Antique Print Collection by Thornton

Dr. Robert John Thornton (1768–1837) was an English medical doctor with a love for botany. He was a member of the University of Cambridge, and the Royal London College of Physicians.

Thornton is best known for the his dramatic large folio plates of The Temple of Flora published in 1799. Complete volumes and even individual prints of The Temple of Flora are rare and found in the rare book rooms of museums and institutions. Although considered a masterpiece now, it was not successful at the time of publication and was never completed.

Elements of Botany was published in 1812 two volumes just after The Temple of Flora. Many of the prints of Elements of Botany are like studies for the larger prints in The Temple of Flora.

The prints, or plates, are made by a form of printing called copper plate engraving. This is a time-consuming detailed printing process which creates a print with rich fine lines. Historically this process has been used by important artists such as Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens.

Some prints are hand-colored, while others are left un-colored.

Website Name Change

Today I officially changed the name and logo of this website from Made by Kim to Summer Weeds.

For awhile I've been collecting and selling antique nature inspired artwork from 18th and 19th centuries. Mostly antique engraving and lithographs, these prints have inspired my original artworks for years. 

You can find this website under madebykim.com as well as the new website summerweeds.com. 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Botanical Illustration - Science and Art

From Anne Pratt's "Flowering Plants of Great Britain" Plate 2 "Traveller's Joy, or Clématis, etc....".

"This beautiful shrub, with its dark-green foliage, and its numerous blossoms of greenish-white hue, is very common in the hedges in those counties where chalk or limestone abounds. Gerarde well named it the Traveller's Joy, for it may be seen far away, decking the hedges, in May and June, with its blossoms, and holding itself to the stronger plants near it by the twisting leaf-stalks which serve as tendrils..."

APratt_002.jpg

Botanical Art Panels

Bring nature directly into your home with these botanical art panels. Whether you hang a grouping of two or six on the wall, or one on a shelf, these limited edition artworks will fill your home with delight and optimism.

Backyard Sprouts

- 5x5 inch botanical art panel - $40

Each artwork is hand-drawn directly from nature, and reveals the elegant details that make each plant unique by the use of silhouettes. These five by five inch botanical art panels are also unique because each image is limited to 100 hand-signed, numbered and titled prints. 

Outdoor Beauty

- Set of 4 botanical art 5x5 inch panels - $152

Priced affordably, and with over 30 images to choose from, these botanical gems are perfect for gift giving and home decorating.

Summer Life

- Set of 3 botanical art 5x5 inch panels - $114

Color and detail are superb and quality is at its highest. 

Each panel is 5 inches tall by 5 inches wide by 1-1/2 inches deep. The paper, adhesives, packaging and mount on which the print is adhered are all 100% acid-free and therefore archival. The giclée print and birch cradled panel are made to last more than a lifetime. 

Blue Moon

- 5x5 inch botanical art panel - $40

The paper and birch mount come from sustainable sources. The botanical art panel arrives wrapped an ultra clear archival plastic. All images are limited to 100 signed panels. They are signed, numbered and titled on the back.

Disappearing Panda Fundraiser for WWF

Like most of the world, I've been in love with pandas since I was small enough to be aware of them. My first magazine subscription was National Geographic, which I paid for with my own money and gained most of my knowledge of the outside world. I've only had one quick glance of a panda at the National Zoo in DC. The small window and huge crowds where disappointing and nothing like I long imagined my experience would be like. Since then, pandas live on only in nature documentaries and books for me, and I am content with the fact that I will probably never see one in my lifetime.

I made the painting "Disappearing Panda" many years ago after coming across an old book "The Last Panda" by George B. Schaller.

I had barely remembered owning the book and found a newspaper clip inside about Hsing-Hsing, a panda at the National Zoo. I found this clip just a couple months after visiting the National Zoo.

HsingHsing.jpg

Chicago Sun-Times, April 17, 1997

Hsing-Hsing had been a wild panda before being gifted by China to the National Zoo. He died in 1999 at the age of 28, which at the time was the longest for a panda living in captivity.

World Wildlife Fund Panda Facts

The National Zoo Panda Facts

I've created a print on panel of "Disappearing Panda". Half of all print sales of will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. It can be purchased on Etsy and will be shipped with proof of the $20 donation.

