March 30, 2023

Diana #AtoZChallenge

        Welcome to the April A to Z Blog Challenge!
  My theme this year is Relief Printed Alphabet Squared, an alphabet of alphabets illustrated with relief block prints.  As usual, I began early, but you can find out more about the A to Z Challenge here.
        We start today with the Wildflower Alphabet of Diana Pomeroy.  I had previously featured her counting book, but this is my first time sharing anything from her alphabet.  Pomeroy’s block printing method is unique among all the alphabets I’m sharing in this year’s challenge: she uses potatoes!  (You can read more about that medium here.)  Her D is Dandelion, and I do like this one very much.  You can see very clearly here her interesting mix of relief and intaglio effects.  That is, they’re relief prints because the ink is spread on the raised surface of the carved block.  But sometimes there is also a different color of ink pressed down into carved lines, which also prints, and that’s intaglio.  I had a very difficult time picking just one other flower to share because I love so many of them, but I’ve settled on the Nasturtiums at N.
        Today’s bonus alphabet is from David Frampton.  I’ve mentioned his ABC before, and shared B, R, W, X, and Z.  Of course today I have D’s Dinosaur.  I think my favorite might be R with its almost pointillist sense of color and texture, but in order to share something new today I’ve selected A for Alligator.  Frampton makes his wood block prints with a separate block for each color, so you can see that these require the carving and printing of 4-5 blocks each.  The designs have a clear sense of fitting into the rectangle of the blocks, which is then the rectangle of the page in the book.
        Today I also invite you to revisit James Dodds, from whom I’ve already shared D (Dhow), so today I’ll share Q (Quoddy sloop).  You can also go back and visit C, S, W, X, and Y from his linoleum block printed Alphabet of Boats.  In a dramatic contrast from Frampton, Dodds’s boats are small, but very bold and simple.
        Of course the moral of the three different artists at D, with their three different and widely diverse relief block printing techniques, is that you need never weary of block printmaking, because there’s always something new.
        And also, anything that can be carved can be printed!  (Although possibly not everything should be carved and printed, so don’t do anything rash…)
        So, what’s your favorite medium for creativity?  Is it watercolors, knitting, origami, or glassblowing?  Or is it cooking, dancing, bagpipes, or writing memoir?  This is creativity I’m asking about, so it could be just about anything!  
(But admit it, relief block printing’s one of the best!)

[Pictures: Dandelion, Nasturtium, potato prints by Diana Pomeroy from Wildflower ABC, 1997;
Dinosaur, Alligator, woodcuts by David Frampton from My Beastie Book of ABC, 2002;
Quoddy sloop, linoleum block print by James Dodds from Alphabet of Boats, 1998.]


Kristin said...

Those potato prints are beautiful! So delicate.

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

I've heard of people using potato prints to get a wallpaper-like effect on their walls. In fact, we talk about trying that out ourselves in our powder room, though so far it is just talk.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

The wildflowers blocks are so pretty!

Ronel visiting for D:
My Languishing TBR: D
Dichotomy of the Sasabonsam

Joy Weese Moll said...

The Wildflower Alphabet is beautiful.

I'm currently focused on writing a novel for creativity. But I wouldn't have made it hear without a couple of years of messing around with paint as a pandemic project. My creativity required less perfectionism.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

When I was in preschool we made potato prints, which makes it especially fun for me to see how sophisticated the medium can actually be!
Melanie, I would think a potato wouldn't stand up to enough repeated printing to do an entire wall. That might work better with rubber or some sturdier material. But I can't say I've ever tried it, so I defer to those who have!
Joy, I also really enjoy have both visual art and writing as different sorts of creative outlets.

Donna B. McNicol said...

The child in me loves the David Frampton blocks.

My A to Z Blogs
DB McNicol - Small Delights, Simple Pleasures, and Significant Memories
My Snap Memories - My Life in Black & White

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Donna, apparently Frampton actually did a workshop with children to get their ideas, which he used for the subjects and little rhymes. So these really are certified child-pleasing.