Insurance and other bits

Well I’ve trying to buy insurance and what a mine field it is trying to cover yourself. I’m looking to do several Craft fairs in the up and coming months and naturally it is required you’re covered.
I have had several quotes from various companies with £120 being the most expensive. For a very small business that is a lot of money to pay out, however, I was recommended another company called a-n  who offer insurance for a much more reasonable cost. So I’m ready to go and I’m also covered for workshops too, which is another spoke to the wheel I want to add.

The idea being several people get to spend half a day with wooden letterpress blocks and cake and tea thrown in at half time! I’ve yet to finalise the details but if you are interested just drop me an email from my contact page registering your interest.

In other news, I’d like to point you in the direction of Pinterest, it’s an amazing resource to show case visual goodies and better still I can promote Do You Punctuate? Products through boards and pinning images. If you get a chance to be involved, then I heartily recommend it. Though be warned you can loose several hours!

Right, I need to update the store and add new products. I’ll also be having a spring sale soon, if you look through the store, some items have already been reduced to make way for new cards I’m working on.

Have a happy week!




Copyright free images

Recently I needed to find a specific image that could be made into a plate to print. Initially I searched the internet and then my own stock of images I’ve collected. Then I considered the stock image publishers, so google being my friend I found quite a few companies all willing to sell Victorian ‘copyright free’ images, at a hefty price. This sounds like a contradiction but it seems that a lot of companies are hosting images and selling on the behalf of the owners.

Anyway, I was looking for a Victorian pram, quite a small image really, that could be used as a new baby card. Bearing in mind that I do very limited print runs I only needed to make 10 to 20 cards. Anyway, for a relatively small pram at low quality the prices varied from upwards of £150. Suffice to say, I thought it best not to use this route!

Not to be deterred I also had a go at drawing a pram but I fail at drawing and I refuse to let anyone see the results! So thinking all could be lost I found a remarkable book shop in London at the weekend. A great little shop which appears to be dedicated to books of images, resources for print and drawing. They cover everything you can think of and of course I found my pram and more!

The Dover bookshop, we found by accident whilst trying to find a taxi. The shop is tucked away off of Seven Dials down Earlham street and if you happen to pass by, go and have a look. The nice thing about the book I bought, it has an ‘angel policy’ so I’m able to use the images a limited amount of times and not pay a royalty fee. So a win win!

Here are a few of examples of the images from the CD provided (Pram excluded). These are web quality but there are print quality (600dpi) images on the CD too. I think for future reference I’ll be using these stock images to create letterpress plates. These drawn/etched images are some of my favourite styles and set with contemporary fonts, are quite effective.


A quick round up

Hello! Today has been great, the snow has finally arrived and so we’ve been out playing and sledging. Then back indoors to warm up with hot chocolates and a catch up on ebay. Then back out again…repeat until we’re all exhausted but happy with a rosy glow.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for a new printing press, something that lets me print to a larger surface area and can be broken into two, so that it can be moved easily and carried up my studio stairs. This at first seemed like an easy enough request but actually, it’s turning out to be a challenge. Proper printing presses are HUGE, cast iron, beautiful colossuses that were not built to be moved around so flippantly. So if you happen to know anyone or have a recommendation for a tabletop platen press (like a Peerless 7×11 cast iron) then drop me a line. I’d be immensely grateful!

In other news, since the store launched it’s been a pretty crazy merry-go-round of produce and sell, with so many fantastic opportunities that have arrived out of social networking and just talking to people in general. I was kindly added to the Craft Soup, a group of like minded individuals who all make and produce handmade bespoke items. They have been a great wealth of knowledge and advice. I even met a few of them when I got the chance to display my work in cabinets at Courthouse in Otley.

My other exciting news is that my stock is to be carried in a shop called Reloved boutique in Newark. It’s a preloved baby and children’s clothing store owned by the lovely Caroline. She hasn’t set up her official website yet but once she does I’ll post the link here.

My cards at Yum! are doing really well and I’ve had so much positive feedback. Yum! is a great cafe, so if you get the chance to pop in, do so. They have incredible cakes and are coffee connoisseurs! Joanne who owns and runs Yum! is a great lady and everything is made by her! She is an excellent foodie!

So I do what I do best, which is talk loads, hopefully not annoy anyone and get to know people who are genuinely interested in handmade products. I’m still shiny new to the business side of things and I don’t even consider printing a job but I feel very lucky to be able to do this.

In the next coming weeks, I’ll be putting up new products on the store, so keep your  eyes peeled!


Enjoy the snow!


Origami Fun!

I love paper, you most likely guessed that with all the printing going on. However, I also love love love origami. These little cute kitten origami kittens are the next thing on my list to be made! Thank you to ‘How about Orange’ for their great blog posts and inspirational ideas!