Disappearing Panda - 5x5 print on panel $40

The World Wildlife Fund has been protecting nature for over 50 years. To learn more about them go here

Giclée Prints Part 3: Paper

There are seemingly endless varieties of giclée substrates to print on: watercolor and photo paper, canvas, adhesive paper, fabric, signage material such as vinyl and backlight media. There are many important factors to consider when choosing a substrate.

Not all substrates are equal. Many brands sell similar substrates in various levels of quality and use terms such as "museum quality" or "artist grade". Every type of substrate should provide a specifications sheet. This sheet should list a brief description of the substrate, its applications and proper conditions of use and storage. You should also find a list of the technical specifications. This list may or may not include: weight, thickness, surface finish, whiteness, opacity, OBA content, pH-Value, acid free, water resistance, rag content and/or calcium carbonate buffered.

Paper Weight and Thickness

Paper weight is often confused with paper thickness. In reality, paper weight is density or volume and is measured in grams per square meter (gsm). Paper thickness is measured in thousandths of an inch. 

When choosing a paper consider the weight/thickness for handling purposes. A lighter paper will crimp more easily. On the other hand, check your printer's specifications for the maximum paper weight in order to avoid paper jams and printhead issues.

Paper Finish

Surface finish is a matter of preference and is different with every substrate. Many paper companies sell letter-size sample sheets. This is a good investment.

Optical Brighteners

Optical brightener agents (OBA) make paper look bright white and they can be great for punching bright colors, but OBAs can cause premature yellowing. Substrates can have varying amounts of OBAs. If possible, avoid OBAs.

Acid Content

If you want your print to last, choose a paper that is 100% rag. Paper that is 100% rag is made of cotton, opposed to wood pulp, which may have a high concentration of acid.

The substrate you print on should also be acid-free. Your specifications sheet might tell the pH-value, which if neutral, should be between 7 and 9.5. Calcium carbonate is sometimes added during the paper making process to make the paper pH-neutral. It has the added effect of neutralizing other acids in the environment that may cause the paper to become acidic over time.

Printer and Paper Compatibility

You may have found the perfect substrate, but don’t bother using it if it isn't compatible with your printer. It is important to do your research before ever testing the first sheet. Not only is compatibility important for optimal longevity and print quality, but for the life of your printer. If you put a substrate in your machine it isn’t meant to have, you could ruin your printheads and/or spray ink all over the inside of your printer.

Up next, Part 4 Digital Files & Photography.

Part 2: Printer & Ink

Part 1: A Great Giclée

A Swell Holiday Market

This Saturday 5 - 9 pm, Swell Gallery will be open with a variety of crafty goodness. 

A wide variety of handmade items are available from over 20 artists, including myself. Items include jewelry, gift tags, ornaments, traditional artwork, clothing/aprons, fairy houses, teacup plants and bags, not to mention the best soy candles ever made, fantastic mid century vintage items and much more.

"Moments", $85 available at Swell Gallery. Photo by Swell Gallery.

2012 swell Holiday Arts, Crafts & Vintage Market

Click photo for sneak peak of exhibit. Photos by Swell Gallery 

swell Holiday Market 2012

Turn off the Lights for Earth Hour

Do Something Nice Today

I'm not easy to cook for. Many foods give me migraines and most others I choose not to eat because I'm a vegetarian, and on top of all that sometimes I'm just picky. Whenever someone cooks for me, I warn them not to bother, and if they take on the challenge, I am impressed. Our friends Eric and Kara love to cook and invited us for dinner tonight. We're bringing some kind of fancy beer but we bring fancy beer everywhere, so I wanted to really thank them with a little something extra. Flowers are so conventional and easy. They are spending so much time and energy on a special meal, so I made them this little painting and titled after them.

"eric and kara" 4"x4"

While making this collage today, I thought about how lucky I am to have the option to be picky in my food choices, to have leisure time to be creative and have the freedom to write whatever I want on this blog.

Giclée Prints Part 2: Printer and Ink

Giclée is a high-quality archival inkjet print. Printers vary in dot size, and inks vary in longevity. Be careful because even the best printer can be run at a more economical setting resulting in a soft and dull print. The key is to ask a lot of questions if you're buying prints, and provide a lot of information if you're selling prints. 

