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  • A collegue and friend called around yesterday evening, bearing gifts. The one quite large, the other rather small. The first; a large cage containing three canaries, the second; a delicate envelope.
    Given the holiday season that's in it, he and his wife are off to England to visit family. He had asked if we could look after his birds while he's away, and I'm glad to help. He will reciprocate and look after our two canaries when we travel to Ireland in February, to visit my family.
    Upon leaving he handed me this envelope, saying, "your Christmas card".
    This exquisite little envelope of hand-made paper with a blood-red wax seal. Bit of an understatement I would have thought.

    In this bites-sized age of digital post, facebook, twitter, whatsapp and the vast array of comsumer goods available to us, my good friend and collegue chooses to create his own greeting cards. And how.

    In this envelope is an etching. A beautiful hand-made print in Delft-blue ink, no more than 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) across. It depicts a typical Dutch winter landscape in the tradition of Rembrandt.

    It's a complex procedure involving a metal-plate, direct drawing techniques, aquatint, etching acids, and a hand-opperated printing-press. For each print the metal-plate has to be inked and cleaned, the paper moistened, the plate and paper lined up on the bed of the press, and then printed.

    My 'Christmas card' is number 20 of 40 prints. Or is it 46 ?

    And here it is...
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    ... In this spirit of beauty, creativity, attention, and dedication,

    I wish you all a warm and comfortable holiday season and a creative New Year.
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