Hannah and I had talked over many years about creating this oracle, but the timing had never seemed right. We also were keen to find a way to make it in a way that was environmentally aware and sustainable. This included printing and transportation, so in the early part of this year we decided that if we wanted to make this and other similar products, we should make them in house or as close by as possible.
The artwork and book of the Folktails Oracle had already been put together so it was the production that we started to look at in more detail. The parts all had to be FSC approved and locally sourced as much as possible.
We decided we wanted to get the cards printed professionally as our press was not advanced enough to be able to give a finish that would work both aesthetically and in use. We got in touch with Jason at Andover Printing, who is always happy to help with some of our odd requests, and we are so pleased with the final results. Jason is a marvel at these sort of unusual jobs, and although he asked quite a few times what these were for, he did a brilliant job for us.
We decided to fully print and bind the books here in our studio. This has been a very large learning curve but we are pretty pleased with the finished book. Hannah wanted a size of book non standard (of course she did) and so we needed to use a B5 cutdown paper with a final trim to size after covering. We had also decided that all of the inks and toner used had to be pigment inks or recyclable toner, this was so much more complex than we had ever realised, especially as leading the world on these is Germany. After months of customs delays and then huge import duties we finall got them. As we had said earlier we wanted this to be as locally sourced as possible but there is no ink manufacturing of this sort in the UK and the only other sourceable, with some very dodgy environmental claims, were in China and that was not something we could compromise on.
The process therefore was to print the book, initially cut it into the approximate size, and do the binding without the covers. This would allow us to fix the cover afterwards and then cut the finished book to size. It was at this point we realised we were creating a publishing company! WoodCat Art was a small company I had already had ideas for and had started work with, and so we decided that the Folktails Oracle would be our first publication under WoodcatArt. More exciting news about WoodCat in the near future.
We sourced our boxes as Kraft boxes and they are manufactured in Westbury, Wiltshire, about 20 miles from our studio, as are the little organic cotton card bags. Both of these are biodegradable and recyclable in kerbside recycling. All of our stamps are made as always by Noolibird on Etsy, as Nula is superb and we are always so pleased to see our designs come to life.
The optional extra cloth is made in the UK and printed fully in our studio.
So, after many years of planning it is finally time to set our project free and to hope that this is something you will love as much as we have loved producing it.
Much love to you all
Phil Tree July 2022