Ink Type

Inkjet printers use either dye or pigment ink. When giclée printers were first used to make fine art prints, they used dye-based inks that were able to print a small dot size and wide color gamut on uncoated paper. Dyes are absorbed into the paper and are considered archival because in the right conditions they can last 50 years or more. Five years ago some debated that dye based inks were the best. Today the color range in pigments has now surpassed dyes and the added longevity now makes them a far better choice than dyes. Pigments require a coated paper stock that is compatible with the printer. The right combination of paper, printer and inks will produce a print that will last up to 200 years if stored and displayed properly.

In an attempt to save money, some printmakers have switched out the manufacturer’s inks for a third-party’s low-cost cartridge-refilling system, usually sold in bulk amounts. Ink in bulk can get old and clog print heads, affecting printer performance. Some photographers switch out colored inks for black and gray tones, when looking for a true black and white photograph.

Print Permanence Ratings

Wilhelm Imaging Research evaluates print permanence ratings (or longevity) for nearly every printer. Before buying a printer or investing in a print run, check out the testing done by Wilhelm.

Luminous Landscape is also known for comprehensive reviews of printers. More print permanence information is available on the DP & I website.

Dot Size

You've probably heard of DPI (dot per inch), which refers to density, or the amount of dots per inch. DPI can change based on the printer settings. The printer also has an actual dot size that is measured in picoliters (1 picolitre (pl) = 0.000000000001 liter) that cannot be changed. Some printers use variable size ink droplets, meaning that various inks will print with different drop sizes. Smaller dot sizes result in finer detail, smoother gradients and less graininess. Five years ago a 6 pl dot was considered small. Today’s printers have dots as small as 1.5 pl. Some will argue that anything smaller than 3 pl cannot make a difference in print quality.

Printer Settings and Color Profiles

Dot size will mean nothing if the printer is not used to its highest capability. There are various print modes, such as "normal" and "best", in the print dialog box that control the density of ink. Bi-directional printing, another option in the printer dialog, means the printer will lay down ink in both directions. Bi-directional can save time, but in some cases can decrease quality and put extra stress on the printer.

The right color profile in the printer settings is one of the most important things to get right. Printers like the HP Designjet Z3200 allow the user to make and install their own custom profiles. If you don’t have a printer like this you will have to use a spectrometer and other expensive color measurement equipment to make a profile unique to your printer, paper and environment. If this is beyond your means, most paper suppliers provide profiles they have made. Color profiles are complicated and can be hard to understand. Just remember that everything has its own profile and in order to get a good print you need to ensure they all work together - your monitor, Photoshop, the image, the paper and the printer.

You can have the smallest dot size and greatest longevity, but printer and ink are only part of what it takes to make a great print. In Part 3 I will discuss paper and other substrates. 

Giclée Prints Part 1: A Great Giclée

Giclée Prints Part 3: Paper and Other Substrates

Repairing Family Photographs

Light, mold, moisture and non-archival materials can damage family photographs. Light as well as the frame has damaged the photo below. It would take a restoration professional to bring this one back to its original state. Luckily, we have found an 8x10 copy that is in better condition.

Photograph exposed to light and acidity (above)

Although the 8x10 copy was stored in a typical family photo album, it also has signs of deterioration, mostly in terms of a shift in color. Most typical photo albums are not made of acid-free materials and are not intended for long-term storage.

Photograph stored in album before digital restoration

I have decided the only way to truly preserve the family photos is to digitize them. Most need some amount of color correction. The biggest problem is scratches and dust from the original film.

The following instructions will show you how to eliminate scratches and dust as well as some tips on correcting color issues. Good luck.

1.    Color profiles can be complicated but are very important to getting the color correct. Almost all household scanners and point-and-shoot digital cameras will embed the RGB color profile sRGB IEC61966-2.1. If you are only viewing images on the web, this profile is fine, but for print you will want to convert to Adobe RGB1998. Make sure you first assign the sRGB profile to your image if it doesn’t have an embedded profile then convert to RGB1998.

Under Color Setting check all boxes "ask when opening"

2.    Reduce Noise (Filter-Noise). Removes color artifacts made up by scanners and digital cameras, especially in low light situations. I recommend a strength of 6-8. Keep the rest of the levers between 40-60%.

3.    Fix the color using the tools you feel comfortable with. This photo, like many old photos is too red. I will use Selective Color to take red out of red. I will also use Curves to adjust the reds in the Red Channel, as well as adjust the yellow in the Blue Channel. Use your Info Palette to read the color numbers.

