Sunday, December 4, 2011

Play date at the studio

These photos were taken at my studio a few weeks ago. They are by a friend who was visiting. 
I don't often talk about the loss of our son in this space, but my studio was the setting for a small get together of other Infant Loss parents. They were at the studio to create holiday ornaments for our "missing" children. Since this is a difficult time of year for most of us I thought that having an informal get together to decorate the heart ornaments would be a good way to not feel so alone and isolated with our emotions as well as create something for our babies (whenever I get together with other infant loss parents I sort of view it as a play date for our son, Kai... we parents down here on earth getting together and talking about our children and our children up there past the clouds getting together to play). 
Like the ornaments I made to give away last year, these were made of paper pulp that I cast in heart moulds. I set each child's name and birth/death date in the little mini Showcard press in 14 pt. Bernhardt type. I printed their names on some handmade paper and then we attached them to the fronts of our decorated heart ornaments. The woman that took the photos is also an infant loss parent. I think it's a blessing that I can use my creative knowledge and my studio for gathering such as this. Thank you Valerie for the beautiful photos of my studio and all the support over the past almost three years.

clockwise starting at the top left: my hands setting type on the mini Showcard press,   two children's names set and ready to proof, a tray of type ornaments, some wood type.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome to the studio, Mason!

Last Saturday was an exciting day at the studio. Mason, our new foster press was delivered! After months of trying to co-ordinate between Sigrid, Craig and I, it finally came together! Mason ( a Vandercook SP15 that is rumoured to once have belonged to a famous Canadian writer that current mayor Rob Ford had never heard of ) was delivered to it's new long term temporary home at KOZO Studio. Along with Mason, Sigrid also gave me several boxes filled with various ornaments, leading, rules, metal display type and ink to use with Mason! Thank you Sigrid! I'll keep it all safe for your working visits to the studio.

It was a beautiful day for moving Mason. The last thing you want to do is movie a big press made of steel in the rain! As you can see from the photos we had lots of sun, a little bit of a breeze and a nice fall temperature! Thanks to Craig Black, Nick Kennedy and Albert Kwon for doing the pick up and delivery! Next time I have to remember to have more Coca Cola around.

So, right now the studio is in a state of disarray. Well, more than usual disarray! I've been sorting leads, cleaning and sorting ornaments, finding space for type and moving big pieces of furniture around (with the help of Ken and Albert - thank you, guys).  Now that all the press stuff and moving is settled I'll be able to start workshops again next week. Not sure how the new floor layout will work in terms of flow. Hopefully it will be fine. It ain't easy moving cases of lead and heavy metal presses around! We'll see how it goes.

Nick and Craig moving Mason onto the hydraulic cart.
Nick's new Universal Press is behind him.

Nick  and Albert posing on the hydraulic lift!

Lift down and now To move Mason onto the sidewalk...

...with a handy piece of flat steel to use as a ramp. 

The cool edge pry/lift-y thing helping craig get Mason onto the sidewalk.

There's Mason on the sidewalk.
Sorry guys. Mason is not going to walk into the studio on it's own!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

While on vacation...

We were doing our annual fall road trip and ended up going to Massachusetts. We stayed in the town of Lee in the Berkshires. Lucky for us it was just half an hour away from John Barrett's weekend letterpress shop/warehouse Letterpress Things! I could have bought so much...

Metal display type.

Nicely sorted quads and spaces for sale by weight.

Furniture racks and furniture sold by weight.

The picture says it all!

Printer drawers, card stock,  and many other maybe useful odds and ends.

Time to tally up.

...and don't forget this...

My daughter waiting patiently. She knows what to expect so she brought a book!!

Beautiful presses that need some tlc and a good home.

My big purchase. A set of new old wood type.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Making paper again

This is a large sheet of paper made from kozo fibre that a client ordered back in May or June. Unfortunately it has been such a humid summer that I couldn't work with the kozo fibre until just recently! When it's too humid the fibres go mouldy too quickly or they don't dry properly and end up making a very soft floppy paper. The ideal time for working with kozo is when it is dry and cold. I did that in an unheated studio in Japan when I was apprenticing with Richard Flavin. We took turns thawing out our hands over a small portable kerosene heater. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interesting day.

