It’s easy to dread the ‘onslaught’ of Christmas. I feel a lot of sympathy for those who find the emotional, financial and social pressures are too much, or who feel that it’s a highly commercial and uninspiring holiday. I have experienced years that didn’t feel so magical, and felt that exacerbated sense of disconnection from overly jolly surroundings.
However, I have made my peace with Christmas, a time of year that I now look forward to and love more than ever before, through creativity. Christmas, in our house, is an excuse for a multitude of new projects, ridiculous videos of our annual family ‘Christmas message’ and making a huge mess with glue guns and foraged resources.
Earlier this year, Dom & I had indulged in a couple of new craft resources, one of which was a lino-cutting kit and one a small (but still rather hefty!) Adana letterpress – which we managed to bundle into a Smart car. These were rather ambitious purchases, and although we had sorted letters, tried some cutting, attempted some business cards & an unfinished birthday lino cut between us during the year, no fully fledged result had yet come to fruition.
So last week I decided that with a very busy run up to Christmas with work which hadn’t left much time for crafting so far, we needed a big messy creative Sunday. The challenge was… what we started on Sunday we needed to finish on Sunday! The first few hours of the day were spent doodling, cutting, arranging letters, spacing out tiles, gluing to blocks, and cutting paper to size. It’s all in the preparation with this one. Then, finally, we could take ink to the letterpress – once we had agreed on a colour. This part was Dom’s domain – I had never seen an Adana at work before, and the mechanism is fascinating, albeit quite noisy for anyone directly downstairs! We settled on a frosty blue for my Christmassy hedgehog picture, and black for Dom’s “Have a Prickletastic Christmas” message, and we had quite a production line of Christmas cards going which we hung up to dry around the room afterwards. We only made a few due to limited paper supplies, but once it’s all set up it wouldn’t take much more to print hundreds! A challenge for next year, for sure. And for the first time ever, I actually wrote and posted Christmas cards to friends before the last post date! What a fun part of being a grown-up!
We’re very lucky in Chipping Campden to have an exciting new letterpress stationery shop in town called CherryPress, stocked to the ceiling with handmade items. An absolute must for handmade Christmas presents… go and say hello!