Big Jump Press

Printing with Cliff Chalk. . . plus a piece of news

The chalk cliffs surrounding the Brighton marina site are made up of the remains of ancient sea creatures, the fossilized bones of ice age land mammals, and nodules of flint. They stand in sharp contrast to the marina itself, a weirdly artificial (and often empty) collection of businesses and homes positioned in that strange space between land and sea.


During one of the perimeter walks of the Marina that I took  in May while doing research for my current Shift-lab collaboration, I picked up a dislodged piece of chalk and took it home with me.


I started printing the Marina project a few weeks ago, laying down the black text that I culled from newspaper articles and promotional literature produced in the 1960s and 70s.

Some excerpts from the text:

Listen out for a bell which rings continuously : Kill forever the talk of pure speculation : There are two types of waves which will assault the Marina: This has happened once in America

The sea wall can commence and will be completed in two years : The harbor arms are each a mile long : Mr. Cohen had his vision : They will be on land reclaimed from the sea : Keeping a guardian’s eye on the western arm of the marina : The rings are lifted very slowly : The Marina is for everyone : This is simple work, really : Planning is a negative control : We can say what will not happen but we can’t say what must go in the plans


After getting this marina form onto the page, I had no real plans. I hoped to let the first steps guide the next few. I am dealing with a single sheet of kozo which will fold down twice (a french fold) to 8 x 6″.  The Marina text above will appear in the opening, but there is more to be done on the back side, and on what will be the “cover” of the folded sheet. The sheet is translucent, so the imagery on the front and back side will impact each other.

Finding that chalk moved my thinking toward the cliffs and their long history. I spent time drawing bone shapes and flint orbs and thinking about how the chalk itself could play a role in the printing of the book. I often use magnesium carbonate to stiffen up my ink, why not shift to calcium carbonate and print some imagery with chalk from the cliffs?

To the cheese grater!





With a healthy dose of cliff chalk injected into my opaque white, I set to work, printing the lino cut above onto the back side of the text marina. It’s quite subtle on the sheet, but when held up to the light, the two forms have a new relationship.



There is still much to do. This fall, my Marina fold will be united with four other folded forms from Tricia Treacy, Katie Baldwin, Denise Bookwalter and Macy Chadwick, each an investigation of a manipulated location. Look for more information soon about an exhibition devoted to this project in Portland, Oregon in November.

And now is the time when I have to tell you something personal. I wasn’t sure I was going to mention this on the blog, but it will so obviously impact my life and work forever and ever that it seems silly not to. True fact: I am more than 8 months pregnant. Here, look:


I was really hoping to be one of those hard core pregnant ladies who could keep going until the due date, but as it turns out, I am one of those pregnant ladies who can’t walk more than twenty paces at a time without having to lie down or lean against a wall with several weeks still to go. Printing has officially become an impossibility for me, which is why I need to thank this man:


A Poem for Kevin

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin,
Friend, Printer, Hero,
If you were not here to print for me,
The book would be a zero

Kevin Hagger, of Rinkydink Ink, bless you for your selfless help. When this baby is on the outside and is, you know, not a newborn, I am ready to help you with whatever printing task you name. And also, I have a present for you.


That is it from Big Jump this week, but I have a couple of last items to share.

#1 My dividers collection has again been put to shame! Check out Mike Henbrey’s Collection Of Dividers courtesy of Spitalfields Life.

#2 The London Centre for Book Arts now has its shop online. A great resource, and for reasonable prices. Might I suggest the ruler that changed my life?




18 comments on “Printing with Cliff Chalk. . . plus a piece of news

  1. Emm
    July 17, 2015

    Congratulations Sarah! Lovely news x

  2. Amy
    July 17, 2015

    Congratulations! Babies are wonderful 🙂

  3. auntie bene
    July 17, 2015

    Sarah- I love the marina piece with the chalk designs behind it. WAY cool.

    • Big Jump Press
      July 20, 2015

      Thank you, Bene! I’ll send you some photos when it is all done. (If I manage to get it all done! I may have to ship some of this to friends to print the last touches. . .)

  4. Crimson Owl Creations
    July 17, 2015


  5. Robin Price
    July 17, 2015

    Sarah! Wow did I love reading this post, thanks so much! I especially adore the selfie-from-above, next to press. And I especially ADMIRE the concept, result, and *intervention* with cheese grater. How very cool you added the ancient cliff dust to the ink. Of course the image is beautiful, and how very fitting that the shape very much resembles your *view from above* these days!

    • Big Jump Press
      July 20, 2015

      Ha! Robin! that is such a funny observation! I wonder if looking down at my expanding midsection is impacting what kind of imagery I am using these days! Brains are weird. You never know what they are up to when you are not paying attention. I wish I was going to see you next week in Minneapolis! Please give my cousin Dave a big hello when you meet him!

  6. Karen
    July 17, 2015

    Congratulations! A completely changed life lies ahead of you…

    • Big Jump Press
      July 20, 2015

      Thank you Karen! We are bracing ourselves for a total shift!

  7. Su
    July 18, 2015

    I feel you are inventing a whole new genre of working-while-sitting-down-watching-someone-else. Enjoy it while you can!

    • Big Jump Press
      July 20, 2015

      Ha! It is true. A whole new perspective on printing! Hope your book is coming along! Can’t wait to see it!

  8. Sue Smith
    July 19, 2015

    Congratulations! I hope everything goes well for you and the baby.

    Can you tell me where you get your kozo paper from please? and any idea what weight it is?

    I do enjoy your blogs and was hoping to see you once again next year at a workshop in Kent – but maybe not now….

    Best wishes sue


    • Big Jump Press
      July 20, 2015

      Hi Sue! Thanks so much for the congrats! I am sorry to say that my paper this time has come from the states, each of the five collaborators for this project are using the same stock, so we ordered 200 sheets, split it between us, and one of them shipped it to me to avoid some massive charges. If you are interested, it is this paper, ordered form Legion Paper: (45 gsm)

      John Purcell has a variety of Japanese paper in stock, (see here: ) and you might want to call them and get some samples.

      I hope I see you again in the not too distant future! My teaching schedule will be a bit light for a while, but I’ll be out and about again soon.
      Best wishes!

  9. Kevin Hagger
    July 20, 2015

    Hey Sarah! As you know, I just spent a weekend in a field–at Latitude Festival–in lovely Suffolk (it was great by the way!); and to return to find your blog post in my in-box and you biggin’ me up! I’m loving my poem too! Thanks so much. It’s always a hoot working with you. Anytime you need a hand, I’ve got your back. Kx

  10. Macy
    July 24, 2015

    Love this post– the chalk imagery and the personal news too– go you! See, you are printing til the end (from a director’s chair!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 14, 2015 by in Letterpress, Shift-lab, Work in progress and tagged , .
%d bloggers like this: