We've had a number of interesting projects this Fall, and this was a favorite. We were approached by Abe's Peanut, a postcard subscription series for children, about creating a set of cards. There are four cards in a series, and each has one part of a story that is completed when all four cards are received (one a week). Illustrators are teamed up with writers to create stories and images to engage children and excite them about getting their own special mail. Fortunately, I was able to work with one of my favorite writers, Julia Bryan, to put together a lovely little story about a girl, Daisy, growing up in a city and wishing for a tiny garden. She works with her parents to create a plot by their chain link fence, and to order seeds to be planted. She watches as the seasons change from winter to spring to the wonderful summer harvest. The cards were printed as one piece in seven colors and then trimmed.
The seasons and representation of the chain link fence were printed first in a very pale gray. The fence is a pressure print; it is created by printing a solid object (in this case, a piece of linoleum) over a texture added to the press behind the paper being printed:
You can see the ghost of the texture left behind on the linoleum:
After the first color, a carved linoleum cut was printed in pale aqua to add 'weather' to each of the seasons.
These runs were printed on a Vandercook press. For the details, it was easier to switch to the platen presses. All of the plants, seed packets, dirt and leaves were printed with ornaments, both wood and metal. This required a little careful planning to place everything in the right area to come together and make sense as a representational garden.
Love that little moon! The cards build layers of color as the seasons progress. From the little seed packets come eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins, which carry into the fall.
The back side of each card is the same overall layout, with just the story changing from season to season. Hopefully the kids receiving the cards enjoy the imagery and story as much as we did while creating it.