4.    Many original old photographs have lots of dust, speckles and scratches. The Dust & Scratches Filter (under Noise) is helpful but to make it more effective first sharpen your file using Sharp Sharpen or Unsharp Mask. The amount will vary based on your image. I recommend turning off the sharpen feature on your scanner and using only Smart Sharpen in Photoshop. In this photograph I used Amount 80%, Radius 1.6, More Accurate, Shadow and Highlight Fade Amount 30%, Tonal Width 50%, Radius 3 pixels.

Before sharpening and dust & scratches

5.    The sharpening enhanced the dust and speckles so that the Dust & Scratches Filter (under Filter/Noise) could find them. In this photograph I use Radius 3 pixels and Threshold 30 levels. Higher radius and lower threshold enhance the effect. I usually stay between 1-3 radius and 20-40 threshold when using this tool.

Detail, after color correction, sharpening dust & scratches

6.    Always save your files to be printed as tiffs. You should think of jpegs as temporary files to transfer images to the web or email.

Final corrected photograph

Life Lace

These original artworks are inspired by texture, shape and color. I am interested in how the natural texture on the ginkgo leaves contrast the hand cut paper and the painted surface. The shapes of the Italian hand cut paper are taken directly from a plant I grew. All eight pieces make up that one plant. These eight artworks were made over many years. This is one of my favorite projects. The colors of the ginkgo leaves are vibrant and contrast with the calming teal blue of the scalloped paper. The textures and shapes of the painted elements and the collage elements are what make these pieces truly unique. The collage contains painting elements, real dried ginkgo leaves and hand cut Italian paper. These original artworks are available for purchase on Etsy.

Simple Beauty's First Bloom

I've issued a new larger print edition. At 20"x20" these are the largest prints I have available. These prints have the look of original paintings. They are printed on a textured watercolor paper with hand-torn deckled edges.The edition size is limited to 50 hand-signed and numbered prints. Available on Etsy.

There are six images in the Lenten Rose series. In this series, I studied every inch of the shape of over a dozen Lenten Rose plants. This flower although called a rose is not a rose at all. It is known to bloom around the time of Lent. Many people view this simple beauty as a symbol of new beginnings.

The Lenten Rose or Helleborus Orientalis may be the first flower of the season in the very early spring. The sepals are extremely long lasting and may persist throughout the summer. These perennials have an evergreen foliage that stands up well to the early spring temperatures.

Lenten Rose No. 2

Lenten Rose No. 4

Lenten Rose No. 5

Lenten Rose No. 1

Lenten Rose No. 3

Lenten Rose No. 6

Book Gift Guide for Nature Types

National parks, meditations on wood, bunnies and birds are just a couple of the subjects covered in these books. I can imagine any nature enthusiast cuddling up this winter with a good book and thoughts of getting outside soon.

National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways by National Geographic Society

For those who enjoy time in the car and taking the long way, there are 275 drives to tackle in this book. We've enjoyed making notes in the margins and sticking in menus, receipts and leaves we find along the way. Each time we open this book it is filled with memories of beautiful sites and fun journeys. A GPS is recommend!

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin

Ideally you want to be sitting under your favorite tree when you read this book but a nice window will also do.  This book is for the person who loves trees and nature writing. It will inspire and deepen your appreciation for the outdoors.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

In this classic, the reader peaks into the lives of rabbits, where we can read their words and experience their hardships.  This book is full of excitement and imagination. After reading this book, you just might look at the rabbits in the yard a bit differently. You may even say hi.

Flights of Imagination: Extraordinary Writing About Birds edited by Richard Cannings

Most bird lovers have a great story about a pursuit of a rare bird or their first memory of finding appreciation for our winged friends. This collection of short stories will relate with anyone who has a passion for birds.

Rugged and Shabby Frames

I love frames! I've found some really great frames lately and paired them with some of my new prints . My new favorite frame maker is ArtCityFrames on Etsy. Her frames are solid wood and have great details. If your looking for something salvaged and even more rugged, than Foundre Frames is awesome. You won't get the same frame twice. His frames are only available wholesale, unless you can find them at retail shops.

I've paired some special frames with prints that will make great ready-to-hang gifts for outdoor enthusiasts and gardeners. Check out my Etsy shop.