Monday, September 3, 2018

The Casual Naturalist: The artist's books of Rebecca Chamlee

The Casual Naturalist: The artist's books of Rebecca Chamlee

July 6, 2018­ – September 28, 2018

opening reception: Saturday, July 14, 2018, 2:00 – 4:30 pm

artist talks: July 14, 2018, 3:00 pm and Sept. 8, 2018, 2:00 pm

LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden Library

Rebecca Chamlee’s work examines the intersection of her artistic and scientific interests by collecting and cataloging the natural world around her. She is motivated to record, interpret and celebrate nature.

The exhibition will include letterpress printed, hand-bound artist’s book editions and detailed letterpress prints of native plant and animal specimens. In addition, process materials such as project journals, printing tests, book binding dummies and research notes will be on display alongside the final work.

Arboretum Library
LA County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens
301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia CA 91007

626.821.3213 |

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Steamroller and lasers

Otis College of Art and Design had our semi-annual Steamroller Printmaking Festival yesterday. My Intro to Letterpress students carved figures out of MDF that will become an exquisite corpse.

Our Technical Services Department hosted the event and offered free wood, carving workshops and the use of carving tools. They also offered laser printing and the CNC router as an alternative to carving images. It made for a broad variety of approaches in making relief plates for printing.

I opted to go with laser to see how some of my oak tree images would look. I made them as big as would print in my Vandercook Universal III, 18 x 24 inches. The prints I made on the letterpress are much more refined that the one printed by the steamroller. Imagine that!

The steamroller ready for action

My laser cut oak tree block

Cut with the CNC router

Laser cut image by Josue

Muslin was very popular to print on during the steamroller festival. 
It has the advantage that it doesn't rip.

My Intro to Letterpress class figure prints. 
We lined them all up and printed them on one long sheet of paper. 

The tree plate in the Vandercook

A pretty nice print.

Friday, February 9, 2018

New prints

With a new book comes new prints. The process I've been developing over the last ten years to reproduce letterpress printed continuous tone prints of flora and fauna has been perfected further for the new book. The images were captured during my walks through the local woodlands near my house. Sometimes it's a good idea to look down.

One-of-a-kind books

I've been testing various ways of contacting printing leaves on paper for my upcoming artist's book. It's been a delight to make one-of-a-kind books with all my tests. Since my projects typically take a couple of years to complete, the spontaneous making of these books has been nothing but fun. And they make great gifts!

The cover for my upcoming book

I discovered the delights of contact steamed printing with leaves and other plant materials when I took a workshop with Leslie Marsh this fall through the San Diego Book Arts group.

I took this workshop specifically to learn Leslie's methods to compliment my burgeoning interest in nature printing. Although I have been making letterpress prints for some time of botanical specimens I wanted to print directly from plant material.

The new book I'm working on is about a particular ancient Valley oak tree I visit on my daily walks on the trails near my home in Simi Valley, CA. There is a companion volume planned about other similar trees in the surrounding area.

I collected fallen leaves to print the cover and some interior pages using a process sometimes called "eco-printing" which is commonly done on protein-based fabric. I was interested in using cellulose fiber (paper) for my project.

fallen leaves  

The leaves are soaked in water 

 the leaves are placed damp paper and rolled on pipe and tied

I use an electric turkey roaster to cook the bundles

finished prints are hung on a line in my backyard

the results 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“Common Objects of the Seashore” prints

Letterpress specimen images of California native sea life, photographed in the tide pools of Cabrillo Beach, California. The suite of prints accompanies the deluxe edition of "At Low Water". Printed four-color in tight registration with photo polymer plates. 

9 x 12 inches, printed on 250 gsm Canson Edition paper.

$75.00 each. 

"Common Object of the Sea Shore", set of all eight prints enclosed in a handmade Cave paper chamise $400.00.

New Deluxe copies of “at low water” available

A limited number of numbered books with vellum spines; “Common Objects of the Seashore”, the suite of eight prints in a handmade Cave paper chemise, and a Neobernaya spadicea shell enclosed in a hinged box are now available. 64 pages, Book 5 x 8 x 1 inches, box 9.25 x 12.25 x 2 inches. $1200.00