Greetings from Krampus

Every year as the winter holidays approach I think, “I should do a seasonal print.” Trouble is, I’m not content to whip up a standard-issue charming winter scene — you can find one of those anywhere, so I often end up doing nothing at all, or something very limited. In 2009, I managed my first holiday print while recovering from an early December surgery.

Liv's idea of a x-mas card

Just what does an octopus need mittens for?

Surprise surprise, it wasn’t a reindeer, snowman, or other classic icon of the season. Rather jolly image though, and I like to think I’d have come up with it regardless of the painkillers I was on at the time. I managed to whip up about 30 prints and send them out to family and friends. I had intended to create a follow-up in 2010, but without a surgery to keep me at home, I ended up too busy. I did, however, manage to make time to finally make something of my interest in the Krampus tradition.

Krampus woodcut in progress

Carving Krampus

For those not in the know, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas on his rounds. Unlike St. Nick, he’s not interested in good children. He’s there to frighten, punish, and possibly even abduct the worst behaved children. This imposing figure is an Alpine tradition still practiced in the first weeks of December with costumed performers and raucous celebrations. Krampus postcards were particularly popular in the early 20th century, and were often emblazoned with the phrase, “Gruss vom Krampus!” (Greetings from Krampus!)

Krampus woodcut print 2nd edition

Someone has been naughty

My Krampus woodcut was created for the 2010 OCAC print exchange, and as such, an edition of only 30 were printed on off-white Rives BFK and exchanged. The handful of proofs from the printing were mostly given to family, and the block was put away until just a couple weeks ago. I liked this one too much to not print a 2nd edition. In order to differentiate between the two editions I’ve carved the block a bit further and printed on buff Rives BFK. I’m 8 months early for Krampusnacht 2011, but at least this year I’m ready!

Speaking of ready, I’m currently gearing up for Norwescon next week! I’m looking forward to demonstrating relief printmaking along with Mimi Noyes and Larry Lewis on Friday, and will also be carving and printing in artist’s alley several times over the course of the convention.