Getting inky!

Such a creative morning at Jula Crafts this morning!  I’m currently teaching a 6 week lino printing class at Jula Crafts, and we’re into week three already.  This week everyone had finished carving up their first A6 sized lino block, and were now ready to print – we got nice and inky!

Getting nice and inky!
Getting nice and inky!

I demonstrated a few different methods of inking up the carving blocks, and then let everyone play – and they came up with such amazing prints. I’m so proud of everyone!

Next week we’re going to use multiple lino blocks to create mix and match prints – watch this space…

Jula Crafts lino printing workshop – week 1

posted in: workshops | 2

I had a great morning today teaching the first week of my 6 week lino printing course at Jula Crafts in Consett. It was a really fun group of ladies who all produced some beautiful work. In these first two hours I introduced everyone to the tools and materials, tips on how to best use the carving tools, carving along lines, freehand carving, and creating backgrounds. This week we just used ordinary erasers to carve into, next week we’ll be moving onto the vinyl lino.

Here are some photos of what everyone carved this week on the erasers – didn’t they all do brilliantly?

Tune in next week for the results of working on A6 sized pieces and getting inky with blockprinting inks and brayers!

Milecastle 37 lino print

Milecastle 37 lino cut
Milecastle 37 lino cut

My latest limited edition lino cut, Milecastle 37, is now finished.  This particular lino cut has been a long time in the making, starting as it did in December 2012 after I took my initial reference photographs whilst walking along Hadrian’s Wall with my good friend, Davie.  I know I do tend to take a long time over my limited edition lino cuts, but I think this may be the longest so far! Milecastle 37 is situated on Hadrian’s Wall, just to the west of Housesteads Roman Fort.

I photographed the various stages of development:

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Initial pencil sketch.
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Using a wide U-blade to create the stone texture.
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Detail stage finished.
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First print proof.
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Creating the sky texture.
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First full proof.
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Addition of grass texture.
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Addition of ground texture.
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The various stages, working up to the end print.
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The final version.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. At first I wasn’t sure whether or not to add the grass and ground texture, and the first full proof stage is when the lino cut hung around on my work desk for a while, whilst I tried to decide which way to go. In the end, the texture won over. I also enjoyed creating the stone texture with the wide U-blade, I used random cuts at a very shallow angle to create them, and am pleased with the texture this method created. That was an experiment, and I’ll be using that technique again.

The lino print is available in my e-shop, or if you’re in the local area, pop along to Tynemouth Market on the first Sunday of each month, where you’ll find my stall.

And for my next limited edition lino cut… I have plans for an architecture based one – stay tuned!

lino printing workshops in Consett

From 2 April 2014 I’ll be running a six week lino printing course at Jula Crafts, Raglan Street, Consett. The course will cost £30 and over the six weeks you will learn how to design, carve and print your own lino printed artwork. We will go from learning the basics through to creating an A6 sized piece, as well as multi-coloured printing, printing on fabric and using alternative printing materials. It’ll be a fun and relaxing class where you can let your creativity run riot!

There’s a full run down of the course on my workshops page. To book, please call me on 0191 645 9500.
Here’s a reminder of some of the results of previous lino printing classes that I have taught:

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Hope you can come and join me!

something to kick start the inspiration

posted in: challenges, craft fairs | 0

Are you like me and tend to hibernate in the winter? Well, never fear, I found these in my garden this week – spring is on it’s way!
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And I’ve also found a couple of projects/competitions to enter which will get me out and about with my sketchbook again. The first is the MS Trust Secret Art Show which I knew about from my friend Lady Catfern who has entered for several years now.

MS Trust Secret Art Show
MS Trust Secret Art Show
Artists are asked to create a 12cm x 12cm artwork and to send into the MS Trust, which will then be sold anonymously for £45. Once the painting has the bought, the artist will then be revealed to the buyer. It sounds like a lot of fun, so I’m going to send in a piece, or maybe a couple!

