J visited the studio last month. J has the distinction of being the press’s first ‘Pen Friend’ and has supported the studio and suffered my (builders) tea for the past four years. While he was here, I was able to show him my new hand bound sketchbooks and with their unique screen printed covers. These new sketchbooks combine two of the things I love the most about the Penfold Press, collaboration with like-minded people and a sense of fun. Having the opportunity to work alongside fellow artisans to produce objects of interest always brings a sense of enjoyment and excitement to the studio. Looking back, the Penfold patterned papers that have proved so popular started life as just that, something that Mark Hearld and I could make that was direct, unfussy and above all fun to print. My new sketchpads hopefully carry this on, bringing together as they do this sense of fun and the opportunity to work with someone new. Handbound at the Papercut Bindery by Roger Grech, the new Penfold Press sketchbooks have a unique screen printed cover and are each designated an individual number. Alongside this number are the details of the elements contained within its random design, in the example above the more eagle-eyed amongst you might be able to glimpse 'I is for Ice Cream' by Emily Sutton and 'Feste Dog' by Mark Hearld. When beginning a new print, I usually keep a small selection of paper near to hand to proof colour and test the screens. These sheets are handy for maintaining an even flow of ink after cleaning and over time, as they build layer upon random layer, they begin to take on a life of their own. I’m always drawn to these sheets and often show them to the artists as they point to some unexpected use of colour or juxtaposition of an image. Used now to provide decoration for these lovely sketchbooks I’m glad to be able to share them with you for the first time.These books bring together the most beautiful craftsmanship and bookbinding tradition with the carefree, random abstraction of their screen printed covers. They will be available through the website towards the end of July; I hope you enjoy them.
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