This print is the first in a new series depicting pollinators and the native plants they desperately need in order to survive. You can help pollinators – and the future of our food supply – by planting a diverse array of native plants in your garden.
My first carving is for the background. I create a teal green to pale blue gradient with ink on the letterpress roller.
The next carving is for the yellow in the butterfly.
Then a little carving for a leaf highlight.
Then a very intricate carving for the tiny Milkweed blossoms.
Next an even more intricate carving to show darker pink shadows in the blossoms.
Note in the bottom left of the press image, the mess of linoleum crubs which represents two hours of tweaking the carving before finally printing the whole edition. I run a trial print, see where the image needs trimming, and then try to figure out where that spot is on the carving (and the carving is a mirror image of the print). Trim, run another trial print, strain brain to locate spot, trim, repeat.
It’s time to print the last carving, in black, which will tie it all together and make those colors pop! So Print Shop Assistant Bob and I get to the letterpress studio at 5am, Bob locks my carving into place on the press bed, and we run a few trial prints…
…At first I don’t notice a huge problem. Then I see it. Do you? Big gasp, followed by a string of very coarse words. The leaf has no black outlines! I cannot believe I forgot to carve them!
I do the 200+ black prints without leaf outlines, go home, make a new carving for the !%A0*?#! leaf outlines, and while I’m at it, I add a couple tiny raised bits that will improve some other areas. Back to the studio at 5am the next morning for the last printing session.