Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011


:: Georgia # 2 ::

:: Eastern Missouri # 2 :::: North Carolina # 2 ::

My friend Shane Darwent just launched a website. He takes incredible photographs and makes sculptures inspired by the sights he's seen in his travels around the country. Last fall, we collaborated on a portfolio as part of a show at Rebus Works.

The idea was simple, Shane selected a series of image of basketball hoops and mailed them to me. When I received them, I laid them out and began "altering" them with a mixture of drawing and collage.

I wanted to make marks that accented the tight composition of Shane's photographs, obscuring and highlighting parts of the photograph.
:: Tennessee # 1 ::

We ended up with a portfolio of five which happens to be the number of players on a basketball team.
:: Ava, MO ::
Shane and I are interested in producing a small edition of prints from the originals. I'll keep you updated on the project as it develops.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Animals and Minerals

:: mineral ::

I recently added a new group of books to my Etsy shop.

:: wild cat ::

Very simple and neat.

:: okapi ::

They are bound in light natural linen book cloth, with inset vintage encyclopedia illustrations of animals and minerals.

:: cacomistle ::

If you would like to see more or purchase a book, please visit my shop.

:: letterpress printed page ::

Monday, May 23, 2011

The First Print

:: first print ::

This weekend, after a year of searching and false starts, cleaning and oiling, adjusting and taping, I finally pulled a print on my very own press.

It may not look like much, but this print is the beginning of much, much more...

Note: In case you're wondering why this print looks the way it does, it was a test print to make sure that the platen, the flat metal surface on which you lay your paper, was perfectly parallel to the press bed, the other flat metal surface on which your type sits. To test this, I set type in all four corners of the chase (the chase is the frame that holds your type, see picture) and adjusted the platen until all four corners printed evenly and equally.

If you're trying to do this, here's the information I found most useful.

How to Adjust/Level the Platen on a Chandler & Price

- First, make sure your rollers are set properly (this is an entirely different animal)

- Spray the platen adjustment bolts with some WD-40 and let them sit for a few minutes. While you're waiting you can do this. (adapted from Green Dolphin Press's FAQ's)

Get a cap M or H, 48 pt. or larger, something you're certain is type high. Tape a 2 pt. lead to the face. Find a piece of string a couple of feet long and tie one end around the sides of the type. Remove the tympan and all packing. Close the press, stopping it with the platen lock (under the delivery board) snapped into place and the rollers at the top of the plate.Grasp the string and let the piece of type slide down between the platen and bed on the left side. If it won't go in, the platen is too far in. If it rattles around, the platen is too far out.

- Each bolt has two nuts. The one closest to the platen, top bolt, is the one that actually raises or lowers the platen. The one furthest from the platen, bottom bolt, locks the adjustment in place. It must be loosened first to make an adjustment and then tightened once the adjustment has been made.

- Get
two wrenches.

- Use a wrench to loosen all the bottom bolts by turning them counter-clockwise. Using the type on the string as a guide, judge where the platen needs to be adjusted in or out.

- Now you can adjust the platen by turning top bolt. Turn it counter-clockwise where the platen is too far out, this will raise it and close the space. Turn it clockwise where the platen is too far in, this will lower it and increase the space.

Make you adjustments slowly, bit by bit, back and forth, using the type on the string as your guide. To lock your settings, hold the top bolt with one wrench, and tighten the bottom bolt with your other wrench.

- Put on your rollers and ink up the press. Set 4 48 point or larger, definitely type high pieces of type in all four corners about 5 picas from the edge of the chase. (see picture). Put in regular packing, a sheet of tympan paper on top, a piece of red board bellow, and a couple sheets of text weight smooth paper under that. Pull a print and take a look. Add packing if needed.

Where it's printing light, raise the platen, where it's darker, lower the platen. Look at the back of the sheet too to see make sure the impression is the same in all four corners. Remember, make your adjustments slowly, back and forth. Every time you make an adjustment, lock it in, and then pull a print. This will take a while, when you move one, it will affect the others slightly, but eventually you'll zero it in.

- Congratulations, you just leveled the platen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thoughts on Books

Yesterday, I had a particularly good day at the used bookstore and came home with a heavy stack of books. Looking at them made me wonder, how can you replace books with screens?

In my opinion, you can't. A book is to be enjoyed for its design as well as the information it contains and unlike a screen, it ages, often in beautiful and unexpected ways.

perfect tape

This is Cape Light, a book of photographs by Joel Meyerowitz. It's one of the first photography books I fell in love with.

catchy title

I have always wanted to get more acquainted with minerals.

These reproductions of crystals are so lovely.

In 6th grade, I think I was the only kid psyched to go on a geology field trip, which included going to a quarry, checking out some strata, and looking at core samples collected by geologists. It was awesome. I should have been a scientist.

The Boy Mechanic

Lastly, do you ever have the sinking feeling we're getting worse at doing things? All things? If not, you haven't yet read "The Boy Mechanic," a collection of 800 projects a boy should be able to do, such as weave a hammock, build a canoe, or build your own homemade electric locomotive model and track system.

