February 14, 2017

Valentine's Block Prints

        In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve collected a few Valentiney relief block prints for you.  The practice of sending Valentine’s cards didn’t really get started until after wood block printing had been replaced as the chosen method of mass production, so these three pieces are all modern.  But what hasn’t changed is the symbolism of hearts and roses and lovebirds.
        I have to confess I’m pretty low-key about this holiday (as indeed about most, when it really comes down to it).  But I like roses, I like birds, and I like love, so it’s good.   (I like chocolate, too, but chocolate generally doesn’t make such interesting relief block prints.)  These birds and flowers, on the other hand, have a lovely old-fashioned folksy look, with lots of interesting patterns and designs.  The first piece reminds me a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, and the dusty rose color adds to the vintage appeal.  The second piece is warmer, brighter, and simpler.  These are happy birds and happy flowers.
        The final piece becomes almost abstract.  It’s still clearly recognizable as roses, but the shapes have been flattened and simplified into something bold and graphic.
        Although Valentine’s Day is usually billed as the holiday for smoochy romantic couples, don’t let that limit your view.  Why not instead celebrate Love for all?  And flowers and chocolate and block prints for all while we're at it!

[Pictures: Valentine’s Birds, lino cut print by Amanda Colville, 2013 (Image from Mangle Prints);
Flowers & Birds, rubber block print by Jessica D of PaperPlanesMudPies (Image from Etsy shop PaperPlanesMudPies);
Valentine Card, wood block print by John Beauduy, 2006 (Image from JohnBeauduy.com).]

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