I don’t know which I liked more at the Lancaster Printers Fair– meeting/seeing old friends or getting new stuff! Wood type from from John Barrett at Letterpress Things and Virgin Wood, a handmade book from Leland Manufactory, cards from Sea Heart City Press and Typecase Industries, and a letterpress t-shirt! Mostly, though, I loved connecting with like-minded printers, who continue to amaze me with their willingness to share and help.
The messiness of our ideas can often be daunting or discouraging. But if we stick through the mess, if we keep working on the idea, we not only end up with something polished and powerful, we set ourselves apart from the 90% of others who gave up….
It’s tempting to step back from the moments just after our ideas have begun to evolve–when we’ve got a few sentences on the page, or a few strokes on the canvas, or a few words in a map–and say that the idea isn’t any good.
I find I often jump in after the first step of the process, rather than letting ideas roll around in my head. Even though I seem to have the opposite approach, which isn’t always successful, I found this process interesting.
I’ve been having a great time getting to know my new press. I’ve been practicing inking both the wood type I bought and the magnesium cut I purchased from Oswosso Graphics on a variety of paper types. I knew this would take time, and I’m loving every minute.
To make the cut, I copied some lyrics from Graham Nash’s song Our House. Adobe Illustrator lets me outline the type (and place or design graphics if I want). Then the file is sent to Oswosso. A few days later, I get a magnesium cut mounted on wood that I can set in the press. The possibilities are endless.
What I don’t like is cleaning up. I’m using baby oil to give everything a first rub, and then I swish some mineral spirits on the brayer, type, and roller when I’m finished. I’m also struggling not to get ink on the paper in odd places as I set the type. Because my press has an adjustable roller, I can raise and lower it to get the kind of imprint I want. In the process, I’ve managed to put my fingerprints in random places, which of course ruins the print.
Next weekend I hope to drive to Charlottesville to St. Brigid Press to pick up a Hamilton cabinet and some furniture. I’m so excited to see Emily’s shop, which sounds amazing. And she’s a poet. I can’t wait to visit.
I still need metal type, a composing stick, and some leads and slugs. I’m sure this won’t be the end of the list…
But what a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.