Salvador Dali

imageJust over two years ago, I had the fun of exploring an exhibition of Salvador Dali in Italy.  Famous for his melting clocks, I was intrigued by this man and his creative moustashes and quirky quotes.  Some can be found on

Years ago, I studied Art History and we did a module on abstract art, surrealism, cubism and I admit that it wasn’t my favourite thing.  To link with the Art History, we also had to produce a surreal piece of art work; I created something in pen which was part sheep.  I dare say it’s hidden in the depth of my loft now and I’m still embarrassed by it.  So, what does one need to be able to produce something surreal or fantastical?  My mother always said I had a vivid imagination!

imageI didn’t do a surreal piece tonight, I did a portrait using a Sharpie pen of the man himself, in lino (see above) and to put a twist on it, when it prints, it will print in reverse.  How about that?!

As you can see, there’s a bit more cutting to do, but you get the idea 🙂


Lino print hare and free Christmas giveaway

Hi and welcome to my blog, if this is the first time you’ve come across squarebird :-). Hello to all newcomers and old friends in the bloggesphere.

Today marked the day when work put up the Christmas tree and so I decided to run a Christmas free giveaway! I’m also promoting this on my
Facebook page: and my printing blog at

First let me show you the actual lino cut I sketched out and cut this evening, then I’ll show it to you inked up for the first time. Finally, I’ll show you the limited edition lino-gelli print you have the chance of winning for yourself or a friend.


I chose to do a hare simply because I like nature and the hare is almost an iconic feature in the UK.

Once inked up with black, I found that I liked how the brown from the lino showed through against the acrylic paint.


Finally, I began to play around with a Gelliprinted background and then printed the hare over the top.


To win, all you have to do is comment after this blog post (or on my facebook page using the above link and commenting under the hare post) whether you would like to win it for yourself or if it will be a gift for someone. Entries will be accepted up until midnight Friday 12th December -all time zones and I will announce the winner (chosen at random) on Saturday.

Good luck everyone and thanks for stopping by 🙂

Motorcycle commission and another section of the portrait

Making progress…in between finishing my dot portrait commission, I’ve cut another lino printing plate – this time of a motorcycle. You will be able to read more about this project on my other blog,
where I will be sharing the cutting process of the lino and several prints (so please follow me on there if you want to hear the updates as this one is to raise funds for air ambulance).



Tree lino print

As you may remember, I shared a picture of a rubbing I made from the edge of a pencil over the top of a lino cut showing the raised and lower surfaces through the tones of grey. This morning, I managed to get out into my printing shed before heading off to work with my fog lights on. It was the first time I’ve been printing before work and I like a child having to go to school, I dug my heels in and wanted to print some more!


Pencil rubbings

Another great thing about cutting into lino is that you can do a test rubbing before actually covering it in ink or paint. Also, if you use the edge of a pencil or crayon and direct the nib in one direction (in this case example from left to right) so that the lines all go in the same direction you will notice that the image is the same way around as what you have drawn on the lino! This contrasts with when the lino is inked up and turned over onto paper or card. The impression made from the lino plate is always mirrored or in reverse.

In these two example pencil rubbings, I’ve cut two lino prints – one in soft pale grey lino (several tree trunks) and the other using a lino which has a mesh on the back (single tree).



There is a further stage to this technique … If you use a blunt tip or a ball point pen which has run out of ink, you can rub over the surface and into the groves left by the lino tools and create an embossed picture.

Tomorrow I will show you the results of the lino print trees so that you can compare the pencil rubbing with the print 🙂

Frankenfluffy – the winning pet portrait choice

The kitten picture I received was a gorgeous long haired white kitten with a ginger tail. His name is Frankenfluffy 🙂

Congratulations to blogger artyflowergirl who entered for her friend and provided the photograph for me to create this lino print of her friend’s kitten 🙂

A try at calligraphy with a dipping pen

I’ve used a cartridge calligraphy pen with varying results both for drawing and writing recently. I finally managed to locate my dipping pen and bottle of ink and took to my journal (making use of the lined paper) and here is a sneak look at my efforts, including a sketch using the same pen … and a mini lino print of a spanner – just for fun!



I can honestly say now that I prefer the dipping pen, although it was a bit trial an error with the ink blobbing on the page in large pools! Drawing was also easier and not so ‘scratchy’. I’m tired now, so will have another go tomorrow. As the saying goes … Practise makes perfect!

