I learned how to print on a letterpress yesterday. It was an awesome experience. Here’s the back story; although most of the work I do is for the corporation I work for, from time to time we do pro bono work. Almost a year ago we did a letterhead system for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. As a thank you they allowed us to come for a day and learn to press type. It was just a small group of us, with lofty ideas. Quickly I figured out it takes a lot of time to set up type and prepare it for the press.
As you would expect, I took tons of pictures. The place is beautiful, full of old cool things including wood and lead type. There are drawers full of type and old advertising images. It was a surprise in each drawer. We probably spent the first hour just making discoveries. I think it dawned on all of us that we were going to need to make decisions and move along quickly if we wanted to make something in a day.
David decided to make a poster for a friend’s band in the style of Hatch Show Print and Yee Haw Industries. Ed, well Ed’s a funny guy, he was making a poster for his 7-year-old son who has decided he wants to be in the Guinness World Records for having the largest Afro, never mind he’s a white kid. The standard right now is 4 feet across in diameter. So instead of an Afro we’ve been calling it a Wafro…fair enough.
It’s starting to come together nicely!
Heidi went with a little simpler plan, greeting cards…
Oh what did I decided to make, well since this is all happening close to Christmas I wanted to make something I could give away. I’m not sure if I have told you too much about my Mom, she was an excellent cook in her day and really excelled in all things kitchen related, as in extraordinary! But now my mom has dementia and has forgotten a lot and can no longer cook. She loves the holidays but really can’t get out and shop anymore, so I thought I would make recipe cards using her name and print out some of her favorite holiday recipes for baked goods and give a set to family members from both of us.
My original plan was really elaborate but I had to scale back as I got into the details of setting the type and making the cards come to life.
I used a mix of wood type and metal type. I titled the cards “June’s treats”. The image above is the start of setting the type…
At this point I’m prepping the press and building out the card. I have probably already spent 4 hours on this.
Pretty simple cards but I’m really happy with them. I pulled about 60 images.
I wrote up the cards last night and made little packets tied with twine.
The dining room table is now gift central…prepping, and packing for Christmas.
Parting shot of Heidi, truly a very satisfying day!
And one last plug; if you are in or around Minneapolis check out Minnesota Center for Book Arts. It’s really an incredible organization, with classes, a little history center and a shop. There is also a publisher located in the center.