Happy Holidays from the Vergalla ladies

Last year my sister asked me to make holiday cards to send to her clients– this year I decided to document the process a little better. So here we go: holiday prints 101. 

Step 1: Befriend crazy and wonderful backcountry skiers. They will fill your head with stories about mountains and bring you back beautiful snowscape photography from their adventures.  The first print I made was from a photograph taken by my dear friend B. Through him I had the good fortune to meet Kyle Miller.  Kyle’s proven to be one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and he’s given me full reign of his photographs and instagram feed. Last year’s image was of Nason Ridge, here in the Cascades.  This year Kyle is traveling in Australia and New Zealand for Eddie Bauer. I asked my sister to look through his photos and she picked an image of Mt Cook/ Aoraki from the end of September. 

SuppliesStep 2: Get your supplies ready. I printed Kyle’s photo, in reverse, for reference.  I use a soft rubber plate for the print and generally use a linoleum cutter that’s hooked rather than straight.  I find it easier and it seems to have less stabbing danger. 

First cuts

Step 3: Use water soluble markers to draw the image on the plate. I tend to draw the positive, not the negative, and indicate with squiggles where I’ll end up being somewhat free-form with the blade.  

test image

Step 4: Test print and readjust. At this point I usually hide the reference photograph.  It doesn’t really matter what the image is supposed to look like, work with what you have going. I ended up smoothing out the river banks and adding some illumination to the band of mountain that’s not yet snow-covered.

ready to print

Step 5: Ink it up and get printing.  I use water soluble inks– they’re just easier to deal with.  They aren’t water-safe but cards aren’t, by their nature, water-safe. 

cards drying


I printed up as many cards as I had card stock and they will be winging their way towards Philadelphia by the end of the week, with a few set aside for Kyle when he gets back to the US in late December.  

Next printmaking project: the peaks of the Pacific Northwest for B’s beer labels. So much to do, so much to do.