Fern Prints

These prints were made with  heavy unsized paper, to which i applied a gelatin size, using the fern leaf for a stencil and then dyed the paper using green tea with various mordants. I later printed the fern leaves using a home made ink made of asphaltum, balsam and flaxseed oil. I really enjoy the stencil/overlay look to these, they remind me of fossils,  which goes well with the whole carboniferous asphaltum idea.

fern5_opt fern4_opt

These, perhaps, i am looking for a more eastern look, the print on the left, entitled fern5, is printed on some nice silky gampi paper, and the flaxseed oil has bled around the edges, staining the paper. I glued the gampi to a heavier stock with the jin shofu — wheat paste — i made myself from flour and water. The process, part of the printmaking technique called chine colle, is simple, you take some white flour and make a dough with water, keep adding water until the dough is submerged and keep kneading it. The starch separates out into the water and the wheat gluten, or what is left, stringifies and lumpifies into a glutenous blob. You let the starch settle, pour off the water, let it dry, and then make your paste by adding water and applying gentle heat, stirring constantly until the mix turns clear. I strain it thru some silk and apply with a brush.

wheat gluten

Yummy gluten!

Supposedly this is the same gluten that you can buy in the fancy health food stores and shi-shi new age restaurants. I didn’t try it.

Perhaps the next time i will document more than just the gummy lump of gluten.

There is a pretty good book describing the whole chine colle process, Chine Colle: A Printer’s Handbook. Shure, Brian (2000). San Francisco; Crown Point Press ISBN 978-1-891300-15-8

I got it out from the NY Public Library.


Finishing up a spoon, to get ready for some new work this spring.This is the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) i harvested up on 48th street after Hurricane Sandy. It is nice wood, hard and smooth and darkening nicely. I have a few chunks left, enough for four large spoons perhaps.

Here is a spoon made from some sweet cherry i found on Fire Island last year, There is alot of sapwood on this piece, and i decided not to fight but to develop the sweep of the handle,and accentuate the curve of that grain.


Self-knowledge does not mean preoccupation with ones own thoughts; rather, it means concern about the effects one creates. It is only the effects our lives produce that let us know whether what we have done means progress or regression.

— from the I Ching, hexagram Kuan # 20


I was so surprised when this orchid bloomed again a few months ago, it really was on the brink, having not been watered for many months, probably over half a year.

I cut it back, taking off the old flower stem, following some instructions i found on the internet, and put it in my daughters room, which is mostly north facing. I only watered it once, maybe twice a month and was rewarded just around the new year with some new buds.

I have been using it as a drawing model when the weather is inclement.