Recently I took a two day letterpress workshop with some friends at Holmen, where the Danish Design School is located. Set at the very edge of the harbor, looking out from the letterpress studio you could see ships coming and going.
It was a weekend of fun and experiments, playing with the materials at hand, taught by bookmaker and letterpresser Jens Jørgen Hansen. It was interesting to learn the Danish or European measurements system (the cicero) instead of the points and picas used in the USA. I also used tube woven special German string for tying up my type block (no other string would do, said Jens), and learned that “type high” is a relative term, depending on which country you print in.
As a follow up to the business cards I designed for Jelly Helm Studio, here are some additional cards that show a little bit about how the studio approaches things. All of the cards were letter pressed on cream colored Neenah Classic Crest #165 cover.
The cards were printed at Brown Printing, where they were very helpful in trying out an unusual combination of printing techniques: first embossing (raising) the paper in a tree shape, and then letter pressing text (pushing the paper down) on top of the tree shape. For all that pushing and pulling of paper with the text being pressed into both the tree and non-tree area, it turned out pretty well.
My favorite of the three cards is this reproduction of a diagram by Joseph Campbell. Wikipedia says “…his work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience”. No small task to fit onto a 1.75×3 inch card, even with some rejiggering on our end so the large original diagram translated well to a tiny version of itself.
Back in May I helped my letterpress friend Kyle Durrie with her project Moveable Type. She was getting ready to take her custom built van on the road and teach letterpress classes out of it, so I made her a logo and website. Now, I and many others are enjoying the fruits of her travels as she criss crosses this big country. Check out her blog for some great road trip pictures…one of my favorites being this pig statue.
Only a few letters go together well enough to create a ligature, but when they find each other it’s beautiful. Thanks to Wikipedia for this fi letterpress ligature (or as Michael accurately commented below, an si ligature).
The genesis of this project started quite a ways back, in ’05 or ’06 when Kyle Durrie took a letterpress class from me at the IPRC. I teach there frequently, so I see many students come and go with varying levels of interest in letterpressing. Many dabble a bit but never fully embrace the craft of it, which requires patience, skill and more patience. Kyle, however, decided to make it her mainstay and formed Power and Light Press.
A few years later we both became members of Em Space, a printing and book arts group. There I got to know her a bit better, her effervescent nature and gusto for everything letterpress. So I wasn’t surprised when she put up this Kickstarter video for her latest idea: building a mobile print shop and touring the US teaching letterpress.
The project got funded and I was thrilled to imagine Kyle in her trusty letterpress van on the open road, nothing but her and some moveable type. Wanting to get in on the action, I offered up my computer skills so she could have a logo and website to help make her adventure an even bigger success.
Kyle gave me some inspiration to start with, from which I made this hand drawn 3D type reminiscent of both old building signage and of those interchangeable letters that Gutenberg thought were a good idea. Turns out he was right.
Matthew Johnson also volunteered to help out by setting up a wordpress site that Kyle could update with the latest events from the road. Follow along on her adventures, see when she might stop by your town, or request a visit from one of Portland’s leading ladies of letterpress at www.type-truck.com!
I took a class at Em Space recently which was taught by two master printmakers from Japan. Ritsuko Ozeki and Takahiko Hayashi were both visiting from Tokyo because their work is on display at the Froelick Gallery thru November, and they agreed to give a three hour workshop on drypoint and chine collé.
Let me tell you, it was one of the funnest printmaking classes I’ve taken! Twelve students were all able to create an etching on plexiglass using a variety of sharp tools, and then make a print of it using fancy japanese paper samples the teachers brought with them. Continue reading “Drypoint and Chine Collé Printmaking”→
As part of a letterpress print exchange centered around Poor Richard’s Almanack, I made this poster to trade with other printers in Portland. “Opposites Attract” takes some of the Almanack’s most commonly recognized proverbs and reinterprets them with math symbols, drawing inspiration from Franklin’s interest in both the literary and scientific fields. Proverbs revisited…
Proverbs: love and be loved • two wrongs don’t make a right • do as I say; not as I do • birds of a feather flock together • the pen is mightier than the sword • six of one…half dozen of the other.
An edition of 10 is available for sale – if you’d like one send me 40 bucks and I’ll put it in the mail. Printed on Cougar 80# cover, size is 12×18 with an image area of 8.5×15.5 so you can either trim to the print area or hang as is with a white paper border.