Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry 1887!

sleepy monkey cat

I went home for the holidays and got to take a closer look at my press, which is currently in storage in New Jersey. The press move was a such a blur, I didn't have time to take a close look at the thing.

Like the serial number on my Chandler & Price 10 x 15 Old Style, which is located on its dirty dirty platen. According to this list, that means this press dates from 1887. That's old. And when you're old, along the way you acquire a great deal of dust and grease and lose some parts.

One thing I'm wondering about is whether I should look for a saddle for the (not present) third roller. A third roller would help in inking large forms, although I have seen C&P's being operated with either two or three rollers. Hmm. I will have to investigate. To Briar Press!

I'm also researching the dimensions of the wooden feed and delivery boards. I'm lucky to had a Dad who's a woodworker and willing to help me make some sparkly new ones out of birch or maple.

All in all, the second inspection was very encouraging. Both the platen and the inking disc look smooth, although they'll need a good cleaning and the press seems to have been well maintained. The motor may even be salvageable!

mmm. christmas log.

Lastly, the traditional picture of the Buche De Noel that I helped decorate. It's a cake that French people try very hard to make look like a log. And it's delicious.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

And thank you for reading...



Saturday, December 19, 2009

It snowed.

A lot.

This has hindered my plans for driving to Delaware today and has left me with no choice but to play video games and drink coffee instead. Did you know that after getting 9 lives in Super Mario Bros. your lives become symbols? So you can have Crown-Brick lives!

It's true!

Perhaps due to the snow, there is now something living in my wall. Something with little gnawing teeth that kept me up last night . I would like to tell that critter that unless he/she is a mongoose and planning on coming out soon and becoming my mongoose friend, I am not pleased with this arrangement. Not at all.

Lastly, I also finished these business cards for the husband of a friend. It's their one year anniversary, which is the paper anniversary, so she is getting him these as a gift. I think that's the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

These were very good practice for precise trimming on the guillotine paper cutter. The guillotine, while being an enormous time saver, has always made me very nervous because if you are not paying attention, you can ruin days of work with one bad cut.

Happily, I feel like I'm getting better at it, calmer and more focused, and these came out very well. Nicely centered and even all around.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stalking Cats

This cat does not know his picture is being taken

The little orange feller has been hanging around campus for a few weeks now, he's very skittish. I took this picture from inside the studio while he was outside enjoying himself eating grass. I think it's the closest I'm ever going to get to him. Why won't he return my calls? Flashes of Quincy!

Well, I've also been printing. I finished these cards for local blacksmith, Zack Noble. Silver on French Paper's Muscletone Black. Very nice. He's got a new website which is also very nice, you should take a look.

That's pretty much it. Finishing up odds and ends. Going to roast a chicken tonight. Going to attempt to drive home 10 hours with my cat and said chicken together in my car. It's always nice to go home for a visit. I can't wait to see my friends and family around Philadelphia.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Brought to You by the letter "F"

The F mug.

It's a shame that the letter F has some bad connotations, because it's a lovely letter. It's my favorite letter to write in cursive. It's fun to say in words like filigree and fennel and. In letterpress, you get to use ligatures with it. Fascinating.

I've been reading Elementary Platen Presswork by those Polk boys and the picture below says it all. Finally, a readable, informative, basic guide to platen presses. Without fear mongering.

isn't that beautiful?

And lastly friends, for whom I wrote this book. Inspired by taking a walk in the woods, "For You" is a small edition, letterpress book handprinted by Huldra Press. The text is set in Gill Sans and the images are linoleum block cuts. Each book is signed and editioned. There are only 36 copies.

It's now available in my Etsy Shop.

A flicker.


Monday, December 7, 2009

New Holiday & Recipe Cards

All available at Huldra Press's Etsy Shop

Huldra Press Holiday Card : Available in Blue or Green

My first holiday themed cards. Not being a fan of Christmas colors and holly and such, it wasn't the easiest card to design. But I'm happy with how they turned out. Yes, there's red and green in there but not that red and green. It's subtle.

