My prior post featured an announcement for the Indie Market artisan craft / arts show in DeLand, Florida on Sunday, June 2nd. This will be our first ever show, and we thought we would start off with a whole new series of cards especially created by our illustrator, Anna Coleman. Anna already has four children's books to her credit, and has since developed her technique in pen and ink, specializing in the Animal Kingdom. Our latest series of limited edition art cards feature four cards, printed on French Paper's Butcher 80lb cover stock, with matching envelopes. Each A2 sized card features one of four birds, a Bob White, a Wren, two Spice Finches, and a Robin.
Anna has a particular knack of attributing a human persona to animals in the wild. This was a very interesting format that she began to experiment with during her years at Flagler College, which grew into a type of animal rendering which she calls "Animorphism". These are not cartoon-like caricatures! Each bird is faithfully and realistically rendered in a style which reminds me a little of Thomas Nast, of Harpers' Weekly. The artist determines a characteristic that each animal possesses, which might, in turn, characterize a personality. Then, a tell-tale article is added to the bird. A bowler hat, a vest, perhaps a newspaper tucked under a wing. Or, even a turban! It's amazing how human traits can be seen in the animals of creation all about us.
Each print is a faithful reproduction of Anna's original pen and ink rendering, produced into hardwood mounted metal dies, which are hand printed on one of our iron Letterpresses. The process takes the better part of one day to set up and print, the folding process, another hand wrought operation, takes most of the next day.
Since these are limited edition cards, they will be packaged by sets of four cards/ envelopes per package. These will be sold from our table at the Indie Market Show.
And now, a sneak-peek:
Here is an unfolded shot of "Runaway Robin". There is a close up of each of the Bird Cards as we proceed.
These are the hardwood mounted dies produced by Owosso Graphics, of Owosso, Michigan. These particular dies are cast in magnesium, mounted type-high for Letterpress use.
We call this one "Turban Bird". Yup, he's a Bobwhite. The feather tuff on the Bobwhite's head is what sent Anna's imagination to the middle east. His vest has Turkish brocade buttons and collar. Styling!
These two Spice Finches are none other than "Orville and Wilbur". These are in reality Anna's own finches which kept her company all through college, and still reside happily with her and her husband in their home. At one point, Anna came across a 1903-vintage photo of Orville and Wilbur Wright, both sporting dapper bowlers and vests....and she couldn't resist.
Close-ups of Wilbur and Orville, to show the individual pen strokes required to render these illustrations. There is very nearly a wood-engraving feel about them, which is what reminds me of the newspaper and magazine illustrations of the 1860s and 70s.
This little guy is my favourite. He's a little Wren that we call "Newsie". He just . . . reminded us of the movie namesake. All that quick, energetic persona just needed a 19th century vest, workers cap and, of course, a paper under wing.
I took this photo as I was setting the scoring rule on the press. I always get a little impatient to see the finished product. This little guy is "Runaway Robin". Having lived at both ends of the migratory path of the Robin, I can see how Anna spotted the rather transitory, hobo-like nature of one of my favourite birds.
This is Paper Wren Press' new logo.
That's all for now! Friday we will have a "stuffing party", where we will be assembling the sets and packaging them for the show. We should have over ninety packaged sets available for the show. Hope to see you there!