Learning what an Adana 8×5 can do

I was first introduced to letterpress at university, in a fantastic well stocked print facility in H Block of Leeds Met. Sadly, that print room has moved to another building but the memories of my time there are still quite vivid. I tried my hand at almost every type of printing technique but I loved letterpress and etching the most.

In some ways, I wished I had spent more time familiarising myself with the whole letterpress process but I was seduced by digital font programs and the lure of Adobe’s Creative suite.

It was only as I left at the end of my BA and started my MA, that I bought a press and all the lovely things that are involved with typesetting, did I realise I needed to overhaul my knowledge.

I have retained a fair bit of that time but I also started to read extensively on the practice of printing. I searched for forums, articles and books that gave advice both practical and theoretical as to the best way to print with an Adana 8×5.

There is a lot of information available and everyone has an opinion on how you ‘should’ do it rather than what you ‘could’ be doing. I don’t mind confessing that I’ve learnt to set the type and ‘dress’ the forme (Imposition) in my own way, with a sprinkling of tradition thrown in for good measure. I also found that printing on various presses is a whole new learning experience that you must not assume will work across the board. Though the basic principles still apply.

For awhile I have struggled to get the Adana to print clearly and evenly, even though I’ve packed out the tympan and used a blanket to try to create a good print of type I’ve set. Images from plates have always printed well, it was just the type that proved tricky. Today I had a breakthrough, as I changed how much packing (tympan) I used by squashing a kitchen roll to make it flat and used masking tape to bind two boards around together, to create a sandwich. Then by adjusting the platen and using my new tympan, I was able to print a very clean and clear type impression.

This might not be a massive achievement but today has made all those previous failed attempts fade away and I feel quite proud for persevering and finally getting a result. I have posted images here, so check them out!

I’ve included some links to sites that I found incredibly helpful so I’m putting them here just in case anyone else needs help.

Green Dolphin Press

Introduction to Letterpress

Happy Dragon Press

The space in between


So according to statistical data this is around the time of the month when it’s all doom and gloom and we’re all a bit fed up. I can empathise with that feeling to a degree so I decided that I wasn’t going to wallow in melancholy and I needed to find something interesting to do.

For a while, I’ve toyed with the idea of taking letterpress classes to refresh what I learnt at university and also to fine tune skills I’ve learnt with my own experimenting. When I first bought the Adana I struggled at getting an even impression, I even thought I had bought a dodgy press. However, after much research (thank you Briar Press!) and a conversation with Phylicia from Phlights of Phancy.  I came to realise that the Adana is a great press but you are limited to an uneven impression using wood blocks and that it works best at small sizes.

That doesn’t mean to say I’m put off using my press but I do a lot of plate printing and I wanted to get it right. So after a google and bookmark check, I found Hotbed press in Salford offer courses for a range of printing. Unfortunately, I can not make it to their next set of classes (and they’re fully booked!) But I am going to try my best to get around to any future ones, as well as checking out bookbinding courses at Shepherd’s/Faulkiner’s fine paper suppliers.

In other studio news, the launch of the store has been immensely successful, to which I am utterly overwhelmed by the support that people have given. I’ve also set up a Facebook advert page (which was a huge learning curve in itself!) and this goes live tonight at 7pm GMT. I feel right now, so many exciting things are happening that I haven’t the time to be melancholic. I never really thought the studio would come along this far but I’m really enjoying the experience. Maybe the solution to driving away the January blues is to throw yourself into something creative, make yourself feel like you’ve achieved something and enjoy the frosty weather?

Happy New Year! A new Store and blog!

Hello and Happy New Year!

I hope you had a good holidays and Father Christmas brought you lots of lovely things, time spent with friends and family was wonderful and you’re still ongoing with the New Year resolutions! I was very lucky and received lots of new letterpress, paper and gorgeous stationery. Also some vouchers for Hobbycraft and a local craft shop. So I felt very spoilt and also incredibly excited to get back to the studio.

I closed the studio the week before Christmas and though my intention was to reopen on the 3rd of January, the dreaded sickness bug appeared and so our house was stricken. So I lost last week making and doing, which was quite frustrating but also a blessing as it meant I finally got around to sorting out my online store.

Having never created a store I found it quite overwhelming with the choices of templates available. I use a wordpress template for the blog but we ended up settling on Big Cartel as a store front system. It is more design centric and the community is based around creative sellers too. My only requisite was that it was user friendly and the backend was straight forward and didn’t involve any programming. I also thought it was time to overhaul the blog look as well and so the past week has been a frenzy of tweaking, font sampling and photograph taking.

I’ve included a variety of stationery on the online store that I print and usually sell at craft fairs, with the exception of the Valentines cards, which are new for me altogether. I very much love the idea of printing onto paper and sending notelets to people and though I love cards, the notelets are a nostalgic throwback to my childhood. I also like the size of them too.

