What’s It All About, Alfie?

IMG_0823Egads, I’m dating myself with that headline. Ok, I was in high school when the movie came out in 1966.

But it’s a question I am asking myself often these days. What am I doing with all this letterpress equipment? When I first took classes last year, I fell in love with the tactile art of letterpress, the slowing down as I manipulated type and paper. I knew I had to have a press.

Now I have two. And 100 lbs of metal type, two trays of wood type (incomplete), furniture, a Boxcar base and assorted paraphernalia. The press equipment has almost taken over my writing studio. But I’m drawn to it like my cat to its fuzzy toy.

My friend, Emily, asked me an appropriate question before I bought my Pearl. “What do you want to do with it?” she asked. The answer would determine what kind and whether I bought a second press- well, that, and the fact that our studio is on the second floor so weight had to play a part in my purchase!

I thought back to a few months ago, shortly after I printed my first card. Someone saw it and asked if I could create 30 cards as gifts for volunteers for our Main Street organization. When I finished, I knew I wanted to continue creating prints. Now, I sell some in our studio, and I’m working on setting up an Etsy shop. I may take some cards and posters around town to local bookstores and gift shops to see if they are interested in selling them as well. Some are of my favorite quotes by authors and philosophers; other prints are geared toward holidays.

I know what I DON’T want to do–weddings! As much as I like fooling around with Adobe Illustrator, I realize how much of a control freak I am about my own work. As one of my teachers printed on a poster: “I want to make beautiful things even if no one cares.”

So I spend my days getting my hands full of ink, moving type around in the chase, and creating cards and posters that I love. I discovered early on that I’d need to find the right audience for my poetry. It will be the same with printing. Not everyone will love everything you do. If you don’t create for yourself, you’ll wrap yourself in expectations and get frustrated.

However it ends up, I am loving this journey of self-discovery!

When dreams become nightmares


My husband says I’m prone to exaggeration. I suppose that’s true.

I’ve not had nightmares, really. But they are dreams that wake me, keep me from getting much needed sleep.

The sad truth? They are about printing. I am spending less time in the studio these days, trying to help my husband recover from back surgery. I did take some new type and letterpress stuff there a few days ago. But I haven’t had the chance to print.

Instead, I wake at night imagining myself setting type, adjusting rollers, and printing on my new paper!

It’s consuming me. :)

Draft 9/20/2014

“A lumbar laminectomy is also known as an open decompression and typically performed to alleviate pain caused by neural impingement that can result from lumbar spinal stenosis.”

Her yellow skirt, draped
long across scuffed boots,
followed her into the waiting room
where we sat in hard chairs
drinking cold coffee, watching
repetitive news on the television,
may I interrupt? she asked, raising
her hands above her head
if you need or want a prayer,
please come forward, we will
pray up here together, if you
feel the need, she said
I dropped my chin, stared at
the stain in the carpet while
the family of blond women
with red fingernails trooped up
making a circle around the woman
One by one they rose from
their chairs, and she prayed
for us all as I sat there glued
to my chair, wondering why
they hadn’t cleaned the carpet.


Leveling the Platen

topbottomHaving now tested the platen alignment with John Falstrom’s gauge and email support, and tested it also by placing 48pt type in each corner (the o on the top “TO” didn’t even show up!) , I’m convinced my platen isn’t level. I sure do appreciate the online help, too (thanks Stuart!) One more thing about the “o”… the lockup on the form was not good, so that’s probably some of the trouble. But using this and the test from the other day, it all makes sense.

So, I’m going in. Tools-check. Confidence-um, no.