What are beneficial insects anyway? Beneficial insects are insects that pollinate trees and plant-life while they collect nectar from flowers. Insects that are predators of undesirable, destructive insects are also seen as beneficial to human activities. There are many more beneficial insects than what I have included in my book, but you can count on dragonflies, parasitic wasps, pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, assassin bugs, assassin flies, lady beetle larvae, spiders, and house centipedes to benefit you in your garden, yard and house—but, of course, these definitions are very subjective. Insects in different stages of life are very destructive – like caterpillars. And predator insects are great, but they are not very discriminatory in what they kill and eat – so they will eat harmful beetles as well as beneficial bees.
The Beneficial Insects book is comprised of 36 pages with 10 original, multi-color relief engravings. The page sizes are 6 inches high by 7 inches wide. A limited edition of 30 letterpress books and a possibility of a commercially printed version are planned. Joanne Price is the author, artist, printer and binder for this exciting project.
This project is very slow and time consuming because of the process necessary to create the illustrations. Each illustration is hand drawn and then transferred to a printing block. Then the image must be engraved/carved so that it stands in relief. The first of the print matrices to be created is called a “key block”. The key block is then transferred to 3-4 separate blocks and each is engraved/carved based on the color that will be printed from it. Then each block is printed together—one on top of the other—to create the final image. I go through many color trial proofs finding the correct color and transparency for each color to maximize each layer. If I can print three colors and make it look like there are 5 colors (with overlapping colors creating additional colors) – I am happy, but that rarely happens! After several color trial proofs, the image is hand-printed, one color at a time, one piece of paper at a time. Each image has taken an average of 4 months to complete.