So we’re here, the store is ready to go live and you can access it from the menu on the left. As an introductory offer, there is 10% off of the store on all items for 1 week only. Just enter the code OPENINGOFFER when promted.Also keep checking back as I’ll be updating the store weekly to include new products. I tend to change what I’m printing quite quickly so once it’s gone, it’s gone!

Thank you for your support and I hope you enjoy!


A quick catch up

Of course you should not start a post off apologising, however I do feel I need to do so. Having been utterly rushed off of my feet I have so much to say about the past month and a bit.

Since moving into the studio (which to reaffirm I am happy to now call my studio) I haven’t stopped working. I’ve pretty much been there everyday, had an open studio day for a Vintage fair and met a lot of lovely people and asked to do some workshops. Then there are the open days still to come before Christmas.

As much as I love being busy, I do feel I need some time to absorb the amazing experiences that have been happening. I’ve met some fantastic people, who equally love their craft and have been a huge inspiration and completely supportive of my venture. Otley has such a rich history of letterpress and at the fair I met many print engineers who came to check out my press! Suffice to say they gave me plenty of advice and lots of stories!

So, I have been very busy. I’ve been hand printing images that I had made into polymer blocks. A lot of my printing plates/letterpress blocks are very old (some circa.1870), so in order to protect them I had them recast and so the modern versions can be used quite frequently. They print up beautifully too, though the new blocks have to be hand printed rather than in the press. I still set the original blocks but they’ll eventually be used as limited edition print runs, just so I can preserve them from further damage.

Most of the items I have been working on include stationery and Christmas cards, wrapping paper, tags and some smaller prints. I’ve also started experimenting with writing paper and printed envelopes, which sold out at the last open day!

So that leads into the open day. I wanted to open up the studio and sell some of my work but also get people to look around. The Vintage fair was a roaring success and I was overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the people who visited. Quite a few folk wanted to be taught how to print and bookbind, so in the new year I am planning on putting together small groups for those who want to learn the basics of printing. if you are interested, drop me an email at: doyoupunctuate @ the spaces from the ‘@’)

I’ve also agreed to have two more open studio days before Christmas, the first is this Sunday, 27th November from 9.30am until 1.30pm. It’s a shorter time than before but coincides with the farmer’s market too. So if you happen to be near by, come and drop by for a cuppa! I’m at the Courthouse in Otley and the farmer’s market is in the main square.

Once Christmas is out of the way, I’m going to spend some time just experimenting like I used too. I love winter, I love drawing inspiration from silhouetted trees and frosty shapes and so I plan on concentrating or hibernating out ideas! I’m also starting to think of Valentines but also celebrations like Burn’s Night. Robert Burns wrote some beautiful Scottish poetry that could be interpreted into a card.

Finally, I am in the midst of putting together a shop, as usual with these things I’m having to consider the drawbacks of online shopping versus real life. Especially as my work is so tactile, it is hard I guess, to convey the quality of paper and print in an image. However, I shall endeavour to overcome issues like PayPal, web templates and postage. If you feel you have any bug bears about online shopping, please feel free to let me know. I have a list a mile long but it’s always great to get other insights into these things.

Anyway, apologies for the tardiness of this post and thank you always.

The Studio

So I have a new studio (excited giggle) and I have been documenting the process of making what was an artist’s paint studio, into a letterpress workshop. Strangely I’m not entirely comfortable calling it a workshop or a studio, instead I’ve taken to calling it ‘the room’. I suppose as I start to settle I will find something I’m comfortable to call it but for now it’s my place that I can work from.

I was very fortunate to acquire this room, and the journey to arrive at it has been a long one. I had initially started by looking at Wharfebank in Otley but was put off at the escalating price and the realisation that I was going to be extremely limited in how I could use what was essentially an office room. Anyway, I contacted The Courthouse Arts and resource centre and after some emails, telephone conversations and a look around, I fell in love and moved in last Wednesday.

I can’t describe the sheer excitement at finally having a space where I can be freely creative, answerable to no one (within reason) and have all of my press equipment out and in use. So from what started as a germ of an idea six months ago, is finally a reality and I am utterly ecstatic about it all.

The room has a wonderful vibe to it and further still, my grandad was a police sergent at The Courthouse, before it was converted into an arts centre. So I feel that this is meant to be and I really am chomping at the bit to get going.

I’ve been taking photos of making the room mine, I’ve sourced furniture from ebay and charity shops and managed to get an almost functioning workshop set up within a few days. That also includes the installation of broadband! I’ve met my lovely neighbour called Jackie, who is an illustrator and she is utterly fascinated by the work I do. In turn, Jackie makes some beautiful pictures and she has suggested we have an open studio day. I think this adventure was meant to be…