Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Project for my heart.

I spent a while working on this project. Days actually. I created the two heart ornaments for a gift exchange for mother's who have last their infants.  One ornament was for a local mom and the other was sent to a mom in Florida, USA. I hope they like their pieces!

I set the type for the names and dates of the two babies. 
At the last moment I set the butterfly dingbat in.

The names and dates were letterpress printed onto some of my handmade paper. 

The hearts are made of cotton pulp. I cast each half of the heart in a mould and then glued the two halves together. I decorated the heart after the glue had dried.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Papermaking workshop photos.

A burst of paper pulp colour! 
Pulp painted and laminated with string and I am sure there are a bunch of spices in there as well!

Sunday was the last day of the four part Papermaking workshop I held at my studio. There were 5 participants and they made some beautiful pieces. This was the inaugural papermaking workshop for the studio and so far all is pretty good. Well, aside from the fact that whoever did the cement floor forgot that the water is supposed to drain towards the floor drain! Participants experimented with laminating, debossing, pulp painting (which was a favourite!), adding inclusions as well as almost anything else they could think of! I really admired the creative freedom that one of the participants had in approaching her paper pieces.

Beating red linen fabric offcuts from my friend Emily Hamill who is a fibre artist.
It took about 6 hours to beat the linen down to a pulp.

I see koi in water!
This is a paper piece by one of my workshop participants. The orange is actually dahlia petals.

Scattered petal and leaves in natural pulp.
The fibre for this pulp is also from linen and cotton fabric offcuts from Emily.

Sheets of damp paper drying between wool blankets sandwiched between two wood boards with weights on top.

Helicopters or maple keys laid onto a newly formed wetleaf.
I can't remember if this was to be a deboss or if she ended up putting pulp on top to laminate the keys in.

Workshop participants wet posts after being in the press.
The next step is to put each newly pressed sheet between dry felts.

Tiny sheets with plant material laminated in it.

My hands couching a new wetleaf on wet felts.

My daughter helping me transfer a post of just pressed wet leaves onto blotters.
The wet leaves get sandwiched between the blotters and then they will go into the air dryer.

Pieces made by workshop participants.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A new addition...

Katie's Craftsman Press

I'm so excited!! Now I have the addition of a Craftsman platen press at the studio! A huge thank-you to my friend Katie who has allowed me to give her press a home until she has a permanent one for it. It's been in storage for a while, so I'll have to give it some TLC before I try it out. I do love the platen press (they look much nicer sitting in a studio! it's such a satisfying moment when the paper meets the type) but for what I like to print, a platen press is not practical.
So again, "Thank-you, Katie for lending me and my students your press! I'll take good care of it/her/him!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's De-boss!

This is a video about Studio on Fire a design/letterpress studio in Minneapolis. Ben does a good explanation of how a polymer plate is made - they have an all in one plate maker!!!... it vacuums! it exposes! it washes! it dries! it does everything except print!!  I want one!!!  to bad I can't afford one and I don't know how to use photoshop or adobe image maker to create a positive! The last time I made a polymer plate I had to go over to a department called REPROGRAPHY to turn my negative into a positive by actually shooting and exposing another sheet! Guess how young I'm not!

Near the end of the video Ben makes three good points about the abilities of letterpress printing as opposed to modern printing methods. Yep. Letterpress is from a different time when things were done much more slowly and thoughtfully and one had to work within the processes limitations. That's what I like about it!! I know that I can't set and print two hundred pieces in two colours in a couple of  hours! Letterpress takes time, patience, and focus - some things I feel we are starting to lose (some have already lost it!!) in our modern society.

Something to note... what's with all the DE-BOSSING?!? I know that this is what everyone has come to think of when they think "Letterpress", but what happened to having the paper "kiss" the ink for a good print!?! Twenty years ago in school we were taught that the surface of the type/cut was supposed to "kiss" the paper to create the print. The deep de-boss was not practical as you would squash the heck out of the surface of your font or image eventually making them lower than type high and in some cases obliterating detail! As well, too much pressure isn't good for reading if you are printing double sided for a book or newspaper. Wood and metal type are big investments and you wouldn't want to wreck them by putting too much pressure on them. Polymer plates that are widely used now are relatively inexpensive, disposable and removes the need to use wood or metal type. So , I guess you aren't damaging your investment if you are crushing the heck out of your one job polymer plate.

"...Without dispute, Studio On Fire are masters of the design and letterpress world..." 

As much as I love their work, I'm not sure I would call Ben a master of the letterpress world, design... perhaps. There are many more letterpress printers out there who are much more deserving but are not in the graphic design world, much more low key and out of the spotlight. Just my opinion, though.

Studio On Fire/ Gestalten TV

Thursday, October 28, 2010

and now for a paper making studio!!

