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, December 10, 2011

Less than one week to the last sale of the year

The countdown is on...less than a week before the Last Minute Panic Sale at Western New York Book Arts Center.   Hours are Friday, Dec. 16th from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday, Dec. 17th from noon to 6pm. 

Fortunately, the tables will be 3'-0" x 3'-0", half the size of the tables at most shows.  So that means a little less stock is needed to make the table look full.  Phew.  I delivered 185 cards to 464 Gallery a couple of weeks ago, so that really depleted my stock. 

And I have been really busy over the past 3 weeks with non-art stuff, so I haven't been able to get as much stuff done as I wanted to.  This weekend is the last big push.  Because it takes up to 3-4 days for my favourite Daniel Smith water-soluble inks to completely dry, I have only today and tomorrow to do prints and inked cards.  The embossed cards are a lot easier - no mess to clean up, no inky fingerprints ending up in the wrong places, and much faster drying time.  They can wait until mid-week.

Since I've been making my own cards - and cards for other people - for over 15 years, my friends and family look forward to getting a new Christmas card every year.  I have been so darn busy with other stuff that I don't have time to come up with a cleverer design than last year, make them, and get them out. 

So I've decided to support a very worthwhile cause:  I'm going to send out cards from the Paintbox Project in support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute instead. 

These cards are designed by young cancer patients and their siblings through a wonderful program at Roswell.  I've seen them in stores in years past and wanted to buy them, but then always ended up giving in to this weird self-imposed sense of guilt that I have to make my own. 

This year, I decided to finally do it - but you can't buy them in stores anymore!  They are only available online, which is a bummer for those of us in the Buffalo area who may leave things to the last minute (not pointing any fingers, oh no) and need to dash out to the store and grab a box or two.  The good thing about it is that now they are available to a much wider audience, which means potentially more sales and more donations to Roswell Park.

So, back to printing and packaging work for Last Minute Panic - see you there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's the holidays....and I need a week off to make art!

New Celtic Spiral card debuted@Women's Gifts.
Can you believe that it's Thanksgiving tomorrow?  Holy cow, where did the fall go?  Well, no time for messing around - I have a ton of work to do and no vacation time left for the year!

I just had a successful day at the Buffalo Women's Gifts show last weekend.  The organizers posted some photos on their Facebook page - great crowds, and wonderful locally-crafted work.  One of the best moments was a repeat customer who stopped by to tell me how much she loved my work.  Wow, that was just awesome.  I love when that happens.

Most popular item of the show:  packages of 3 and 6 mini-cards.  I almost sold out of them. 

Next up is the Last Minute Panic sale at the Western New York Book Arts Center in downtown Buffalo.  The dates/times are Friday, December 16th from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday, December 17th from noon to 6pm.   This one makes me a little more nervous than other shows I've done because it's a very print-knowledgeable crowd, and I want to show only my best stuff.  Also need more prints than cards, I think.  I really hope I have enough time to do all of the things that I have in my head!

I've also committed to having some work at 464 Gallery on Amherst Street in Buffalo.  The Gallery will also have a space at the Niagara Holiday Market, which I was invited to participate in but just can't commit the time.  It's a great idea, and I really hope this first Market will be successful.  Hopefully some of my work will show up there too if the Gallery folks need to fill some space!

Oh, and I think I may have tweeted this at some point over the weekend - I love my Square!  So convenient, and so easy to use at a show.  Beats the heck out of any other credit card system that I've used - highly recommend it to other artists and small business owners.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A little book of prints

Created by artist Jill Bergman,
I received a great little book in the mail yesterday from my friend Diane Podolsky of AnniePod Pressworks.  It's a print exchange of sorts, a tiny little book created by pritnamker Jill Bergman in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Jill sent it to another printmaker, who added a small piece and sent it to another printmaker, etc.  You get the idea.

The package included business cards from most of the artists, stamps to mail the book to the next artist, and a letter from Jill Bergman.
And what a cool idea it is!  I am excited to be part of it, and humbled by the impressive tiny works already in it.  I love these little prints!  Here are a few of them, with full credit to each artist.
Jill Bergman's work on the left, and Sherrie York of Salida CO on the right.
Amie Roman on the left, and B.A. Cavin on the right, both from BC, Canada.
Adrienne Hall of Bellevue WA, and a lovely print but can't read the signature on the right.
Love AnniePod's "The Herd" print!
 So I'm going to add one of my embossed linocuts, not sure which one yet because the page is a little smaller than I thought it would be.  I might have to create a new print just to fit. 

The terror of the blank page!  And I need to find another printmaker to send it to, to fill out the last page.
Jill is tracking the journey of her little books ( I think there are more in circulation because this one is number 2 of 5) on her blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back to the studio

I used a lot of excuses this year.  It was too cold in the (unheated) studio. It was too darn hot in the (overheated and west-facing) studio.  It was too messy to bring everything into my kitchen and work.  Everything got piled in the studio over the holidays and I just didn't feel like cleaning it out.  I was too busy at work.  Etc., etc.

Truth is, I just didn't feel like printmaking.  It happens, even to more seasoned artists than me.  No matter how much you love what you do, sometimes it becomes a chore.  That's what happened last Christmas,  after doing more shows than I ever had in a two-month period.  I was tired of looking at the same stuff over and over and I had no inspiration to do anything new.

What started as a break for the winter turned into an extended period of artists' block.  Then, one of my retailers asked me to pick up my work because it wasn't selling.  Gulp.

Hard not to take that personally, but it's business.  My work just didn't fit with the rest of the store, and it never found its audience.  And let's be honest - I really didn't put the effort into it this year.  I even took my Etsy shop offline (a.k.a. "Vacation") for extended periods of time over the summer.  No spark, no inspiration.  Hmph.

After a short vacation last week, I started thinking about printmaking again.  I started sketching some new ideas. I lost all of my inventory files on my old computer and I'm rebuilding them again, a task that I've been putting off all summer.  I applied for the Women's Gifts Show in Buffalo again this year, and decided that I'd better get my butt in gear if I wanted to get enough work ready to justify the table fee.  

The studio is still a mess, but I'm tackling it one square foot at a time. So far, I've cleared a path to the press.  It's a start.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How does a month of printmaking in Florence sound?

If I could, I would be applying for this right now.  It sounds so wonderful, but sadly my budget doesn't have room for a month in Italy this summer.  But I'm passing it along in case someone else can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  Thanks to Amie Roman/Ploverwing for sending it along.  I'm just going to paste the original message here from the organizers, with all the appropriate links:

Dear friends, past workshop participants, students, colleagues,

Think of Italian summer green here in this cold snowy January!     
I am making a national recruiting effort  for our study abroad residency course, an" Italian Sojourn"  in Florence, Italy, for June 2011.  

I am seeking participants, and hope that you may be interested.   Also please share this message with others who you know may be interested.  I appreciate your help in spreading the word!

The attached pdf [sorry couldn't get the PDF to load here so see Karen's website  or email her directly if these images aren't clear] information has been updated, to entice you for this amazing experience.  

•  creative residency to concentrate on your work
•  inspiring surroundings
•  mentoring from UNL printmakers Francisco Souto and Karen Kunc 
•  reduced program fees - now $1500, instead of $2100
•  no UNL tuition costs, unless course credit is needed,  as arranged
ARE  we going to be able to work together in Florence?   Please respond as soon as possible, so I can hold a place for you.

I am happy to talk to you further about this experience, and answer your questions.   
Let me know one way or another.      
Thank you!

Karen Kunc
Cather Professor of Art
Department of Art and Art History
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
402-472-5522 main art office
402-275-3382 home