Now how do you feel? Yeah, I thought so.

I love books. I love them as objects and for what they contain. I never want to live in a house without books. I can't even imagine what that would be like. Maybe books will end up like records, no longer mass market but still enjoyed by a small group of loyal enthusiasts. We'll see.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Custom & Retail

:: Janeya Cooper ::

Recently, I printed business cards for Janeya Cooper, instructional designer and technical writer, who supplied me with the design. Her design was perfect for letterpress, simple, colorful, and textured. I printed it on 220 lb Lettra, which allowed deep impression, especially for the blind embossed dots, without showing through on the other side.

Other than that, I've been focusing less on custom work and more on retail goods. Recently, I've had the good fortune, to have my books and prints added to some wonderful stores and galleries, including, the newly opened Blue Gallery in Provincetown MA, Cog & Pearl in Brooklyn NY, Rebus Works in Raleigh NC,'s official, the Penland Gallery in Penland NC. I'm thrilled to be working with all of these wonderful people.

Also working on some new books to add to the Etsy store, so be on the lookout for that in about a week. Five of them are going to be "special edition."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gone Thrifting

:: mikasa plate ::

I went to the thrift store yesterday to look for old books. It was not a particularly good day for books, but I found some things, including a very pretty, large Mikasa plate.

:: wildlife encyclopedia ::

I did find one book, the A's of a wildlife encyclopedia, which I'll use in my books. I also learned some interesting facts about anemones, amphiuma, and the organizational habits of arctic foxes.

:: sweet little cup ::

Lastly, this little cup, made in France, with mushrooms and vegetables all around. A good day, with inspiring objects.

I've been thinking a lot about what I will want to print once the press is running. Postcards? I like designing postcards. I want the first few things I print to be made using the type I have in the shop, no polymer plates. Then again, I want to draw. Mostly though, I've been thinking about color, which will be my jumping off point regardless of what material I choose.

My roller gauge is set to arrive on Thursday, meaning I'll be able to set my rollers by this weekend. Oh, this is so exciting! Everything rests on you, lollipop-shaped tool!

:: picture via letterpress delicacies ::

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fortune Cookie

A fortune cookie told me the other day, do not let what you do not have, prevent you from using what you do have. I answered, how did you know I was secretly obsessing over not having found a Vandercook yet? It replied 39 5 12 4 7.

That cookie is right. It's so damn right. I'm lucky to have a space and great little Chandler & Price just waiting to get to work. Yes, I still want that Vandercook. Really bad. But it may be awhile before I find the right the right price.

Yesterday, I took pictures of the galley cabinet, type case, and now furniture cabinet I've decided to sell. There is now a flickr set with measurements, descriptions, and prices of what I am selling to make room in the studio. I'll be posting it on Briar Press soon too.

While I was there, I shot a quick video of me turning the flywheel of the press, so you can see the motion of the press. Plus you get to see how awkward I am around cameras.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Press Month began on Sunday with the addition of a two new type cases to the studio. As you can see in the photograph below, I have not yet found space for said type cases...It looks like I will be playing a little studio Stackenblochen.

:: Type Type Type! ::

But who can resist type!

Borders, ornaments, and oh so much more...

...and glorious, glorious wood type.

No, I couldn't resist. This means though that I am cut off.
That's it. No more. My 500 square foot studio has reached capacity.

By the way, this month, I'll be selling a single type cabinet (with type) and a galley tray cabinet, that also contains type, dies, and spacing material. You, dear readers, have first dibs. Please email me if you're interested.

So here we go, Press Month begins, and I submit to you this "before" picture, and we'll see where we are come June.

:: before ::

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Press Month!

That's right, Press Month has begun. May is the month that I have decided to devote all my time and energy to getting my little C&P running and generally, putting the studio in order so that things will run a bit more efficiently at Huldra Press. Thanks to the timely arrival of the tax refund check, I'll be able to do all these things and also pay the rent.

:: that's Junior ::

It's been two months since I bought the press, during which I've given it a thorough cleaning and added oil to all the oil points. So now, when you give the flywheel a good push, it all the parts move smoothly and silently, which is very, very good.

Next, I need to
- level the press
- adjust the platen
- adjust the rollers using tape
- reattach the feed boards
- reconnect the variable speed motor

And print!

Since I don't have any exciting photographs of this great endeavor just yet, instead I'll share some things I've been looking at.

I really love David Neale's jewelry and recommend that you take a look at his charming blog and website to see the variety of work he makes. And I want these very badly.

A group of (handmade!) sketchbooks by the artist. Beautiful color and pattern.

There's something wonderfully 90's about this album art, if you follow the link, you can see a video clip of the booklet which comes with the cd, which is quite nice.

The Giant Wave of Fog

:: altered image from a glass plate negative by Huldra Press ::

Last night, I dreamt about a giant wave of fog, as tall as a mountain, rising up and up until it curled and fell onto everyone below. I remember saying, "here it comes," and we all held our breath and closed our eyes, as if it would crush us, but instead, it blew over us, for many minutes, and then it was gone.

It was strange and lovely image, and I'll be thinking about it for some time.