Image of intestinal tract letterpress tattoo

Today was an interesting day. A curious cyclist stopped by to see what the studio was all about. I talked to him briefly about the Book Arts, letterpress, paper making and hand binding and then, while I worked on setting up a chase for an order, he took his time looking at all the prints, broadsides, cuts, type, etc. After a while he brought a half tone over to me. He thought it looked like intestines and wanted to know if that was what the image really was. From just looking at it I had absolutely no idea! I'm not familiar with what intestines look like. I decided to do a quick proof of the cut. I still couldn't really tell what it was. It kind of looked intestine-y. I passed the proof to him... yup. Intestinal tract with esophagus!! He loved it... then he asked if I could print it on him! Ummmmm... no, he didn't mind that it was going to be printed with rubber based ink as long as it was black.  Okay! So I gave him some alcohol and a tissue to de-grease wherever he wanted the print. At first it was his wrist, then it was changed to his torso... okay... 

I inked the cut in black with a hard brayer and then pressed it by hand into the side of his stomach. Good thing he was really fit otherwise I don't think it would have printed as well as it did! After a bit of clean up around the image with vegetable oil and a cotton bud (he was impressed that I had the rubbing alcohol, veggie oil and cotton buds!) the pseudo tattoo was ready to dry - I hope. He suggested I do a sideline at the studio in temporary tattoos using images from the cuts. Hmmmmm. Some not too attractive images of me pressing inked cuts onto skin in all sorts of places grossed me out and I told him probably not.

He was happy anyway. He bought the actual cut of the intestinal tract, took several of my business cards and, after I told him that I considered him to be a partially porous surface and that the ink would probably dry in about a day, he thanked me, shook my hand, told me his name, jumped on his bike and rode away. 

I'm not sure how far he was riding but it was pretty hot today. I hope he didn't sweat too much and smudge my hard work!
Printing a half tone of the intestinal tract on Dave's stomach.
My husband took the picture!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Surprise show!

Top postcard by me. Bottom postcard by my friends at Pomegranite Press in Oakville.

You may remember that I contributed to a letterpress postcard swap in the spring of 2010 entitled "Greetings from...". Well, i've just found at that the collection of postcards is part of an art show entitled "Fine and Dirty: Contemporary Letterpress Art" at the Minnesota Centre for Book Arts. It will be up until Oct. 16th, 2011. If you are going out that way please check it out! Apparently it will also be travelling to a few other states... but probably not Canada. Too bad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Letterpress workshop projects.

Works done by participants in the spring letterpress workshops.  I won't be doing any summer workshops. This summer is going to be busy with trips and visitors for me... and it's way too stinking hot!! The two colour prints are from the Letterpress 1 workshops and the one colour prints are from the Intro. workshops.

These half tones look awesome inked in gray!

Hand inking on the "new" old flatbed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

These pictures were taken in March on our way home from a vacation. We were at the Buffalo International Airport on our way to pick up our luggage and there in front of us was a display of letterpress broadsides! I made my family take a detour from getting our luggage so that I could have a look. The Western New York Book Arts Centre were given a small retail space to set up a display promoting the Centre. Cool! It made me think that Buffalo was a pretty cool place to have this in their airport! A few weeks later, at Wayzgoose, I talked to some of the people representing the Centre and they assured me that Buffalo was not a cool place - except for the WNYBAC. The work coming out of there is pretty amazing and it looks like they have a great resource of type to use. Hopefully I'll get to go there someday soon. By the way, Richard Kegler who is affiliated with the WNYBAC, has a documentary film called "Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century". It documents the work of Canadian graphic designer, Jim Rimmer, who was also a type designer, caster, and letterpress craftsman.
I bought a copy of Richard's documentary at Wayzgoose but I haven't watched it yet as I want to watch it in the right company - meaning not with our daughter!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Toronto Mini Maker Faire This Weekend!

This weekend is the first Toronto Mini Maker Faire. It started in the U.S. in 2006. It is now held all over the U.S., Britain, Africa and now Canada. The Toronto Mini Maker Faire is being held this Saturday and Sunday at the Evergreen Brickworks on Bayview Ave.
"Makers" are people at any level who are dedicated to the act of creating in that DIY style. The Faires are a chance to bring "makers" and the public together to share ideas, create collaborations, create new projects, come up with new ideas as well as compare notes. It's not just Artists and crafters! It's scientists, hackers, musicians, filmmakers, writers, architects, engineers, etc.
I'll be there demonstrating letterpress printing (old fashion DIY!) and I'm hoping that I'll have time to look around. There are going to be 3-D printers, snowflake cameras (?), and robots! It's a family event and it looks like there will be some really cool, mind expanding things for children to try.

Check out the website for participants, directions and other cool info:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy people printing!

I've been a bit sloppy in remembering to post photos that I've taken during workshops. Sorry to all my students who have not seen their photos here!
I find it amazing and really wonderful what participants come up with in a very short time for letterpress projects! No photopolymers. Just old school cuts, engravings, wood type and metal type. Take a look...

Erin printing a small edition book cover.