for Crisis Services at rstevens@crisisservices.org .

November 13th is the 14th annual Women's Gifts show at "Babeville" - Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.  This event is free and open to the public.  It starts at 10:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm.  Great opportunity to do some holiday shopping and check out wonderful handcrafted works by talented local artisans.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fresh from vacation and ready to print!

After a 10 day visit to Nova Scotia, I'm back home and itching to get back into my studio.  It's been so darn hot this week that I haven't been able to spend much time in there (it's a tiny west-facing, all glass room).  I've got two shows coming up, one in October and one in November (the Women's Gifts Show in Buffalo). So I have a lot of work to do, and I also have a lot of marketing to do if I want to get into more stores in time for the holidays.  Plus there's the day job....  Good thing this is a long weekend - gives me an extra free day to get stuff done.

We had a fantastic trip, visiting old friends and eating plenty of fresh seafood!  Great local beer, too!  Nova Scotia is such an amazing place, full of great artists and craftspeople.  I lived in Halifax for about eight years and went to architecture school there, so I still have some good friends there.

There is a rich tradition of art and craft there that is enhanced by the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax.  I took some printmaking classes there years ago - great faculty and cool facilities in a series of old buildings downtown.  At the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax, part of the Nova Scotia Center for Craft & Design, there is a display of quilt art that is just stunning. 

Along the drive, we stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick.  Years ago, I used to sell my work at Serendipin' Art in St. Andrews and they still carry a wonderful collection of Atlantic Canadian works.

Portsmouth is a delightful place to visit, and this was our fifth stop there, I think.  My favourite shop was Worldly Goods, which I think would be a great place for my work.  I will have to forward one of my new postcards to the owner and see if she's interested.

I also loved FaLaLo, a tiny shop down near the water which you'd miss if you were just looking at the ice cream shop or the fabulous restaurants.  FaLaLo stands for Fair Trade and/or Local, and the owners have assembled a great collection of recycled items like rolled-paper bowls, juice box bags, and clutch purses made from pop can tops.  Loved those purses!  Also had my eye on the door mats made from salvaged fishing ropes.  Creative reuse is a wonderful art form.

So, with all of this inspiration from the waterfront of Portsmouth, the sunsets over St. Andrews, and the beaches of Nova Scotia, I'm thinking of all kinds of new cards and prints that I can do.  And I ordered some ground balsam fir from a farm in the Adirondacks, after seeing it at the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine - perfect for making some christmasy handmade paper and cards!  The house is going to smell great!