Wedding albums

Fresh off the press and straight out of our first wedding show in Dunfermline, we’ve launched a range of guest books and photo albums that can be personalised to the taste of the bride.

The hard part was coming up with a range of simnple designs that would not only appeal to as many people as possible but could also be adapted easily to serve other functions beyond weddings.  For anniversaries, new babies, special events, and even businesses – guest books for hotels, for instance.

In the works – marbled paper

A large part of the work we do here at our studio in Pettycur is experiment.  I’ve always had the attitude that just because Method A is the accepted way to achieve a particular result, it does not have to be the only way.  Even if Method X produces a wonky result, it’s far more fun to discover why Method A is used than to simply follow instruction blindly.

In pursuit of Method X, there will occasionally be spectacularly brilliant results.

Traditionally, marbled paper is made by first soaking paper in an alum (aluminium sulphate) solution, letting it dry and pressing it flat.  Only when the paper is dry do you get to the fun part which involves laying water-soluble inks across a bath of carrageenan.  That’s nice.  Reading the small print, you discover not only that alum is not a pleasant substance to be around but would you want a child chewing on paper soaked in this?  Also, marbled papers made in this way are only 90% waterproof… it sort of limits the  uses you can put the paper to.

Let’s just say that I don’t do marbled paper that way.  Clue: oil floats on water.  Use oil-based inks instead and simply handle the untreated paper very carefully.  We have some fantastic inks lying around thanks to our letterpress and so with a weekend of tinkering, we’ve started to produce sheets like the one above which Rose has already nabbed for making one of her handbound journals.

We’ll be offering marbled paper as giftwrap on our website very soon.

Origami butterfly garland

One of the great pleasures of striving to adhere to the basic design rule ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ are those moments when the results look so perfect.  If I’d used origami paper to create the butterflies in this garland, it would look too fussy – I used a block of coloured paper that would typically be kept next to a telephone instead.

We had several butterfly garlands hanging from the roof beams in the studio but those visitors that bought them planned to use them in a variety of ways: hanging in a greenhouse to add colour in seasons when there would be little colour; to hang from a lightshade in a child’s newly-decorated bedroom; to add to other garlands already hanging in the lounge, some of them made from seashells…

I’ve included the pattern (following), so you can make one like this too.  I bought my block of notepaper from Paperchase for less than £5 and I reckon there’s enough paper in that to make 50 garlands.  Enjoy.

The First Open Studios Central Fife

All our efforts over the past few weeks have come to this morning’s launch of the very first Open Studios Central Fife.  From having a working studio where we make greetings cards and our artwork, we’ve had to prepare for opening not just the studio but the house and garden for visitors.  Lots of health and safety checks which essentially mean ensuring that all sharp tools and solvents are out of reach of the little people.

We’ll be here until the 26th (excepting Wednesdays and Fridays).  Other artists taking part in the central Fife event can be seen here (or if you’re on Facebook).

Open Studios – August 2012

Rose and I are taking part in the very first Open Studios event in Central Fife.

As anyone who dropped by the Made in Fife tent at Balcarres last weekend will know, we’re busy busy busy getting new pieces made for the August event.

You can view the brochure here. Perhaps due to space constraints, there’s nothing about the range of stuff we produce or how we came to be artists but hey-ho, exciting stuff, no?

We hope to see you there (and we also hope there’ll be sunshine).

Open Studios Central Fife

One of the first discoveries that we made on moving out to the Fife coast is that we were not the only artists living here… there’s loads!  Within Fife, it’s the north around Cupar and St. Andrews that tend to get all the attention but that’s perhaps because for the past seven years, the artists in the north have been taking part in the Open Studios program.

Open Studios North Fife gives folk the chance to wander around artist’s studios, meet the artist (and watch them making stuff), browse their work and buy any pieces of art that interest you.  From reading this year’s North Fife program, we learned that most artists live in places that have easy on-street parking and most seem very happy to give out cake, lots of cake and cups of tea.  If you missed the May event, you’ll be happy to learn that many of the artists involved welcome visits throughout the year by appointment.

Credit where it’s due, it was Rose who said ‘We must do this!’ and so we will be.  The event in May was for artists in north Fife… we live in Central Fife.  Our event will be in August between 11th and 26th August. For those who don’t know, we live in Kinghorn which lies on the Fife Coastal Path.  If any added enticement was needed, we have a large garden with uninterrupted views clear across to our beautiful Edinburgh.

Details including website with full program to follow… and yes, there will be cake.

Pure Gold

The Adana Letterpress has presented a fun learning curve – part frustration, part relief, lots of cleaning and even more moments of ‘Oh wow!’ – and we’ve started to get some great results.  To paraphrase the recently ennobled Jonathan Ives, there’s nothing simple about designing simply.

Influenced by the fairy stories we enjoyed as children, these designs make maximum use of the beautiful Cheltenham typeface when coupled with gold ink.  Two things we discovered in using this metallic ink which we happily pass on to other printers: first, lying the platen absolutely flat, allow the Caslon ink to settle for far longer than the minimum 15 minutes recommended (more like an hour), especially if the room is a little cool, and; second, clean the platen, rollers and typeface as soon as you’re finished if you want to save time later.

These cards are available here or from the stall we’ll be running at the Balcarres Horse Trials, 14 – 17 June