Mr. Bsag and I went to London yesterday to run a few pleasurable errands. I visited Bikefix to test ride a lovely, Dutch-style bike for commuting to work (more on that later, I'm sure, if I decide to buy it), and Mr. B went to a printmaker's supply shop called Intaglio. He's been printmaking for a couple of years now, and someone recommended this shop. It's in the Borough area, which in itself is an fascinating area of London. The shop itself is in a basement, and feels like a treasure trove.
I don't really know anything about printmaking -- other than what I've learned via Mr. Bsag -- but it's still an interesting place to visit. It's one of those shops that -- if you ignore the cash till and a few of the plastic containers -- is probably more or less unchanged since the Victorian period. The walls are lined with shelves filled with tins and tubes of ink, which have exotic names like phthalo blue and carbazole violet, and there are cabinets with engraving tools and smoothing tools, alongside jars of gum arabic and beeswax. More shelves are stacked with thick, creamy sheets of printing paper, waiting for an image. Best of all, there are the tiny, end-grain blocks of wood for wood engraving, sanded and polished so smooth that you can't help but pick them up and stroke the silky surface. It's really another world, and one that I find very enticing, despite my complete lack of artistic ability.