Sometimes when I'm very still, I pretend I can stop the Universe with a stare.
I am a solitary soul
I am a heavy free
I am Daughter of the Stars
Cusp of sky and sea
I know not of the lines on your face
Or the callouses on your hands
They speak of paths you’ve walked before
Littered with demands
There is no certainty but in death
Yet my word is my bond and rings true
Dear traveller, in this valley deep
This I put to you
I’ll trade your darkness for my warmth
If you take my scars and kiss them clean
When they say ‘to hell and back'
Only few know what it really means
I’m not one to mark possessions
For all that comes must surely go
But should you chose to tarry
And bare your aching soul
I’ll trade your darkness for my warmth
I finally decided to cave into my letterpress obsession and took a class at Passeportout Press in the Hague, run by the lovely Anna Savoie. The full day affair started at a humane 11am and ended at a respectable 7pm. An extremely productive day- I left with my arms full of cards that I had hand-pressed myself! I shall briefly outline the events of the day for anyone who is ever thinking of a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in The Hague, or is interested in taking up letterpress!
Above is where the magic happens. Anna's letterpress machine is from Germany with a customized top. Extremely cute. The picture on the right is the image I wanted to letterpress- a little floral faberge-sque egg I drew in time for Easter.
Creating the Printing Plate
The image was first prepped with photoshop into a format that was optimum for printing, then inverted and printed onto a transparency film with an inkjet printer. In order to ensure maximum light blockage, Anna prints two copies and aligns the film onto each other. When the films are dry, they are put on a sheet of photo-sensitive polymer and vacuum-sealed so as to ensure the film and polymer are perfectly stuck together. They are then chucked into a UV-light unit (Anna has a DIY one with tanning bed lamps!) and left for a few minutes. The plate is then washed out in a warm bath of water.
Selecting and building Ink Pigments
Ah, this chart was amazing. I had a very light mauve in mind for the print and was wondering if Anna would have it, but I didn't need to worry- we would build it! Anna whipped out this incredible Pantone colour-building chart. With palette knives, we heaped thick ink pigments onto a glass sheet and mixed them until we got the desired shade for printing.
Now that we've got the plate and ink, we're in business! The plate is lined up on the machine and the colour is loaded onto the rollers. A quick pull to the right over the design coats the plate with a thin layer of ink. Paper is then placed on the plate and firmly held in place with a clamp. The rollers are then pulled back over the design (this takes some effort, I had to put my back into it...) embossing the paper and pressing the ink into it. Each piece is then removed and left to dry.
Thank you so much for the lovely day Anna!
This Easter, instead of generic "Happy Easter" or bunnies/ducks on cards, I decided to write verses on what Easter Sunday was really about. I try to remember that it's pretty incredibly significant, although often forgotten in a flurry of chocolate eggs.
Letterpress is old school and a lot of work, but I can tell you it's heaps rewarding. There's a sense of tremendous pride in knowing how each step of the process works and making it by hand. I hope to have my own home-studio set up someday.
Check Anna out and arrange a class here!
Wait...They don't love you like I love you//Wait...They don't love you like I love you//Maps//
Wait...They don't love you like I love you.
It's been one and a half weeks in the Hague as a legal assistant at the International Criminal Court, and every moment has been eye-opening and brilliant. I am ever thankful and ever humbled by the kindness and the intelligence of the people around me, and the weather has been gracious. Ravens sitting amongst the first buds of spring make for an interesting contrast, and Wes Anderson-esque houses that pepper the scenery allow me a brief indulgence in imagining my life as a movie. (Clark Gable plays in the background. I want so badly to believe that there is truth and love is real; And I want life in every word to the extent that it's absurd)
I look forward to my time here, to grow in perspective and personality. There's much to understand, empathize, realize, and reflect on. I think feeling small is the only way to get any bigger.
Ice in her veins, she dreams of Summer
The ephemeral days infinite in its glow
Gritting her teeth, she takes another
Step into the cold
Lines cut by the wind
Grey stained in her hair
Can she still dream of Summer
When she is old?
Oh Japan, the land of the cherry blossoms, interactive toilets and strange vending machines. I'm here for a summer law unit at the Ritsumeikan Law School and have landed here early to have a bit of a look around before the course starts. Over the past few days I've come to realize I've spent most of my time petting or hugging the local folk- both stuffed and breathing, real and imaginary.
It started with this adorable little Shiba Inu. He was so incredibly soft to touch and had the best expression when his ears were rubbed. Then I met Totoro in Kyoto, but I couldn't afford the 92,400 yen to bring him home, so I had to settle for a pat on the lilly pad. I did bring a smaller one back though.
After meeting wild deer on the Miyajima Island, cats in the cat cafe in Tokyo, Domo-kun and owls from an owl cafe in Fukuoka.. I'm wondering who I'm going to meet next.
I don't think I've ever fallen harder for a set of mugs. They will be mine the moment I actually have a house of my own! Ceramic designer Natalia Gruszecka from Poland is responsible for these works of art, and they can be purchased here.
These organic gold ones are a close second and can be bought here. Just incredible.