Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ink and Paper and Time

    The hours don't seem to add up somehow, and these weeks may come to nothing.  Maybe it is just a matter of not holding on to anything so tightly.

       But then, the other night I heard the sort of music that makes everything else in the world disappear.  Shetland tunes, Swedish  tunes, and old time American tunes whirling around one another and each one embroidering the others. Aly Bain, Ale Möller, Bruce Molsky.   There was talk of troll tuning for fiddles, and even a shawm, tunes to play on the first day of the year, at breakfast on the day of an island wedding, wild polskas, and tunes to change your luck.  How many times is it possible to rediscover that magic of experiencing brilliant music in person?  How is it possible to be shocked by it anew each time?
   It is all a dance of stepping forward and then quickly backward over here lately.  It seems like nothing has quite been turning out like I would have hoped or expected, but somehow I feel as if things are on the right track in a larger sense, even if there are some tiny disappointments hidden here and there.  I like to think of a man I met once, for a few days time, who was always saying over and over again, "isn't life grand?" with real sincerity, until it became impossible to forget or ignore how very good it is.
       A very nice thing happened a week or so ago.  I was excited and told my mother I had important news to share with her.  In retrospect, I suppose she thought she was going to be a grandmother, but, of course, what I meant is that I found a tiny, little printing press that I could afford.  It's lucky I tend to work on a small scale!

    So far, I've had some trouble getting rich black tones out of copperplates that I made using another press.  I am hoping that if I adapt my future plates to this press I will still be able to get a velvety black when I want to, hoping that it is possible on such a small press.  If I could manage that, the only problem would be how to manage older plates I've made, but still need to pull prints from.
   I thought the solution would be simple enough: find a bigger press. So, I spent the whole of yesterday in a printing studio, but for all my trouble, and even with the huge size of the presses there, I couldn't seem to get what's on the plate to show up on paper the way I could on the press I used in Paris.  I tried to isolate every variable, and I used up the whole day doing that, not getting anywhere on any of the things I had planned to do.  It seems like I will have a lot of work ahead of me reworking old copperplates if I can't find any other solution.  Still, it wasn't a complete waste, because it was very nice being out in a studio again, with other people working nearby to chat with.

   In addition to the printing problems, there was a varnishing mishap last week, which means that I have a painting in need of restoration, as well.  It was rather gut wrenching seeing a painting of mine that I was happy with and considered to be finished have to have its varnish stripped, and lose some paint in the process.  So there is lots of catch up work, in addition to some new projects I have been trying to work on, and no chance of getting bored with the longer evenings.  My grandfather would have told me "roll with the punches", that was always his answer. 


  1. The mix of music sounds wonderful, especially as your days are growing shorter and nights longer were they playing the music in a pub?

    Sorry to hear of your frustrations ... annoying as they are at making time and effort fly out the window; sometimes they help us see and do things from different angles.

    haha congrats on your baby - it might be giving you a few sleepless nights and teething problems but there are no dirty nappies to wash ;)

  2. It was wonderful, really lovely. They weren't playing in a pub this time... it was a sort of hall/bar/gallery that looked like it started life as a stone barn (but in a very good way!). We were lucky enough to get a lift out of town to see them. I bought the Ale Möller and Aly Bain cd and they play the lovliest Hardanger fiddle on it!

    Thanks for the congrats... and you're too right about the new "baby"!

  3. Sounds like a nice spot with plenty of atmosphere :)