The next one I came across is a competition, but being a booklover and having scores of bookmarks around the place, it appealed to me. The Book Depository are wanting artists to create a new set of bookmarks for them, which they give away free with purchases, so it’s a wonderful way to get exposure. Full competition details can be found on The Book Depository’s website. Good luck if you enter, I’m certainly going to!

I have been busy with my graphic design work, but did find time for an illustration in January. I even treated myself to a bag designed in it…

love yin yang tote bag
Love Yin Yang bag
It arrived today, and I’m going to show it off around town when I go out for the day tomorrow ;)
(Click on the image and it will take you to my Society6 store if you would like one.)

I’ve also been out and about with my two good friends David Todd of Hellsteeth Illustration and Anthony Richardson of Anthony Richardson Design. We take a stall at Tynemouth Market on the first Sunday of each month, so do come along and say hello if you’re in the area. Our next one is on 2 March 2014.

Tynemouth Market stall
Tynemouth Market stall

So, how are you kick starting your inspiration at this time of year?

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2014 for us all :)

December was a wonderfully busy month here at Press for Design, with lino printing workshops and demonstrations, a couple of craft fairs, and working for all of my lovely graphic design clients.

I was at Beamish Museum several times during the month, where I taught a Christmas card lino printing class, and also spent three evenings there helping budding printmakers young and old to print up their own Christmas lino prints:

Lino printing at Beamish Museum
Lino printing at Beamish Museum

I joined my good friends and art collaborators David Todd of Hellsteeth Illustration and Anthony Richardson of Anthony Richardson Design on a couple of stalls at Stanley Civic Hall and Tynemouth Market.

The Press for Design Stall
The Press for Design Stall

We all had a really good time and loved meeting everyone. We have decided to make Tynemouth Market a regular event, so please do come along on the first Sunday of every month to say hello to us all. David creates intricate hand drawn illustrations of historical events and Anthony carves out intricate celtic reliefs that are made into frames and wall plaques, so there is plenty to peruse! A list of dates can be found on my Facebook events page. Plus, watch out for an announcement about our collaborative art skills sometime in the first part of this year…

I also enjoyed a few festive parties ;) A couple were thanks to my co-working buddies at Newcastle Jelly and Colleagues on Tap, both of which I recommend if you’re in the Newcastle/Northumberland/Tyne and Wear areas and are self-employed or a homeworker and would like to work alongside other like-minded folk. The co-working days and the lovely folks I have met through them have been a great boost to me and my business.

I’ve been busy updating the shop with the cotton shopping bags that I have for sale on my stall.
cotton tote bags
If there’s a particular design of mine that you would like on a cotton tote bag, just ask – I can make one up for you. Plus, buy a 2014 Peace and Love calendar at the same time and receive free UK p&p on your entire order using the code “2014calendar”.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful New Year for us all :)

Christmas Card Lino Printing Workshop at Beamish Museum

On Sunday 1st December I taught a lino carving class at Beamish Museum where the participants all created their own unique lino cut Christmas card design. There were 8 participants on the course, and I had a really fun day teaching them, and as you will see from the pictures below, they all created some absolutely fantastic festive designs.

We started off the day by making a few practice marks on a small piece of lino, which got everyone used to the blades, the cutting action and the feel of the carving material. Once everyone was happy, we started by carving a small design, which could then be used as a gift tag, name place decoration or envelope decoration. Using some clip art and a few different carving techniques for clearing out the background, everyone created fantastic gift tag stamps:
(Click on the images for a larger version)

lino printed gift tags

lino printed gift tags

lino printed gift tags

lino printed gift tags

lino printed gift tags

lino printed gift tags

We then moved on to creating an A6 sized carving, which could then be used to print up Christmas cards. Some participants already had their own designs in mind, others used the photographs, alphabets and clip art I had brought along to create their own unique designs from different elements. The class went quiet as the levels of concentration grew!

beamishclass1

beamishclass2

lino carving in progress!

