Monday, April 21, 2008

Year of the Rat

It is a bit past the traditional February date of the Chinese New Year, but due to the rat race in my habitat I just didn't get around to doing my New Year's cards until last week. I guess I needed surgery and a recovery period aka, enforced down time, for me to settle in one place long enough to get them done. All has gone well in all departments.
So many possibilities for a rat card - I couldn't seem to land on one that I was happy with. I had them packing bags (pack rat), racing little cars (rat race), hopping about (kangaroo rat). But, since this is the year of the Summer Olympics I decided to go with Marathon Rat in the end. He is a relief Solar Plate printed on Graphic Chemical Heavyweight paper, using GC's 514c Bone Black etching ink modified with GC Gelled Medium, and hand colored. Each evening after printing the plate was cleaned well with baby oil and the printing area cleaned with rubbing alcohol and window cleaner. Hands are cleaned with that old favorite, Lava Soap. Since Solar Plates are light sensitive polymer coated steel plates, and are developed in plain old ordinary tap water, it all makes for a pretty much non-toxic environment. Fumes from developing the solarplates are largely negated by developing under running tap water. Still, it is a good idea to wear gloves, just in case.
The reverse of the card was put through an ink jet printer with a short explanation of the character traits of those born in the Year of the Rat. Basically, they are charming, charismatic, practical and hardworking. They are endowed with leadership skills and are highly motivated, organized, meticulous and demand control of all situations. It is that "charismatic" trait you have to be really wary of as they will convince you to join them in that Marathon before you know what hit you. However, if you are prone to betting on such things, Rat people make for a sure bet in such situations as they cannot stand to look at the backside of a person in front of them, hence they are sure winners.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Drying Systems

A few days ago David Harrison wrote about his drying system for prints on his blog, and a handsome system it is, too! You can see it at I told him that I had put up a very economical drying systems for my blotters, which could be used to dry prints, too. I don't use it for prints because I always print on damp paper and the prints need to be between blotters. As a result I have a number of well worn blotters that need to be dry before being put back into storage for the next time. The system I'm using I bought at IKEA for around $20, maybe a little less. It was a cinch to install and works beautifully. Its original purpose is to hang drapery/curtain panels, but it works very nicely for this, too. The installation is 16 feet and it comes with mini clothes pins. The pins have a loop allowing you to clip the article and then attach it to the cable - an advantage when using it for larger items.