Monday, September 08, 2008

New obsession: Letterpress!

I know I've been MIA for awhile, but I'm writing to say I'm still here. The last few months have whizzed by in a blur. Summer has come and gone, and here we are back in school and not only have the kids gone back, I have too! That is, if you count going to class every other Saturday.

I started taking a Letterpress class last month. In the class we've learned about the letterpress printing process, how to prepare/operate/cleanup a press, and all sorts of things related to letterpress. The class studio has a vandercook, a Kelsey, and a big platen press called The Old Reliable.

One of the group projects is to print a book of poetry where each of us gets either one poem, or a whole spread. And the next time we meet for class, we are going on a field trip to a local chapter of Center for the Book.

Here are a couple pictures from the first class (apologies for the not-so-great photos -- these were taken with my camera phone)

Classmate putting some metal type away:

Another classmate using The Old Reliable

Now, I had decided I wanted to get my own printing press...and what luck, I found out about an entire printing shop that was available.

My purchase included a C&P 8x12 printing press, 3 cabinets of metal type (that included a beautiful font called Centaur), a 300lb paper cutter, mitering saw, and furniture/lead/quoins/tympan paper/ink -- basically everything you could want/need in your printing shop. And here it is, my very own press!

One (among many) cool things about this whole experience was hearing about the history of my printing equipment. The press belonged to a wonderful local printer named Dianne Weiss. She was well-known for these miniature books she made (I think some of them were called "carousel" books. When I was at her studio, I was able to see some examples of her work which was really very beautiful. And my paper cutter once belonged to a man named Don G. Kelley, another well-known local printer who had a print shop called Feathered Serpent Press.

Stay tuned for more on my new-found obsession :)

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