As the carvings were finished, the fun and messy part could begin – printing! Everyone took a plain coloured test print first to make sure they were happy with their carvings. Some went back to alter a few bits, others went straight on to printing. We played around with different coloured inks, papers, blends of inks and mixed up some lovely colours too.

inking

And here are all the finished cards – I’m so pleased with how everyone did, they all created some amazing designs. Thanks to everyone who came on the course, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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cards2

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cards4

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cards6

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December diary

posted in: craft fairs, workshops | 0

My December diary is filling up fast! Here’s a run down of the workshops that I’ll be running and craft stalls that I’ll be selling my art at during December.


1st DecemberChristmas card design and lino printing workshop at Beamish Museum
Lino printed Christmas cards


6th, 13th and 20th DecemberChristmas lino printing at Beamish Museum’s Christmas evenings


10th DecemberLingfield Point, Christmas Market lino print craft stall, with my lino printed brooches, tote bags and illustrated calendars.


14th DecemberCivic Hall Stanley, Christmas Market sharing a stall with fab celtic knot designer Tony Richardson.

lino prints and illustration by Press for Design
lino prints and illustration by Press for Design
celtic knot carving in progress by Tony Richardson
celtic knot carving in progress by Tony Richardson

15th DecemberTynemouth Market stall buddying with amazing illustrator David Todd of Hellsteeth Illustration
Durham Cathedral by David Todd
Durham Cathedral by David Todd

Hope to see you at one of these events :)

Shopping local – gift shopping in the Consett area

posted in: shopping | 8

I received my first Christmas card yesterday! So with the festive season fast approaching, I thought I would list some of the wonderful local businesses I know in the Consett area that you can shop with for your Christmas gifts. Please do pop by their websites and have a look and see if you can shop locally for the majority of your Christmas gifts this year. Wherever you are in the world, local businesses would really appreciate your support.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Aura Gold Holistic Therapies
Treat yourself or a loved one to a holistic therapy treatment from Aura Gold Holistic Therapies, including Reflexology, Qichi Foot Massage, Reiki, Hand and Arm Massage, Chakra Balance, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Swedish Back Massage and Indian Head Massage. Gift vouchers are available.


The Cool Rule Company

The Cool Rule Company
celebrates everything that is cool about toddlers with a fantastic, funky range of happy living products, with the marvellous Cool Rule Book, children’s reward charts and posters.


Jbow Jewellery
JBow Jewellery makes hand crafted and unique pieces of jewellery. JBow also creates beautiful pieces of fingerprint jewellery and keepsakes created in fine silver from silver art clay to capture your precious moments, which can all be seen at Precious Moments in Silver by JBow.


Kelebek Art
Kelebek Art creates beautiful, handcrafted collages featuring your favourite words and quotes. Bespoke artworks available on request, perfect for any special occasion.


Mutant Design
As well as being graphic designers Mutant Design produce wall art and props.


Oodles Toy Bags
Oodles Toy Bags provide handy zip up bags with a see through panel to stash away all manner of things.


Press for Design Christmas gift ideas
Yes, this is me :)


Sanctuary Leathers
Sanctuary Leathers produce high quality bespoke and commission leathergoods for individuals and groups from LARP through to alternative fashion.


Sarah Loveland Photography
Not only does Sarah Loveland Photography specialise in baby and children’s photography, but she also has a wide range of gift items on her website, including “photography lessons in a box”, photography workshops, photographic art and natural rope dog toys.


Star Paws
Have Star Paws take a beautiful portrait of your four legged friends, a wonderful gift for all animal lovers.


Have fun browsing around all these local Consett retailers for your Christmas gifts, and wherever you are in the world, please do try to shop locally whenever you can!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Hallowe’en Greetings!

It’s my favourite day of the year! And to celebrate, here’s a fun print of mine featuring a hand carved vampire mushroom with a pumpkin moon, plus a few shop bought rubber stamps to fill things out.

