Block Party

“Trim the Tree Grackle”

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, artist Heather O’Hara came to know the natural world intimately. Though she went on to earn an MFA at Cornell and ultimately move to Baltimore, she never lost that connection with nature, whose shapes, colors and creatures animate her art.

O’Hara’s latest project, Burdock & Bramble, takes its name from “things that are a little bit prickly but also beautiful”—like Baltimore itself, she says. Based at O’Hara’s home in Baltimore’s Old Goucher neighborhood, Burdock & Bramble offers original hand-carved letterpress-printed block prints and greeting cards. “I carve a block for each color in the print based on an original drawing,” O’Hara explains. “Then I put a backing board on each block to make it the right height for letterpress printing.

"Tattoo Toad"
“Tattoo Toad”

The paper for each print passes through the hand-powered press multiple times, as the color from each block builds up the final impression on the paper.” In 2015, she focused on grackles, and 2016 brought toads. Funny or poignant, Baltimore-oriented or holiday-themed, all the images share a bold graphic style. O’Hara also creates handmade journals, sketchbooks and notebooks bound in block-printed cloth.

> To learn more about O’Hara’s work and workshops, check out

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