I'm puttering around in the studio basement getting the space ready for a hand papermaking workshop that I'm teaching. When I got the studio we put in a bunch of pot lights to make it brighter, but It's weird being down there and not knowing if it's light or dark out. This must be what it's like to work in an office building cubicle.

Checked out my beater and I guess I haven't used it since it was used in "The Time Traveller's Wife" movie. I have an extra pipe (I think it's theirs), my drain stop has a broken handle and my makeshift engine protector is missing. Ugh! Have to do some McGyver-ing!

My felts are all in one place, I have to clear the air dryer, and put the press on the floor by the drain... hmmm... better check to see if the pump has enough fluid to create pressure... and where are my boards?!?
The workshop starts this Sunday and the first thing we'll do is talk about types of paper, what the differences are, fibres, and ways to manipulate pulp. After that we'll start getting the dry stuffs ready for pulping. The five participants will be learning how to make paper from scratch. We're starting with cotton and linen fabrics for the pulp. Using linters will come later when we need a boat load of pulp to work with!

I love the fact that I can turn our old rags (t-shirts, pants, towels, etc.) into gorgeous pieces of coloured papers. That is what I call Up-cycling!

I've got the rags but I'm still waiting for the riches!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Photos from Don Black Linecasting

These are pictures of the Don Black Linecasting  "class trip" I organized in the beginning of October. I forgot to bring my camera so these are taken by our friend, photographer Michael Robinson, who came on the trip because he likes all things old!
Thanks Mike!

Like the type says.
 On the way into the Warehouse
When you walk into the warehouse this is what you see on your right. In the foreground is the Intertype machine and in the background against the wall is a flatbed press they use for proofing. Craig was kind enough to show everyone how the Intertype machine worked and he also cast some type for some of the group!

Ooo! Hot foil stamping!! Craig is demo-ing the hot foil stamper for Nerissa.


One of the most popular styles of presses these days! This is a floor model.

Two part qoins. I used these at school!

The name is in the photo! I still have a fear of these! Joe from Pomegranate Press told me a "poke your eye out" story about one!

A beautiful old paper cutter.

Lots of wood furniture!

Large Foundry type

some of the mechanical parts of the Intertype machine.

Printing some cuts


Beth takes a look at some images "hot off the press"! She even bought a small press just like my Showc

The cuts and the print on the bed of the press.

They have walls of drawers of letterpress stuff!!

Craig's work area.

A pile of lead "pigs" for casting type. We used them for weights for pressing handmade paper when I was at O.C.A.!

More drawers of stuff AND a bunch of presses that Craig is working on.


Packaged type and ornaments for sale.

Tanya from Snap + Tumble checking out the Ludlow mats and composing them in a casting stick. Craig let my husband, Ken, demo type casting on the Ludlow for us.

Drawers of type!

I believe these drawers contain mats for the Ludlow. The drawers are beautiful!

Wood type in a drawer.

Tanya, Christine and I looked at drawer upon drawer of cuts!

Craig setting up the hot foil stamper.

I was looking for ornaments and a cute little font to use for my Wayzgoose Anthology submission.

Craig talking with Nerissa.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Don Black Linecasting

We had a great time on Saturday morning at Don Black Linecasting! I was a bit groggy as I am a night person, but I managed to get to the studio before 9 am to meet everyone. Luckily we had three vehicles and so everyone got to go to Scarborough by car. Unfortunately we had several people who had to drop out last minute due to illness. Yup. It's that time of year again where colds are making their rounds of infecting unsuspecting humans!
When we got there Tanya and Christine had already arrived. I talked to Craig a bit and then we decided to start. Well, I had to start. After introducing Craig (Don's son who has taken over the business), the space and my husband (who was demo-ing type/linecasting on the Ludlow) everyone basically went wherever they wanted and started poking around and asking questions. 
We were lucky! Craig had a variety of presses that were restored and ready for sale. I fell in love with a Showcard flatbed press that has a bed size 4x my Mini Showcard! It was beautiful, but if I get another press I really want a flatbed press with a bigger bed than my Vandercook. I wish I had enough cash to buy one of every style of press... that's the collector in me... but one must at least try to be practical! I answered quite a few questions about presses. I know one person bought a small press and I believe another has their name on a press for when it comes in. 
Craig was a wonderful host! He patiently and kindly answered SO many questions, he let us rummage around freely and just before we left he even reminded us that the Intertype was heated up and if we had time we should see it in motion. I felt everyone should see that! It's an amazing machine. I used one when I was in art college and loved it. Craig showed us how it basically worked and cast people's names for them. A great souvenir from a great day at Don Black Linecasting (the letterpress candy shop!).
I was so busy I forgot to take pictures. Luckily our friend Mike Robinson, who is a professional photographer, took plenty of photos. He's putting them on a disk for me. I hope to have those up by the end of the week!!
For now all I have are pics of the cast type I bought for a short piece about my son for Wayzgoose 2011 and some ornaments that I found to add to the few I already had.