Vampire Mushroom
Vampire Mushroom

I’ll be at Beamish Museum for my final night of spooky lino printing tonight. The last two nights I’ve been dressed in my Morticia regalia, tonight though I have a purple extravaganza of a costume planned ;) I’m upstairs in the Bank in the town, so come along and have a go if you’re going to the evening event.

Don’t let the mushrooms bite!

working on Hallowe’en carvings

simple Hallowe'en sketches
simple Hallowe’en sketches

Next week I’ll be showing children (and big kids!) how to print up their own spooky Hallowe’en lino prints at the Hallowe’en evenings at Beamish Musuem. I’m just carving up the linos this weekend, and thought I would show you the progress.

Above you see the initial simple sketches I drew onto the lino. I take these sketches as a starting point, but then I work further on them as I carve out the lino. So for example, you can see that once I’d carved out the bat print, I decided when I was clearing out the background to make some interesting marks, and also leave a dark moon shape in there:

bat carving - lino detail
bat carving – lino detail

Which printed up quite nicely, I thought:

bat lino print
bat lino print

I also decided that as this is a Hallowe’en event that I would have to use something a bit different to print up the linos with, so I think I’m going to be using Dragon’s Blood *grin*

Hallowe'en jar labels
Hallowe’en jar labels

I’ve put these labels up as a free download in my shop if you would like to use them for your Hallowe’en event – just download them from here: free Hallowe’en jar labels.

I’ll be back with the rest of the spooky lino carvings when they’re done.

getting ready for Hallowe’en…

initial sketches on lino
initial sketches on lino

Next week I’ll be showing children (and big kids!) how to print up their own spooky Hallowe’en lino prints at the Hallowe’en evenings at Beamish Musuem. I’m just carving up the linos this weekend, and thought I would show you the progress.

Above you see the initial simple sketches I drew onto the lino. I take these sketches as a starting point, but then I work further on them as I carve out the lino. So for example, you can see that once I’d carved out the bat print, I decided when I was clearing out the background to make some interesting marks, and also leave a dark moon shape in there:

detail of the bat carving
detail of the bat carving

Which printed up quite nicely, I thought:

Hallowe'en bat lino carving
Hallowe’en bat lino carving

I also decided that as this is a Hallowe’en event that I would have to use something a bit different to print up the linos with, so I think I’m going to be using Dragon’s Blood *grin*

Hallowe'en jar labels
Hallowe’en jar labels

I’ve put these labels up as a free download in my shop if you would like to use them for your Hallowe’en event – just download them from here: free Hallowe’en jar labels.

I’ll be back with the rest of the spooky lino carvings when they’re done.

Random Acts of Kindness

posted in: stuff | 2

rak

Last night I went to my door and found someone had posted these old lino cutting tools through the door. People often chat to me at craft shows about how they have a set of their old lino tools at home, and that they didn’t use them any more and that they wish they could be used again, so I can only assume these have come from one of those lovely people.

They often say that these RAKs arrive at just the right time, and this one did. Thank you, mystery person. You don’t know how much that meant to me yesterday. They will be used well.

new design tote bags

Tote bags
Tote bags

Did you know that a lot of my artwork is available on different items, such as iPad cases, T shirts and cushions? It’s also now available on these cool tote bags, shown above. Now I have in mind one for myself, one for my mum, a couple for my friends…

And if you use this link: http://society6.com/dennicadigitals/bags?promo=be692b to get to them, there’s free worldwide shipping on them too until Sunday 13th October 2013. I’m on my way already :)

Peace and Love Calendars 2014

posted in: illustration | 2
Press for Design Peace and Love calendar 2014
Press for Design Peace and Love calendar 2014

Woohoo! My Peace and Love 2014 calendars have arrived from the printers! I’m very pleased with them. I’ve put a couple aside for myself and my parents, and some pre-orders are already on their way to their recipients, but the rest are for sale :)

Press for Design Peace and Love calendar 2014
Press for Design Peace and Love calendar 2014

As well as showcasing my hand drawn artwork, each page has plenty of space to write your reminders and also has a peace and love themed quote. They are available to buy in my online shop, and remember if you’re in the UK, there’s free postage once you spend over £30.

a lovely weekend at Beamish Museum

lino printing demonstration at Beamish Museum
lino printing demonstration at Beamish Museum

I spent a lovely weekend demonstrating lino printing at Beamish Museum this weekend. Above you will see my demo station where budding printmakers young and old came to try their hand at printmaking, and take a small souvenir of Beamish Museum home with them. Visitors were able to print out one of four different designs that I had cut in lino from items around Beamish Museum.

