Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Improbability of Puffins

An Improbability of Puffins

A Circus of PuffinsThis linocut shows an improbability of puffins in all senses of the words. The collective noun for a group of puffins is an "improbability". Isn't that marvellous? Puffins look rather improbable to me, with their tuxedo coats and tails and their red, Roman noses... I mean beaks. These are Atlantic puffins, to be precise. Actually, there are a few different words for a group of puffins. I rather like the perverse redundancy of  "a puffinry of puffins" and admit that "a circus of puffins" was a temptation for its sheer absurdity, but "an improbability" is my favorite, and seemed like it was best suited for making a print. The typography of the words represents their meaning; "improbability" is most improbable, with each letter in an unrelated typeface to the last, and the letters in "Puffins" mimic the beaks and wings of the birds.

This print is inked 'à la poupée' (with different colours, black, orange and red, in different areas) and printed by hand on lovely Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper. Each print is are printed in dark gold ink with gold and turquoise words on Japanese kozo, or mulberry paper. Each print is 12.25" by 8.25" or 31 cm by 21 cm in dimension. There are 8 prints in the variable edition.

I love the weird and wonderful terms of venery - the collective nouns for groups of animals (and other things). Some are evocative, some strange and obscure. This is the 8th in a series of such prints.

Edited: It has been pointed out to me that baby puffins are called pufflings, which is positively too cute.


Andrea Deal said...

Cute linocut! I think Puffins are just about the cutest animals that exist. And cuter still is the name we use for their offspring- pufflings!

minouette said...

Oh my goodness! I did not know that.


Pamela said...

I had just HAD to send you this:

minouette said...

Thanks very much Pamela!
I've got several of those on my to-do list. I love the illustration! I've been thinking about a business of ferrets myself.