Gift Tags too

Everything I've been printing these last couple weeks has been using the vintage wood and metal type in the Penland shop. No photopolymer plates. I'm going to miss having access to all those unusual little ornaments and drawer after drawer of tall wood letters, so I'm taking advantage of them now.

About a month ago, the school got a donation of wood type, I loved the simple wood borders and used them for these recipe cards. They remind me of an old movie theatre marquee.

kind of like this

4" x 6" recipe cards

printed front and back

It's winter, so that means cooking, lots of it. Roast chickens, soups, scones, and of course, rosemary potatoes. This afternoon, I made oatmeal raisin cookies for my mechanic. An honest mechanic deserves cookies.

Sunshine, Lollipops & ...

Monday, November 30, 2009


My roommate Joshua gave me that beautiful mug.

This last week, I've been working in the letterpress studio. All by my lonesome with a thermos of coffee, some snacks, and Pandora radio (lately Hall & Oates and Psychedelic Furs). I'm making new work... recipe and holiday cards, postcards, and gift tags. My goals this winter are to branch out with my color palette and work more practically and efficiently. It's good, I'm learning a lot and making things I'm excited about. I love working alone. At my own pace.

Last weekend, Jason, Wes, and I went to Knoxville to get off the mountain and see the drawing show that Rachel Clark had been so kind to invite Beth, Mark, Jason, and I to take part in. The show was called Seven Times Standard and each artist submitted seven drawings. Thank you Rachel, for inviting us and for your hospitality.

Mark Warren's wind drawings. Take a look at his blog to see more.

This is one of the drawings I did. A bit Pythonesque.

Knoxville was a refreshing breath of car exhaust and concrete. God I miss the city. I liked how industrial it was, with railroad tracks crossing the downtown, and garages at every corner. I got to visit Yee-Haw Industries, but was too shy to ask for a tour. I did get a nice nuthatch card though.

Monday, November 23, 2009

POST spelled backwards is TSOP

That is what I found out after printing a proof of my new postcards and realized I'd set the letters backwards. I did consider making TSOP cards. I do love TSOP. Love Train.
But I decided to go with the more conventional Post Card. This one will come in two color schemes. I think I'm going to do a series of cards like this with layers of type and ornaments.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Via Penland Show at Rebus Works

I'm so happy to be part of this wonderful show again this year. Rebus Works is in Raleigh, NC. The opening reception is December 4, 2009 from 6-10 and the work will be up until January 30, 2010. I'll be showing a series of drawings from the summer, and my new letterpress edition book "For You".

Layers, mixed media on book page

from For You, letterpress

There's more information about the show here. Hope you can stop by!

On another happy note, I am done with my work obligations as a core student. This is a joyous occasion. Mike and I will be moving to Philadelphia in early spring, and I will be working on getting my Chandler and Price press up and working. Till then, I'll be making paper, making books, some new stationery, and making some phone calls looking for a job. So if you know anyone who is looking for a studio assistant in Philadelphia, I would love to assist a printer, bookbinder, or conservator to keep learning about what I do. Thanks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Anne Lemanski Business Cards

I recently finished these business cards for Anne Lemanski, sculptor and former resident artist at Penland. She is exhibiting this weekend at SOFA Chicago and needed a new set of business cards for the busy weekend. The text is all set by hand and the rabbit, a drawing of one of Anne's sculptures, is a polymer plate. Anne chose the colors, a deep rich red against a bright blue, and I looks great. One thing I love about doing custom work is that the client might pick something you never would have thought of and it opens up your palette to new possibilities. I printed them eight to a sheet, front and back, so I had to be very careful in my measurements and cutting. It all worked out. And I hope she has a great weekend at SOFA. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

L is for Letterpress

I have such fond memories of Sesame Street. Especially the segments where they would go to some kind of factory or other business and learn how things are made. So when I was scrolling through my Google Reader and saw this video posted by Birddog Impressions, I had to pass it on. It made my day. 