Beamish Musum lino prints
Beamish Musum lino prints

I was there as part of the Hands on Heritage weekend, and was in a marquee with lots of other fabulous artisans and craftspeople. Visitors could try their hand at pottery, stone carving, leatherwork, felting, knitting, spinning, carpentry and willow weaving amongst other crafts. It was lovely and busy, there were several times over the weekend when I didn’t get a chance to even look up from my station there were so many people wanting to print! It was fantastic, and to see the looks of amazement on children’s faces when they pulled the print away and saw what they had printed up was always priceless.

I was so busy I didn’t get a chance to take photos, but I know there are a couple of you who wanted to see the costume I was given to wear for the weekend, so I took a photo when I got home on Saturday evening:
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If you came along and printed up a lino cut, then hello! I hope you enjoy your print. Details of the workshops I will be running on lino printing can be found on the Beamish Museum website.

Thanks to Beamish Museum for a great weekend :)

all ready to go…

Beamish Musum lino prints
Beamish Musum lino prints

I’m all packed up and ready to go for demonstrating lino printing and cutting at the Hands on Heritage Skills event at Beamish Museum this weekend. All of the lino prints above are of items that can be found in Beamish Museum, so come along, have a go at printing one of these up, and then see if you can find the item within the museum! I’ll also have some material on hand if you would like to have a go at cutting out a small rubber stamp too. The Hands on Heritage Skills event is in Pockerley Fields, and the museum is open from 10am to 5pm.

I also have this piece of lino prepped and ready to carve during the weekend:

lino prep
lino prep
Again, this is an item that can be found somewhere within Beamish Museum.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I’ll be taking my camera, so I’ll try and get some shots to show the atmosphere :)

carving up a storm…

Plenty of lino carving action here in the Press for Design studio in preparation for the Hands on Heritage Skills weekend at Beamish Museum this coming weekend. Here are two more of the lino prints that visitors will be able to print up themselves at the weekend, again featuring items that can be found in the museum.

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an Art Nouveau tile in Beamish Museum
an Art Nouveau tile in Beamish Museum

LNER 985 at Beamish Museum
LNER 985 at Beamish Museum

I have one more full design to carve up and one more to prepare which I’ll be carving over the weekend. I’ll post updates when they’re ready.

a letterbox in Beamish Museum

Next weekend I’ll be demonstrating lino printing at the Hands on Heritage Skills event at Beamish Museum. So this weekend has been put aside to carve up a few sheets of lino in order for visitors to try their hand at printing. I’ll be taking some lino and tools along with me to demonstrate the cutting process too.

This is the first piece that I’ve just finished, a beautiful letterbox that can be found in the town in Beamish Museum:

a letterbox in Beamish

a letterbox in Beamish
a letterbox in Beamish

So if you’re in the area next weekend and fancy a day out at Beamish, please do pop by the Heritage Skills event and print up a reminder of your day.

it’s all about the details…

Whenever I go out with my camera I very rarely come back with “view” shots, I tend to zoom in on the details. Which I guess comes from being a graphic designer, I like to always make sure the details are perfect! This lino cut is one of those details that I captured at a visit to Beamish Museum, and it’s actually aimed for use at Beamish Museum next weekend. I’ll be demonstrating lino printing at their Hands on Heritage Skills event next weekend on 21st and 22nd September, and you can come along and print this out for yourself.

a letterbox in Beamish Museum
a letterbox in Beamish Museum
a letterbox in Beamish Museum
a letterbox in Beamish Museum

This particular letterbox can be found in the town area of Beamish, but there are other beautiful and unusual letterboxes around various parts of the museum, all of which I love and which I may turn into lino prints in the future.

