Monday, December 10, 2012

The Card - 2012 edition

My husband B has been incredibly busy. A regular stencil-cutting, colour-mixing, screen-pulling elf.  Every year he and my SIL continue the tradition started by their father in 1947. YES, 1947!  I've mentioned here before that my late father in law was a graphic designer (he first trained as an architect, but then pursued his love of cartooning and graphic design to become a talented artist and later, an instructor at the Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Vancouver).  Carrying on the family tradition is important to them and even though B is crazy busy at work, this one artistic outlet per year is not to be missed.  Sometimes he comes up with a concept and drawing on his own, sometimes we collaborate.  This year, we chose one of my photos from our family trip to France last March; the carousel at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

La Tour Eiffel Carousel

We started with the idea of a pop-art treatment, and with a lot of Photoshop work on the iPad, B flipped the picture, removed la Tour Eiffel and simplified colours.

carousel PStouch

All of the different colours have to be hand cut on separate stencils. A bit more work was required to simplify the shapes and reduce the colours to 6 (this is a LOT). With 150 cards printed, that means 900 passes of the squeegie. It also means sore forearms!

Silk Screening Christmas 2012

Silk Screening Christmas card 2012

I don't have photos of every colour application since I was running a retreat all day Saturday when the first four colour runs were completed.  To give you an idea, here are some examples of trial prints that B uses to get the colour registration correct (these are printed on copy paper, before the good cards are printed), below.

Silk Screening Christmas card 2012

While printing happens on our dining room table, cards are laid out all over every horizontal surface in the living room to dry between each colour run: the fireplace benches, the coffee table, a piece of cardboard propped across the arm chair and even some ironing boards.

Silk Screening Christmas 2012

All of the colours are custom mixed using a colour wheel for reference.  IKEA drinking cups and chop sticks come in very handy.

Silk Screening Christmas 2012

Silk Screening Christmas 2012

Lots of checking, remixing and re-checking.

Silk Screening Christmas 2012

It's a process, that's for sure. I mostly watch and stack cards to dry while B does all the hard work. It's very physical - a lot of downward pressure is required to push the paint through the tiny stencil holes and the silk screens. I simply don't have the hand strength required to print well.

Silk Screening Christmas 2012
Here's the final screen being masked off with tracing paper - this prevents paint from going through the silk that surrounds the stencil.

Silk Screening Christmas card 2012
Lining up the card against paper registration tabs

I hope you enjoyed this little photo essay of our annual Christmas card screening. I just love sending these hand made works of art all over the world each year. We typically mail out about 90 cards, but we receive less and less every year. This is a major bummer. I love receiving cards and hope that people don't stop sending them. Staying in touch with real-life handwriting, even if it is only once a year, is so important I think.  We have a plate rail around our entire living room where we display our cards and visitors love to look at them and always remark at how many we receive (you've got to send to receive, people!).

So, how about you - will you be sending cards this year?  

41 comments:

Leslie said...

I am in awe of your beautiful cards. Long may you tradition endure.

dutchcomfort said...

Ohhh, this is a trip down memory lane. I loved to make silk screen prints! Love your Christmas card making tradition.
Does your husband make the screens himself?

I used to make our own Christmas cards untill a few years ago as it’s a lot of work. Lasy year I was surpirsed to see people starting to send wishes via email or text messages, which is a shame really.



Brenda said...

lovely! thanks for sharing this. I haven't decided on cards. I often send a family photo, but I haven't done anything about that this year yet.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Wow! I'm skipping cards this year, and all I do is sign and address them, with the occasional note added in. I only get cards out about every other year. I don't get any help from my guys. That makes a difference.

Dianne said...

I so love getting your Christmas Card! I have them saved and look forward to adding this lovely piece of art to my collection. Better get a card in the mail so I am a giver as well as a receiver!!!

Adrianne said...

Wow, this is an awesome tradition! This year's card is amazing! It's seriously a small piece of art. It sounds like a huge effort, but totally worthwhile. I'm sure that the recipients really appreciate the cards! Thanks so much for sharing.

Jo Ann said...

Your family is uber talented! Fabulous job on the cards!

Nicola said...

Oooh can I be on your Christmas Card list ;) Just finished crafting a more ambitious than I expected prop for this year's Christmas Card. Now just have to get four kids to pose with it! If I feel like it's too much work, I'll come back and look at this post!! What a lot of work, but so worth it to produce such a gorgeous artwork. I hope you receive lots of cards in return. Joyeux Noël from Paris!

Flying Blind... said...

Loving the commitment! Writing cards, actually the envelopes is one of my worst bits of Christmas, because i end up in a panic to get them done, and true to form, they are not done yet!

harmony and rosie said...

That is quite a tradition, I imagine you have a wonderful time looking back through the years. This year's card is wonderful! As for sending cards, I think we shall have to do it the virtual way this time (first time), our recent move means we are all higgledy piggledy with everything, let alone Christmas. We've moved to your neck of the woods, by the way :)
Kate

Lisa said...

Tears to my eyes gorgeous. This is the most lovely family tradition - thanks so much for sharing.

felicity said...

How beautiful!! (First 2 photos don't appear - say they're "currently unavailable")

Allison said...

wow, thanks for the look at your Christmas card tradition! I am woefully behind on sending out Christmas cards, but I'm still hoping to get them mailed. I agree, it is so nice to recieve them in the mail!

Leanne said...

Your first two pictures are not showing. I would love to see how this process works, it looks so cool. Such lovely cards. We don't send them anymore, too many years last minute work got in the way and so now I have just resigned myself to this fact. I go to the food bank to donate money as penance instead.

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

Absolutely fabulous! I hope you have each years addition framed and hanging up in your house! We did a little photo shoot over Thanksgiving with the boys posing on one of Grandpas old trucks so will be sending out shortly!