Two kids go to the printer's to get a poster made so they can find their lost dog. Awesome letterpress footage ensues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rave to the Grave, y'all...

Poster by Jason Burnett

Halloween is tomorrow. Here at Penland, this is kind of a big deal. We have a party and everyone dresses up in handmade costumes. So far I've heard whisperings that a paint by numbers cat, a half polar bear half bridesmaid, and Brian Wilson will be attending.

Jason Burnett of Cakeboy Industries made this fantastic silkscreen poster featuring local legendary blacksmith Elizabeth Brim (with a leatherface mask) wielding a chainsaw. So tomorrow, Jason and I will be cutting up trash bags and splattering fake blood everywhere to set the mood. The theme is "rave to the grave" so get ready to do just that.

If you're in the area, there will a contest for best costume and the Scream Queen and King will be crowned. And yes, prizes will be awarded!

A couple years ago, I went as a Ghostbuster.

the beer in the pocket is a nice touch

This year, I will be once again mining a classic early 80's piece of film, this time Scanners. I'm not cool enough to be Darryl Revok so I'll be Kim Obrist, the female character in the movie.
So if you see someone dressed as a drab Canadian with a touch of grey and a nosebleed, that's me. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New and old

I took some time last week to update my website by adding new work and removing old work. Those of you familiar with my website will notice that there is no longer a photography section. I may not take pictures very much anymore, but I think the muted colors of a Polaroid will always be in my mind and in my work. Goodbye photography section.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Goats and Graph Paper

And Goats :: Huldra Press

My friend Erika asked me to make a book with "goats and graph paper." I thought, yes, this is where it's at. This is a great commission. If anyone else would like any combination of paper types and animals, I will make it, because I had a lot of fun making this book. Thanks Erika!

:: the text block is entirely graph paper ::

:: handmade paper covers with vintage paper bits and letterpress ::

The Odyssey of the Press

It's official. I own a press. All 1,500 pounds of a Chandler & Price Old Style 10 x 15 platen press neatly disassembled in my grandmother's garage in New Jersey. It needs some cleaning. New rollers, new motor, but it's in good shape. No welds or other funny business.

The story begins one month ago. I saw a post on Craigslist for an old printing press in a basement for very, very cheap. I called the seller, told him I wanted it and would pick it up in a few weeks. Done and done. Crystal clear... right?

I said, I want that! I mean, don't you?

I won't go into all the details, but fast forward to last Friday, after driving ten hours from North Carolina, my boyfriend and I found ourselves stranded without the address to the house and with a seller who would not answer our phone calls. Not good.

The next morning, we got the address! But the seller had to go into work. We would not be able to start at 9 AM like we had planned. And then later he wouldn't answer our phone calls. Again. Not good.

So like any reasonable individuals would do, we just showed up. With a U-Haul. And the resolve to not leave without a press.

We got very lucky because the seller's brother-in-law showed up, let us in, called the seller and said, hey, these nice people just drove ten hours to give you money, maybe you should be here. Thank you brother-in-law.

We started taking apart the press at 5 PM and unloaded it a 1 AM. The move went fairly well, except for a few baffling moments. Like this classic.

Oh crap.

I'll just say, it's amazing what you can do with a few come a-longs and ratchet straps. Thanks to these brave men, Mike and Dave, we got this beast taken apart without turning anyone's legs into hamburger.

my boyfriend really knows how to roll up ratchet straps.

I really do want to say thank you to my friends and Mike for helping me do this. Thank you to all of you who lent me equipment, lugged things, drove hours and hours, and hung out in a dusty basement for six hours with me. I couldn't have done it without you.

I'll keep you posted on the process of putting this thing back together. If everything goes right, it 'll look something like this.