Thanks very much, everyone, for all your printing tips and suggestions! I’ve ordered the books Kirsty recommended, as a sort of modern supplement to my Dryad Handicrafts Leaflets, which I immersed myself in again last night. Any of you who have encountered the Dryad leaflets will know that there is a particular joy in reading them, which comes from the way their authors combine a seriousness of approach with a genuine pleasure in their craft. The prose is also just wonderful. Last night I particularly enjoyed the account of potato printing in leaflet no. 57 which begins: “Select a crisp and closely grained potato . . .” and concludes: “the slight irregularities which come from the softer nature of the potato are by no means unpleasant.” But my favourite read was leaflet no.146, “Wood Engraving,” written by the aptly-named Douglas P Bliss. Here is a man who quite simply adores wood engraving, and wants the beginner-engraver to adore it too. He waxes lyrical about the history and practice of engraving, and the “quite remarkable pleasure of working with well-ground tools and a fine box-wood block.” He is also keen to assure the reader of his craft’s ease and portability: “You can put all your tackle into a small box, clear off to the country, if you so desire, and get on with your engraving snugly there. This writer has engraved blocks in the public room of a hotel in the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.” How can you argue with a man who takes his craft down the pub? Seriously, I HEART Douglas P. Bliss.

Another great thing about the Dryad leaflets, as Jeanette pointed out yesterday, is their suggestions for simple pattern repeats for the novice block cutter and printer. Their designs are all bold lines and primary colours and are very pleasing indeed. Heres another one

and . . .

oops, how did that ram get in there?

more printing experiments next weekend, I hope.

4 thoughts on “instructional

    1. this is fascinating – thank you. Really interested to hear about your cataloguing work, and the donation. I have a recollection of an index of all the leaflets in one of the bound volumes I have – let me have a look for you.

      Best wishes!


  1. o my! a whole new world. I have just found one called ‘rag bag toys’ and another called ‘felt creatures’ on ebay, and I asked my Dad about it and they had the whole collection when he was a child and he remembers learning to weave from a dryad leaflet on a dryad loom. thanks again for constant inspiration.


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