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Making of Christmas Card & Star

Updated: Jun 15

Ongoing lockdowns & homeschooling meant someone like me in regional Australia had to make do with what I already had. I do admit that we have been lucky there hasn't been many cases in the area, but even a single case would put us into another lockdown.


As I was starting to think of Christmas card, I was considering what I wished for. All the anxiety we had all gone through in the past couple of years, xenophobia and violence, ignorance spread by the most powerful person in the world. I wished for peace.


I had always liked the ornate designs from all over the world. Christmas and the ornate designs just go together. So I researched a bit of Renaissance era and Islamic ornate designs.

page 47 of the book Nature in Ornament

A page from book Nature in Ornament, of Arab-esque Renaissance ornate design

Based on the above right design that I found, I've inserted birds (dove is a symbol of peace).

I have also wanted to make it a pop up card, to make it special, and I took a domestika course on pop-up by Silvia Hijano Coullaut, and she taught me something I never knew, in 40 years of Origami folding! The most used basic fold can be used for a pop-up! I found if I stuck 5 of those folds, it will make a star. So the star was born.


My original design sketch made in pencil

My original ornate design for the pop-up star

Left: my original design for the card

Above: my original design for 1/5 of the star




Now I haven't been able to import descent quality wood for woodblock printing, and I had some lino which would go brittle if I didn't use it, so I decided to use lino. The grey (or battleship) lino I have is a true linoleum, which is made with linseed oil, pine rosin, sawdust, wood flour, and jute, and so it's biodegradable. But I did not want to use oil-based ink which is most suited for lino, and I wanted to use what I had, so as usual, I've experimented with waterbased inks and paints.



Printed cards drying in between book boards

I'll be honest I struggled a bit, especially gouache on the card paper. But I was determined to make it work with what I had, so I've decided to hand paint the bits that did not print evenly. It's only waterbased paint afterall.

This made it more time consuming than I'd hoped, but I have learned a lot.


Star was printed on 90gsm paper I bought from a book binding shop. It is strong enough to hold the star shape, but still foldable.


So here it is. I think it turned out pretty. What do you think?



Opened pop-up star and card in silver




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artist / educator / graphic designer