Inky Hands Full Heart

I’ve always loved ‘Love’ and Valentine’s Day. Some of the very first greeting cards I printed when I got my Chandler & Price tabletop press and started my printmaking practice over 12 years ago were valentines. The cards were simple – a line of handset type inspired by one of the vintage cuts I’d found, printed in black or red ink. “Owl always love you” with a hand-carved owl, or my personal favorite because it was a little creepy- “I want you around forever” with a taxidermy deer head.

Chandler & Price press with handset heart made of various printers blocks

As a printmaker, librarian, and lover of snail mail, it’s no surprise I not only make stationery but also collect it. I recently added this vintage diecut ‘notebook’ Valentine to my collection, another punny card that I fell in love with. I gather inspiration from the ephemera I find. They feel like precious little treasures that are mine and only mine.

The tradition of making and giving Valentines cards dates back to the 18th century. Mass-produced printed greeting cards weren’t available until the early 1910’s, so most were handmade using embellished paper and were often signed anonymously, “Your Valentine”. There’s something incredibly romantic about receiving a handmade card with a handwritten note of affection. I can only imagine what it was like to receive one from an anonymous admirer. 

Risograph valentine, 2024
Greyscale separation, red layer.
Greyscale separation, purple layer.

Every year I offer a Valentines making class, and this year we made cut & paste cards and printed them on the Riso. I like to use tracing paper as a way to help visualize the layers, as color separation is done manually when working with paper and the scanner bed. One of the lovely qualities about risograph is that you can work in virtually any medium- collage, pencil, marker, watercolor, crayon. Riso is a kind, accepting lover like that.

On this Valentine’s Day, I think of all the people who’ve given their sweetie one of my cards, the little hand written messages inside that I’ll never see. It warms my heart, and fills me with gratitude. Inky hands full heart. 


Paper fortune teller spinner, risograph printed 2024.

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