The Shop is Open!

What a fun day! I've been talking about opening a shop of my original linocut prints for nearly four years. The beginning is always the hardest - finalizing prints, photographing them, setting up a website. I owe my family a huge THANK YOU for putting up with me (believing in me) while I've been getting things ready here. I'm excited to share my first collection with you and am looking forward to creating new work now that things are up and running. 

I'd love to hear what you think about the first collection of prints. I'm also curious to know if there are any forgotten flowers or plants that you would love to see as a print. Let me know in the comments here, or tag a photo of a flower or plant you love on Instagram with #seedrawprint and I'll take a look! 

Next week on the blog I'll be sharing my printmaking process: See. Draw. Print. And in the weeks that follow I will go through each of those stages in more detail. Have a lovely day friends! 

Plant Study

For two years in college, I was a science major. And while I loved nearly every single class I took in the sciences, there was one that nearly put me to sleep each week during class: Botany. Please don't be offended dear botanists! I find it funny that now, many (wow - so many!) years later, it is botanicals that most often inspire my artwork. I've decided to revisit the science of Botany here on my blog - spending a bit of time studying each plant that I draw. Botanist + Artist

This should be fun! 

P.S. - I am starting to pull final prints from my new linocut print collection and will be adding them to the shop soon. Follow me on instagram to find out when my shop opens!

Stand Out Quietly

samantha hirst favicon

I was recently updating my website with new fonts, colors, etc. and as I was putting things together I created the favicon you see above, which is made from my initials (obviously). The only little hiccup is that my initials spell shhhh (be quiet).

I tried out a few other ideas and kept coming back to the use of my initials; the simplicity of this choice appealed to me. And then I remembered one of my favorite pieces of press, from my days as Inklore:

she stands out in the best way... she stands out quietly... you can see the time, heart, and thoughtfulness sam puts into each and every one of her inklore pieces (Mrs. French, Bliss)

I loved this idea of standing out quietly then, and I still do. My work, like the natural or useful items that inspire it, is meant to be quiet... peaceful, calm, still. Yes. And so, if you want to remember me and my work as being quiet, that is just fine with me.

PS - another post I shared last year about Quiet

(Im)Perfection

branches linocut test print by samantha hirst

Lately I've been doing lots of test prints - testing out inks and papers, blocks old and new, taking time with registration (or not), and making prints without a plan. 

These test prints are all interesting in their way, showing me what works well and what doesn't; proving out some ideas and tossing others away. Some are beautiful, others less so, but what they all have in common are imperfections - small places where the block picks up ink that wasn't intended, areas where the ink wasn't transferred to the paper, strange registrations, etc. And yet, I like these. I'm finding beauty in these imperfections.

The branches print above is from a drawing of real branches from a tree in our old backyard, and when I first printed it, I wanted to redraw it - make the branches fill in the empty spaces, or make things just ever so more perfect. And then I remembered this quote about Wabi-Sabi which I recently saved from Darling:

"Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional." (Leonard Koren in Wabi-Sabit for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers)

And so I will leave this print as it is - trusting that the small imperfections I see are the very things that make it beautiful. 

Scribbles

Hello there! I've been taking time in the evenings to sketch and test out some new ideas. The cactus print above is from a quick sketch of an idea; I quite like this one, and want to pull a real print to see what it looks like in a frame. As I was carving this one, my daughter asked if she could try carving a block. Of course! She drew the phone you see - I told her there were some bits that would be tricky for a first block, but she is fearless as an artist and went for it. Pretty fantastic for a first print I think! 

The floral block on the right is from the spark of an idea I've had to carve linocut tiles. We'll see - I'm on the fence about this one, but it's fun to play with the idea. 

When I walk in the morning, I like to listen to podcasts and this week I listened to a Pencil vs Pixel podcast with Marc Johns. I'm a fan of Marc's work, and the podcast is definitely worth a listen! A few favorite lines from Marc:

I love the organic quality of a good line and I'm kind of obsessed with good lines. 
Scribbles. I love a really good scribble, you know?
Whether it’s my kid or Jackson Pollock, there’s something beautiful about that and you can’t replicate that. I think everybody has a beautiful scribble. 

Yes, here's to beautiful scribbles! I'll be scribbling away on Instagram this week - I'd love to see your beautiful scribbles too. 

Starting Again

Hi friends! Last weekend, I pulled out my printmaking supplies. As I began carving into the new block, I remembered everything I love about block printing... the quiet, almost meditative work of carving, followed by the sounds of the ink being rolled out, and the surprise of the first test print. Good stuff. I'm excited to dig back into my work.

Above is a sketch that I drew last fall of an anemone, and the first test print from the block that I carved this week. I'm beginning to share more process shots, and things I notice during my day on Instagram. I'd love to have you join me there

My favorite instagram feed lately is @ihavethisthingwithfloors. It is full of pattern and color inspiration - I could get lost for hours scrolling through this feed and sketching.

image and recipe from two peas & their pod blog

This morning we made these Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip pancakes (found on Pinterest) and they were SO delicious! I highly recommend giving this recipe a try - thumbs up from our house. 

Until next week friends - I'd love to know what you are working on this week!

Buried Treasure

During my lunch break today, I spent a bit of time digging through my storage boxes to pull out some of my favorite old blocks. I've taken such a nice long break from my printmaking, that I'd forgotten about some of these!

When I stopped running my business full-time, I admit, I was burned out - though mostly from sewing night and day. My fingers are finally itching to do some carving and I've been gathering ideas for new prints for a while. New things coming soon! Very exciting... glad to be back in this space.