Archives for posts with tag: Letterpress printing

packaged cards

wilamina's counter

packaged cards

it’s been over a month since my last post. it seems august came & went in the blink of an eye & september quickly followed. fall is here & our beautiful garden & flowers are starting to show signs of less sunshine & cooler temperatures. the studio has been hustling & bustling filling holiday orders, designing & printing valentines. since march wilamina (my 1913 chandler + price printing press) & i have printed over 100,000 impressions. in fact, this week i think we’ll hit 150,000. i’ve had a month & a half filled with wonderful adventures both at home & work. i’m hoping i can spend some time in october blogging about them.  stay tuned!



ata type comparison

i am a typography junkie. i can’t get enough. honestly, i started collecting letterpress type blocks when i graduated college & never stopped. and little did i know back then, i would be printing with them some day. since the beginning of this collection, i’ve added books, magazine, sign letters, flashcards & other vintage ephemera to the mix. i’ve been focusing more on the books as of late since the popularity of type blocks & letterpress printing has inflated the prices drastically. i simply refuse to pay $4 or more for one average type block. instead i’ve been finding little book treasures.

table of contents

page after page filled with type specimens for me to admire, study & daydream of days when one would actually set the type shown to produce the book. hands would touch each & every character, add spacing, leading & punctuation manually. i can almost see the room the book was typeset in with banks & banks of type cabinets & gentlemen bent over choosing each letter at great speed, composing stick in the left hand & an ink-stained right hand picking each letter from the job case. ahhhhhh, it’s a magical vision.

pages 130-31

open and decorated faces

decorative faces

my most recent score was an ata type comparison book. i was treasure hunting with rebecca & i had talked her into purchasing this lovely, hand colored photograph of a bride in a gorgeous matte & frame. i just knew it would look amazing in the wedding section of her store wildcard. anyway, i was standing at the brownstone antiques, one of my favorite treasure hunting spots, counter while rebecca paid & this ouija board caught my eye. personally, they kind freak me out so i stepped back. when i stepped back i noticed a book underneath, the spine read type comparison with the ata logo above. i grabbed it enthusiastically & thumb through the pages. i wanted it. and what a deal at $5! it’s quite lovely and after reading the colophon i love it even more. the book states “set and lithographed by the members of the advertising typographers association, of america inc, on the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of the first printing from roman type, at subiaco, italy 1464-1465”.  i’m in love. seriously. the ata got together for the 500th anniversary of the 1st printing from roman type in italy?! L O V E .

page 130

the book is wonderful. showing specimens along with some original blocks & works. gorgeous. thank you brownstone antiques!

andrew bird performing

i am a huge admirer of andrew bird. honestly, i think the man is a genius. every time i listen to his music i am in awe of his passion & brilliance. he’s one of those artists that makes me want to be better at my craft. his many layers of instruments, whistling & singing are mesmerizing. and if you’ve ever seen him perform live you will be amazed watching him loop little snippets with every instrument he has. it’s mind-blowing!

you may ask how does music inspire letterpress printing? his music is one of the main soundtracks of the studio when i have control of stereo. but i guess it’s more his personal drive & passion that’s inspiring. andrew bird makes me push a little harder, experiment a little more, challenge myself with projects i know will be difficult. he makes me want to explore my passion more. embrace it until i am exhausted. and for that, i thank him. plus, his music is a great comfort to me when flying…

tom adjusting paper feeder

in august of 2009 i had to move my studio. i had purchased a 1946 craftsman automatic chandler price printing press & my current studio didn’t have a floor sturdy enough to support both my original press & the new (to me) press.

so i moved. i moved all my stock, my paper cutter, my 1913 platen press, several work tables, envelopes, packaging material, bookcases, desks, a type cabinet, two marble top tables, an inking station & numerous other printing & business supplies. all in all it took about three weeks to move and maybe one full week of down time for my business.

tom adjusting paper

i had the press moved from a basement in elgin, il to my new & improved studio. i was in the midst of holiday printing & order fulfillment so the press sat. she sat several month before tom & i tried to get her up & running. we poured over the manual, i wiped all the oil & dirt off of her. oiled each of her 100+ oil holes & fired her up. she worked for a few minutes then wouldn’t feed paper anymore. we poked & prodded & adjusted for hours only to realize she had a broken ratchet that advanced the feed bed.

celebratory tom!

it took nearly 2 years to get this part fixed. that’s right. almost two complete years. but she’s fixed. and tom & i spent the majority of our saturday trying to get her running. after a few hours of reading, experimenting & adjusting, we got the press to feed 8.5 x 11 cardstock. it was exciting! the possibilities felt endless.

then, after a celebratory lunch, we came back to try to print. i inked up the press only to realize after another several hours, we couldn’t get the 9.5 x 12.5 sheets i always print on to feed. boo! more reading & experimenting. stay tuned for updates…

paper feeding & delivery!

tape graveyard...

there are many tools in letterpress printing. i have a whole peg board filled with composition sticks, quoins, keys, mallets, wrenches, scissors, screwdrivers, ink knives, pantone formula guides & several other odds & ends. however, none of those is the tool used most when printing. when i print i use masking tape. lots & lots of masking tape. i have a dispenser next to the motor controls at all times. it’s so close i don’t even have to look to grab a piece. i use this magical tool for every print job. i can’t say the same for all those more expensive & sought after tools i’ve acquired through the years.

86° in the studio today

it’s stifling outside. npr just reported 100° at the lakefront & 97° inland. the studio air is cranked yet the ink is runny, i’m sweaty & it’s feeling stuffy. it’s hard to stay busy without doing much physically. i have lots of printing to be done & find myself again daydreaming of my studio space. dreaming of central air and perhaps something with warm, deliciously colored wood floors. and lots of windows… maybe facing east so i won’t fry in the sun like my current space…

die cut aftermath

die cut aftermath

finally, i’m back on press. and it’s die-cutting day. i have to say my die-cutting skills aren’t as sharp (heehee) as my printing skills. mostly because i haven’t logged in quite as many hours as i have printing. it is a similar process as printing but with razors… very exciting! the issue i encounter is getting the paper out of the press in one piece. there’s a few misses & afterward my shop floor is littered with die cutting remnants. fun, colorful, pretty, discarded letterpress goodness. kinda like confetti but different…