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You might not think of the printmaking process as action-filled or dicey or even as daring. Might I try my hand at persuading you to think differently?

Printmaking routinely hits these emotions:

  • Fear
  • Pride
  • Joy
  • Courage
  • The Agony of Defeat
  • Physical danger.

Yeah, that last one isn’t really an emotion, but working with sharp instruments while drinking brandy and egg nog is a little nerve wracking when you think about it.

First, there’s the terrifying prospect of a blank sheet of paper in front of you. What will you do? Self-doubt and panic set in quickly. And they take hold of your soul and squeeze it!

Sweat starts to bead on your forehead.

But, wait’ll you experience that moment of overwhelm when — and if — you sketch out a good design. Your thought of “Wow! Good design!” is immediately followed by “How am I ever going to fit all that into a Christmas card?”


Now you’re carving the block. Careful, there, Artist! Those are very sharp blades you’re flinging around. One false move and you’ll be wishing you were wearing those chain mail gloves you saw at the Renaissance Fair last weekend.

Now it’s time for the Moment of Awe that is a unique joy for printmakers. It happens every time you ink the block, press the paper on it, and peel back the first print. It’s a mixture of elation, pride, and whatever that feeling is called that describes being on top of the world.

…followed immediately by dejection, disillusionment and despair because the colors are not registered properly or there’s a smudge mark you accidentally made in the print or you find the ink was unevenly distributed over the image thereby causing a bald spot that cannot be ignored. Et cetera, as they say in Hell.

Here are a few action shots of this year’s Christmas card in process.

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