Wilkintie is a family business by Carly Hargreaves and Niels Oeltjen. Through our Etsy store we sell fine art letterpress prints made for kids, and loved by adults alike. ‘Wilkintie’ is also an Australian Aboriginal name for a small hopping mouse of the deserts of Australia.
We remember our favourite pictures and stories from childhood — images seemed to jump off the pages of storybooks, and characters came to life in our minds. In exposing children to the exciting world of art, we hope to spark their imagination and inspire their own creativity.
For series 1 we commissioned 12 excellent illustrators and artists to create works that would appeal to children.
We offered subscriptions to parents, grandparents and friends to gift to children and each month for a year subscribers got the thrill of a print in the post.
This event prompted new discussions about the work in families, and inspired kids to make their own artworks. We weren’t surprised to find our prints were popular with adult collectors too.
You can now buy these prints individually in our Etsy store.
Our prints are produced with care and attention to detail. Niels hand printed our editions on a mid-century press under the watchful eye of his teacher — the skilled and knowledgeable printer and publisher Carolyn Fraser of boutique letterpress studio Idlewild Press.
Each and every print has been carefully produced using the finest materials available, and is checked for quality. We print onto archival 100% cotton rag paper from the 250 year old St Cuthberts Mill of Somerset, England. We also use the finest quality inks on the market.
Made to last a lifetime
Our prints are delivered to you in a sturdy museum-quality sleeve. If kept in this sleeve, laid flat, and stored out of sunlight, they will last a lifetime. The sleeve also helps prevent damage by handling.
That said you will probably want to hang your prints on a wall. We deliberately chose the standard 8×10 inch size as this is a commonly available picture frame size. You can generally purchase these at homewares stores. Glass is considered to be inert, however to prolong the print’s life we suggest putting a barrier between the print and the backing. Ask at a picture framer or an art supply shop for the best materials for this.
Although printed using light-fast inks, the colours of the print will fade if exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time, and under no circumstances should they be hung in direct sunlight. Prints are best hung on a wall that receives only reflected sunlight.
Somerset paper is mould-made, 300 gsm Soft White, 100% Cotton rag. This acid free paper is rated at 7 on the Blue Wool Scale for light-fastness.
The prints are produced in a capped (limited) edition of 400 prints. They are hand-numbered and hand-embossed with a small letter ‘W’ in the bottom right corner.
Due to the concerns regarding the environmental costs of sending our prints across the planet to be signed, and then returned, we have decided to leave the prints unsigned by the artists.
On letterpress printing
With the introduction of the high-volume offset process in the middle of last century letterpress became an outmoded process. In recent years a small but passionate community of high-quality art and hobby letterpress printers have emerged, producing fine printed material in the tradition of the craft printers of last century.
The process requires a high degree of craftsmanship and skill, and in the right hands letterpress has wonderful qualities. The press creates an impression into the paper, giving greater visual definition to the artwork, and a three dimensional effect. The spread of ink provides a richer look, picking up on the texture of the paper, and giving the image life. Each print is unique.
Letterpress has environmental benefits over other printing types. As each print is hand-fed, and can be checked for colour and impression without having to keep the machine running, the wastage is very low. Also the process uses very little (almost no) water, and clean-up is done using vegetable oils.
All our prints were printed by Niels at the Idlewild studio, a boutique letterpress studio in Melbourne. Idlewild is considered to be one of the best letterpress studios in Australia. The presses are wonderfully well maintained 19th century machines, each with their own quirks and characteristics.