Dino lino …everyone loves a dinosaur

The prompt for today’s summer journal project led Myfanwy over at
was to comment on ‘what is your favourite crafting technique?’
I’ve been writing this blog now for eight months (wow!) and tested out many different crafts, some of which I would prefer not to do again and some I have returned to plus I’ve been honing the skills and techniques of those crafts I do regularly. There are still others I have yet to experience. With a husband who is a qualified blacksmith, I could possibly have a go at using a metal forge and there are workshops in the city of Bath where I could sign up and have a go at glass blowing! My father is a retired carpenter of bespoke furniture, but also painted some exquisite birds (I found them tucked away in a filing cabinet in his conservatory) ; my uncle used to do sign writing by profession – great at calligraphy too; my grandmother painted in oils (portraiture) and loved quilling; and my aunt was apparently brilliant at embroidery. So there are a few more that I could sample from that list that I haven’t covered yet.
I have a ‘couple of three’ favourites (as my dad would say). I love drawing in ink (in millions of dots) and I have a passion for printing (see below for my new blog link :-)). The Gelli-plate has changed the whole concept of monoprinting as I knew it back in the late 80s. I also love doing book alteration and hand binding handcrafted notebooks.

I’ve had a conversation today at work about dinosaurs and duct tape (there is an earlier posting where I made a duct tape wallet)! From this conversation, I promised my new work colleague that I’d have a go at a dinosaur. My family love visiting the Natural History Museum in London specifically to see the dinosaurs and fossils. They are fabulous. My eldest grew up watching The Land Before Time animation series and my uncle became a geologist by profession, emigrating to the States and visiting places I can only imagine in my dreams (many feet under the ground!). We also loved the movie, Dinosaur.

My favourite dinosaurs include the stegosaurus and triceratops because of their interesting ‘shields’ or amoury, which reminds me I also had a conversation with another colleague about shield-training. She didn’t know about my dinosaur chat! Therefore I chose one to sketch out a stegosaurus on a 5″x7″ lino sheet. Now I’ve tried soft lino (the white) which has a plastic feel to it, I definitely prefer working with it compared with the terracotta lino pieces. Why? The brown ones tend to crumble more and leave more mess after cutting.

Here is the piece at design stage and initial cuts. To see the final printed piece, check out my other blog at
I think it will make a great front cover for a notebook, don’t you think?






Gelli-plate fun

Using a variety of mini lino cuts and a gelli-plate plus acrylic paints, I thought I would show you a selection of my recent makes 🙂






and this one, which I am going to frame for the bedroom 🙂

20140804-221417-80057421.jpg Check out more about printing and printing techniques on my other blog

Frog study

The first leg of my adventure started today. I went to a live auction with a mission and it paid off. I won what I went for! Lot 119 became more than just a listing in an auction catalogue. The twenty minute journey to the auction rooms was without incident and my two eldest children accompanied me to what was their first ever auction. They are both fans of the TV programme, Storage Hunters and we’ve watched bargain hunt. My parents meanwhile, watch The Antiques Roadshow.
The last time I attended an auction was at the age of 20 (younger than my daughter!) to bid for a riding hat. I remember winning that for £12. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a frog study! Well, the purchase I made was very special. I grew up with a love of printing. I learned the printing trade and worked the presses. I studied lino printing, mono printing and intaglio as well as copper etching.
In an earlier post, I mentioned stumbling across a waterfall at Rickford Pond and took some wonderful photographs. The small road that the property where the waterfall was led onto a lane which directed me to an antique shop. I had this fascinating conversation with the owner about the illustrator, Edward Ardizzone who had illustrated the book, Stig of the
Dump (which I had studied at school). I then raised the question about printing presses and whether the antiques’ dealer had every come across one or could get hold of one for me.
Well, to cut a long story short, three days later a press came up at auction, which the man recommended I went along to and I am now the proud owner of it after bidding for it this morning.
After the auction, I visited an ex-colleague of mine who loves frogs and decorated her entire classroom with frog things – even the classroom bin! I wish I’d had a teacher like her when I was at school as her room was unique and so colourful.
I decided to do a study of a frog for my first lino cut that I’m going to test my new printing press with. So, in my sketchbook, I worked on a little frog, which I will then transfer onto lino. I hope you like him. I’ll post the results of this first print edition fresh off the press when it’s done. I’m so excited.
I also finished off the stitching of my Minion ready for a larger project – a commission for a wall hanging in a cafe :).