Sunday, March 23, 2014

Look what I noticed when I was going through my old record collection! I had never really taken note of what the cover image was for this Stiff Little Fingers album when I was in high school. Probably because I wasn't at all familiar with letterpress yet!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Back in the studio

The studio has been pretty quiet over the holidays but we're slowly getting the presses humming for 2014. Let's shake the dust off the type, oil the presses, and get some printing done!

There are new workshops scheduled and we're in the middle of an "advanced" type-setting course. Pictures of the students' work will be posted soon.

Can you spot the typo?

Here's a lock-up of some 24 point Alpha-Blox on one of the Vandercook SP-15's at the studio. Alpha-Blox was a modular system created by American Type Founders that allowed a compositor to create a variety of designs and letterforms with a set of discrete shapes. This is the linear set; there is also a reverse set. Combining the two creates opportunities for some really abstract imagery.

Alpha-Blox are fun to play with mostly because all the sorts are square. So a lot of the headaches that come with setting metal type and locking-up are avoided.

-Al (studio assistant)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Don Black Linecasting in PRINTERESTING

Here is a nice little article about Don Black Linecasting. My letterpress candy shop!
I usually organize a trip out to Don Black Linecasting for students that I have taught in the past year. Becuase of our baby (I'll talk about that later on) I haven't taught all year but my studio assistant Albert has! I haven't talked to Craig yet, but I'm still hoping to bring some of our students out there for an introduction in the spring. Many of my past students have loved the place and bought presses and all the fixin's from them.
Look around the Printeresting site as well. I love this site!

Don Black Linecasting « PRINTERESTING

Sunday, February 17, 2013

December 2012

Thank you to Lily who took these great photos during the seven weeks of the ABCs of Letterpress class she participated in! Lily brought a real camera every week to take photos. The rest of us just used our cell phones. I had a great time with this group. We even had a little Christmas party with baked goods and non-alcoholic Mimosas!

The space.

One part of a two colour project.

"Always kiss me goodnight" on the Vandercook SP 15.

Hand set type project!

Brady's hand setting project up close.

Luis's hand setting project... almost ready.

I love this shot!
Luis's hand set project... nice use of ornaments and centring.

Lily's form ready to be put to the test.
Will everything stay in place when it is lifted?

Proofing Lily's hand set type project on the Craftsman.

Proofing with Lily on the Craftsman.

Working away.

...and finished! It looks amazing!

At the Vandercook SP 15 with Luis.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Happy New Year!
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!
Wishing everyone happiness, peace, health and love!

Kozo Studio will be closed for a much needed clean up and press tune-up until the end of January 2013.
Workshops will resume at the end of January so keep an eye out.

Meanwhile, here are some of the pics from the last two ABCs of Letterpress classes.

Luis printing on the Craftsman.
Kara getting ready to tie up her form.
Lily's form, ready to be put in the platen press.

The four photos above are of Renee's Lego letterpress
prints and one of her two plates.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Having some fun

Playing around with some orphaned wood type to create an assemblage to sell at the studio.

LEGO fun! They really need to create a tool to get these little flat tops off the base board.
My fingers are killing me!

First pass of LEGO print. No. It's not going to be a Harlequin face.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Above is the make ready I had to do to get the cut (below) to print. It's about 6 layers at the thickest parts.
It's a great image. Hmmm. I should have taken a photo of the print as well! Okay. Will do that soon!

The original cut. It's actually not copper. It's lead, I think.
Make ready with before and after print.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yes. It has been a while.
So, after my trip in June I ended up taking the summer off for health reasons. Checking my e-mail was spotty than my normal spottiness! A big 'Sorry' to everyone who sent e-mails and thought that perhaps I was avoiding them...or dead. To me, computer = stress and that was one of the things I had to avoid.
Anyroad, I'm getting into gear again and have finally figured out a workshop schedule. I may add a few short workshops here and there as I find needed. For the ABCs of Letterpress though, that is it until the new year. you can find them here under the 'Workshops' tab.
I leave you with a detail of the last piece I worked on in May. It's part of a large kozo paper panel I made for a client. The darker fibre in the halos is kozo but with bits of the bark still in with the pulp. I thought it worked out well. Hopefully the client feels the same!

Kozo fibre paper panel detail.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Museu Nacional Da Imprensa, Porto, Portugal

I visited my friend in Portugal for two weeks in June. While I was there I took the train to Porto and spent four hours at the Museu Nacional Da Imprensa (National Printing Museum). The museum's focus is on the newspaper and book printing industry. It's great for someone like me who loves the history of printing and all the presses and accoutrements of printing. So much to see and touch! Unfortunately they only have two small platen presses working (the rollers were very crooked on one of them) for the public to try out. I would have loved to see the other machines working! They had several representations for the different styles of presses as well as several styles of cutters, folders, perforators and type casters. The whole ground floor was full of machines!  I was in heaven!
Upstairs, protected by glass, they had a large collection of various editions of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo that have been printed since it was first published. Also housed upstairs were dozens of press miniature replicas all made by one man out of wood. I'll post those photos later. The museum is known for it's political cartoon show and event it has every year. It hasn't picked up on the trend of modern letterpress printing at all. I wonder if they even know? All the postcards on offer were of the past political cartoon images from their shows.

This museum isn't for the average tourist. Most people would probably find it dry and boring. the little display cards didn't really tell you or show you how the machines worked or any details about when or where they were used. It did provide English for most of the machines downstairs but it was just basic information like names and dates. If you already know about presses and type you would love seeing all the different makes and styles and tools. But if you are just into loving the look of letterpress this museum would really be a let down. Upstairs, the miniatures and print editions of Les Miserables didn't have any English explanations...just Portuguese. So if you can read Portuguese you are in luck. I can't.

Molds for making display size metal type

Metal type without shoulders.

The composing stick on the left is REALLY long!

Table top platen press with demo cut for printing. 
Tiles with depiction of a scene  from an old print shop.

BIG cast iron paper cutter

Tied up form (!) and proof.

Alauzet French hand press. Also below.

3 photos of an ancient wood hand press with hand forged metal parts!
Note the "bullet nose" that puts pressure on the platen.

Another old but not quite as ancient hand press using the "bullet nose" for pressure.
Also below.

English hand press.

Form locked up.
Turning mechanism for a platen press.

Not quite sure how it works but the sign said that it was used to scrape the sharp edges of of  metal plates before printing.

Setzmaschine Typograph for casting type. It's a thing of absolute wonder!

Setzmaschine Typograph letter keys attached to wires.

A. Hogenforst (?) flatbed press