Tamie said...

These are beautiful. I would love to have learned how to screen print. I think I'm better off staying with fabric.

Rebecca Jane said...

I love getting snail mail. Your cards look beautiful! I continue the tradition of sending cards to those I don't see on a regular basis. I don't want that tradition to ever end.

Sandi said...

They look fabulous! What a wonderful family traditon. I bet D & T's incredible talent will carry it on.
Sandi

Patchwork and Play said...

I do like to send Christmas cards, just not as many as previous years! Yours are a work of art'!

The Pied Pedlar said...

I love your cards, what a good idea.My daughter is a paper crafter so I use her cards.My cards to Vancouver have to go off in October but this year 2 arrived one week after posting ( a bit early)
Tricia

Joy said...

Such beautiful cards!

I, too, make my own cards, but not from scratch as your husband does. I use a greeting card program and my own photography. Sometimes I will alter a card in the program by adding our own faces in place of the faces in the cards. I haven't bought a birthday, anniversary or Christmas card in 8 years. They are so fun to make. I embellish the envelopes too. My overseas cards have been mailed and I'm sending the local cards today.

Kristie said...

Wow! What a cool tradition! Love these cards. yes, I love receiving them, too, and usually send them (though not this year....).

Rene' said...

Krista, I am super impressed!!!!! I love the tradition of sending holiday cards each year, and the time and thought that your family puts into your Christmas cards each year is admirable. I save every card our family receives every year, so I have quite a collection. I do send cards out each year, and last year I started the tradition of sending a different quilt themed card to my quilting friends. This time, however, I will send out New Year cards as our entire family will not be together until a few days after Christmas for the annual family photo ;-) I would love to have your mailing address to send you a card (or do I have it already?...hmm..need to check) ;-)))

Elsa said...

I love sending cards too ~ send me your address and I'll send you one! So impressed by your husband's creativity!

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

This process looks like so much fun although I have no problem seeing that it takes a lot of time. Thanks for sharing the process!
I finished making my little quilted cards yesterday, but won't get around to actually writing them for a few days. Each year I am worried I won't find time to make cards, but most years I somehow do anyway. It is one of my favourite Christmas preparations.

Brenda said...

Krista this looks awesome! I have a very old photo of the Eiffel Tower my Aunt took ?50s, with not so much in or around it. Very different look.

I send out Christmas cards, less and less each year sadly. I've found since my Parents passing and also many of their age-group...there are less people to connect to.
Many people seem to think an on-line "Happy Christmas" carries the same sort of feelings, sense of care? Not sure what word I'm looking for.
Christmas stamps used to cost less, once upon a million years ago and I think that encouraged more sending as well.

Cheers from Oshawa Ontario

Katy Cameron said...

These look fab, and what a wonderful 65 year tradition!

rubyslipperz said...

Way Awesome! The cards are sooo fun!. Lucky are the people who get one in the mail! =)

I'm doing cards to just our own kids and their children...maybe one or two to some friends. I'm making my cards...but, yeah...simplified are my cards (and that's an understatement!) compared to yours. =D

hugZ,
annie

Lysa said...

Gorgeous! We used to make all our own x-ams cards but sadly have fallen out of the tradition. Seeing this makes me want to jump back up on that wagon!

happysewlucky said...

So glad I popped in the other day and go tho see part of the process in person. It's a wonderful tradition. And Bryan does and amazing job of it. Awesome all around!

traceyjay said...

so neat!
your family is so cool Krista.

Cynthia F said...

Wow that is awesome!! I can so appreciate all the work that goes into silkscreening, it's a huge process. Awesome cards, the recipients must be thrilled to get them!

I sent out my cards last week, I usually make them, or at least design & have them printed, but this year ran out of time and went store-bought- gasp! But they got out.

Happy Christmas to you & yours!

Katie B. said...

This is an awesome tradition! Gorgeous cards. I haven't sent mine yet, but I'm sending them! (Just need stamps!) But I agree--I have received very few.

Andrea C said...

This year's card is beautiful Krista! And what a fantastic family tradition.

bulabean said...

Incredible! I did a few silkscreen projects in Art class way back in high school, my most complicated one being about 12 colors. It is such a finicky long process. I can appreciate the hard work that your family put into these cards!

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

A. maze. ing. I knew screen printing took work but I wasn't aware of how much. This is incredible. But boy the finished product is gorgeous (I still have last year's, which you sent with my embroidery book, up on my pin board).
I guess if B makes them that means you get stuck with writing in all 90 of them? Can he screen print a message too ;)

Christelle said...

I love the picture of the caroussel!
I used to quilt, paint, embroid but now we became lazy and use an email.... :(
Joyeux Noel!

Live a Colorful Life said...

I am completely in awe of your cards. They are stunningfly beautiful. Having never done any screen printing myself, the process seems very mysterious to me. I'm glad you wrote and documented this process. B should be very proud of this year's card.

I love receiving cards too. We usually send them out every other year. I like to send one with a photograph of the two of us. Not a single good picture of the two of us this year. I guess we should have posed for one. My all-time favorite was about eight years ago when we were in Minnesota, turned off on a random road to see where it would take us, and found four charming little wooden cabins, with side by side attached outhouses. There was a little porch with a pot of flowers. So we opened both doors, sat on top of the toilet lid and took a picture. Then sent it out with the caption "from our house to yours." Loved that card...

Barbara B said...

I am very impressed. What a tradition

Kristie said...

These are even cooler in person, by the way :) Thanks so much for sending one to me! Merry Christmas!

Michelle Palmer said...

Stunning! Fantastic! LOVE that you make and send cards~ We sent 120 this year. I think more people are starting to send them again... do hope the tradition grows~ like you, I love to receive them.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!