So, this weekend has been put aside to carve up a few sheets of lino in order for visitors to try their hand at printing. I’ll be taking some lino and tools along with me to demonstrate the cutting process too. I’m aiming to cut another three or four Beamish-themed linos this weekend so that there’s a choice for visitors to print, I’ll keep you posted!

The Process: background image removal

If you run a product based business and would like to make your product photography look professional and also make the product the only focus of attention, then a great way to do this if you don’t have access to a professional photographer is to get a graphic designer to remove the background for you. This process is also known as deep etching.

This involves working in very fine detail and at the pixel level, selecting the outline of the product that needs to be cut out. Here’s a screen shot of me working on the storage barrels as shown in the examples below:

product photography background removal
product photography background removal

I tend to work in sections rather than cutting out the entire image at one go. Working in sections gives me a lot more control and I can get a really fine finish. I’ve been doing this kind of work for about 10 years, and started off working on photographs daily for a retail company for their website and catalogue product images. This was well before the “quick selection” tools came along in Photoshop, so I have always manually selected the product images using the Lasso tool – this gives a much sharper and more professional final image.

Once the product has been cut out, it can be put into different types of files depending on the client’s requirements, either a flat white background, a coloured background, another photograph, or a transparent background.

Here are a couple of examples of before and after background removal work that I have worked on for various clients:

product photography background removal
product photography background removal

If you would like this service for your product photography, please get in touch with me at hello@pressfordesign.co.uk for a quote for bulk photographs, or see my Fiverr background removal offer for just two photographs.

a sneaky peek…

…at my “Peace and Love” illustration calendar for 2014…

peace and love calendar 2014
peace and love calendar 2014

I’m still working on the layout, so it has a couple of days work ahead, but I’m going to be getting this printed up professionally. It will be an A4 portrait calendar, and depending on the amount of interest I get in it, I’ll be able to order an amount that will make it affordable, not only for yourself, but hopefully for presents too :) If you would be interested in purchasing the calendar, then please let me know so that I can gauge the amount I should be getting printed up. A reply won’t constitute a promise to buy, obviously, but it will just help me out with my numbers! I’m aiming to get it down to about the £8 mark.

Thank you if you take the time to respond!

website updating service

posted in: my lovely clients | 0
website content updating for Tabby Textiles
website content updating for Tabby Textiles

This is me, working away at the Tabby Textiles studio last Thursday, updating their website for them. I didn’t create this website, it’s a commercial template one that Becky set up herself, but she found she didn’t have the time to keep it fresh and updated whilst running her busy studio at the same time. So that’s where I came in! I spent the afternoon updating the content, filling out her events page, and tidying up a few things here and there. All jobs that were on Becky’s list, but she just didn’t have the time to see to them.

And I can help you with this service too, either at your offices or remotely. Drop me a line at hello@pressfordesign.co.uk to find out more.

Although if you’re going to look after me as well as Becky did, with pots of tea and biscuits, then naturally I’ll be coming to you *grin*

If you’re in the Darlington area and enjoy textile crafts of all sorts, then please do check out Tabby Textiles, as you will love their courses!

alphabet exemplar print finished

posted in: lino printing | 2
Alphabet Exemplar Lino Cut
Alphabet Exemplar Lino Cut

The alphabet exemplar print that I showed you the other day has now been finished. I was cutting this over the weekend at the art fair in order to demonstrate the process of lino cutting and printing. I worked on it most of Sunday and finished it off during the first hour of the art show on Monday, so it would have taken about 6 hours to cut out. I took the first prints off the cut at the art show yesterday, and people seemed to enjoy watching the process and had plenty of questions, which was great.

If you are arriving at the blog after seeing me at Snods Edge Art Fair, then hello and welcome! Lovely to meet you over the weekend. If you would like a print of this lino cut, then it is available in my shop.

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