Friday, August 21, 2009

Letterpress Job

250 of 2 names, 2c Business Cards, printed 3 up on 83 pieces of Newsboard

In between trips to the Fair, meetings in town, a little graphic design and being a mom I printed a letterpress job I have had in the works for a few months. Circumstances beyond my control delayed the whole thing. This economic slow down is hard on everyone especially my small paper supplier in Los Angeles. I have been buying paper from the same guy since 1985 when I first discovered letterpress printing at The Otis College of Art and Design, then the Otis/Parsons College of Design (A Division of the New School for Social Research. Try saying that after a few beers). The paper store is over on 7th, a block and half from the old location of Otis at Grand and Wilshire Blvd. It's a dusty one man shop specializing in printers papers. Business is slow and in order to keep it all going the owner has to gang up his orders to meet the delivery minimums. I guess I could buy paper elsewhere but nostalgia forces me to get it from this guy. When I call him up I can imagine the store, the quality of the air, the angle of the sun in the sky, the deserted street out front, the lake at MacArthur Park so nearby. So I put up with the 4 week delivery time and the half orders in lieu of full orders. The above/below pictured cards are the result of a few weeks of design, a couple hours of production and thanks to the spiffiness of the polymer plate 1 hour of printing. It was at least 80°F in the studio on Thursday afternoon when I was printing. It seems that if it's hot I am compelled to either bake or letterpress print. It was like this in LA too when I used to print in my friend Rebecca Chamlee's garage. It was eternally hot. I am quite pleased with the results on this job. I liked the design even though it was highly influenced by the client. Birds are not really in my visual vocabulary, chickens yes, birds no. I find them a bit over used by the young. I redrew the sample he sent and added the power lines because I knew they would look nice pressed into the news board under the logo. I actually took out a bit of the packing on the press because I was hitting the plate too hard and the fine knocked out type was filling in a bit. The newsboard is thick and can take a heavy hit but in some cases just a light kiss of pressure is more appropriate. Sadly my rollers are not what they could be and the impression is a bit uneven from top to bottom. My set screws are stripped I fear, the ones that hold the rubber rollers at the exact height. Anyway...blah blah blah. One day I will point Mark in the direction of the old girl and get him to detail her within an inch of her life. For now I am happy to print and live with the results which are probably finer than I let on. I love my press, I love the process of printing, I love dinking around with it, cranking the timpin back and forth, walking miles side to side. It reminds me of art school, of hot Los Angeles days when I was young and learning how to awaken what was asleep inside me.

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