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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What's up?

From the last ABC's of Letterpress class.
Matt's form ready for lock up in a chase. It's set in an adjustable mini chase that I bought at John Barrett's Letterpress Things.

Jay's dragonfly laid out.

Type with character from Karen's piece.
Visiting the Richmond Hill Book Arts Guild with Paul Moxon, Emily Cook, and Kirk Weppler.

The board at the Richmond Hill Book Arts Guild.

Paul M. and Emily C. checking out an old Adana manual at the Richmond Hill B.A.G.

Form for a broadside...but I changed a font after proofing.

Final broadside with font change.

Photos from the Massey College letterpress collection at University of Toronto where I attended a Round Table style discussion on Print and Letterpress.

A hand these! 

Hand carved portion of a wood cut advertisement.

Vandercook No. 1! Very low tech.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New batch of vintage wood type orphans for sale at the studio. I cleaned them and everything!
Printing my paper bags.

Proof for a broadside. I ended up changing some of the fonts.

Meeting Paul Moxon at OCADU

I took Paul Moxon's Vandercook Maintenance workshop last weekend. Whoa! So much to learn! We were given some detailed notes with illustrations to keep (YAY!) which will be extremely helpful when I take apart my SP15 to check and clean it. I was happy to see that I knew several people in the workshop. Joe Borges of Pomegranite Letterpress, Kirk Weppler of Pressmade and Kate Houston were all in some of my past letterpress workshops. Nadia of Inkpetals and Kevin from The Papaer Trail (they are also members of the Richmond Hill Book Arts Guild) were also there as was Kiva of Popolo Press. It was my first time to meet Kiva but we had corresponded a few times by e-mail and she has a wonderful studio in Montreal.
It was a lot of new information for all of us I think, but it will be really useful. Paul has SO much detailed knowledge of Vandercooks and it's his head! I was really impressed at how thorough he is in his research! I hope I can keep some of what I learned swirling around in  my head!
The Vandercooks at OCADU are probably in the best shape that they've ever been unless Craig Black has also seen to them. We did some hands on dissecting and cleaning and Paul checked to make sure we had done everything thoroughly and correctly...what's the use of taking it apart if we're not going to do it all correctly!?!
After the workshop on Saturday I was lucky enough to have time to get a drink with Paul and Kirk at a local pub. We chatted about Paul's work and teaching and then the subject of me teaching and my studio came up...yikes! Paul asked to see my studio and I protested saying, "It's a mess!!" but we eventually went to the studio where Paul took a look at my Vandercook and Sigrid's Vandercook (they aren't too bad!... sigh of relief) and I showed him the messy studio and my paper making workshop downstairs. The man makes paper, too!
Afterwards we went to have dinner and drinks near the studio and my husband joined us. We talked about all sorts of things other than letterpress...

Paul showing us his digital type high gauge for type and cuts.

A portion of the tools used in maintaing and cleaning a Vandercook press.