I decided to try to set type for one of my poems today. I’d managed five or six lines with some success, but this is a three stanza, 11 line poem–a challenge. The first stanza went well, and I slipped the 14 pt Caslon off the composing stick and onto the press. I locked it up with some furniture and magnets temporarily and turned back to the type cabinet to work on the next stanza. Five lines later and I was ready to slide it off.
I hadn’t realized the composing stick wouldn’t fit in the chase, so I had to try to pick up the type with my fingers, holding spacers to keep the lines of type together as I slid it off. Well, you know what happened.
Elizabeth heard me groan as the first two lines of the second stanza fell onto the bed of the press. Tiny metal letters everywhere. I had to start again (and with my eyesight, that’s not easy).
Next time, I’ll go from composing stick to press bed. Then I’ll put the chase around the type and lock it up. Duh.
And–this weekend, I’m headed back to the Visual Arts Studio for a refresher class. Onward.
A few days ago, I tried to make a poster with both wood and polymer. I realized quickly that the when I place the plate on the base, it raised it enough that the roller touched the wood but not the polymer. Also, the wood printed in random places. I expect some differentiation. After all, these letters are old–some are damaged, worn, and chipped. But there’s something else going on. I need to measure carefully to see that it’s all type high. Maybe some paper under a few of the letters?
Today I’m going to try putting the polymer on something other than the Boxcar base. I’ve read about people building bases under type to be able to make it work. I love figuring this out….
And the ink.
And the condition of the wood type.
I think a normal person would have focused on one aspect of learning letterpress. I am feeling slightly overwhelmed as I explore magnesium cuts, metal type, polymer plates, and wood type. I’m making progress, but I need to keep better notes–not my strength.
I signed up for an online class in Adobe Illustrator today and learned a lot. But I have to remember that this will all take time and lots of practice.
In my spare time, I need to clean my new type cabinet. The mildew is making me sneeze. But doesn’t it look official?
Now that I have my press/type/stuff moved to Water Street Studio, I can settle in and figure out how to do this. Yesterday I practiced with my limited wood type. I am missing letters and the “K” is broken, so the result was only adequate. I did manage to set a line of metal type and finally got it to print without smearing. Next purchase–more wood.
This morning I figured out how to scan Elizabeth’s line drawing into PS and then place it in Illustrator, rasterize it, and upload it to make a polymer plate. My first few attempts were not black and white, so the plates split into four, each with a different color (CMYK)–not good. (Am I even using the right terminology?) But my last version seemed to work. Fingers crossed.
I am hoping to get the plate so I can make posters for First Friday. That should keep me busy….and one day I’ll begin writing agin.
My type arrived in two cartons from #letterpress things in MA today, and I nearly broke my back getting it inside the house. (Sorry UPS guy.) Luckily I have two extra type cases so I can split them. Otherwise, I’m not sure I could even carry them down to the studio. So tonight I’ll be separating the type, letter by letter and number by number. I have to say–I’m looking forward to having all the stuff in one place so I can finally work. (14 and 24 pt Caslon–it’s gorgeous).