I got to lead a book binding class this last weekend and it was a bunch of fun! I hadn’t done much book-making for some time, so I introduced a few fairly basic styles that can be done at home with no special equipment and with very accessible, inexpensive materials. The participants were game and we all accomplished quite a bit! I introduced them to the proof press, too, so we added another realm of possibilities to the pursuit. And, I got use a lot of my old prints. So, all in all, the participants got a good taste of book art and I got a good reminder of what fun book-making can be and of its potential for art-creation. A good experience on a beautiful weekend!
Here’s some more stuff for paddle fans–this one promotes environmentalism, environmental awareness and climate change awareness. I’m planning on adding another layer of leaves to the foliage and trimming the sheet like the brown one in the upper left. The wooden stick will be the ‘trunk.’ Several of the typefaces I have to choose from are pretty beaten up, but I think that’s okay…it fits in with this message pretty well.
(Also, maybe I should add: the paper is cast offs from a local print shop, most of the sticks are re-used and the ink is hella old…I’m trying to make the most use of materials on hand…)
Here it is, “bust/Old Man Face,” and I’m pretty pleased with the results. My registration is spot-on about 90% of the time, which is fabu, at least for me, and I got some good subtlety in the colors. I will frame a couple of them and then prolly trim down the others for book cover material for a book binding class I’m scheduled to instruct next month. Sweet!
Here are the prints as I worked on them: On the upper left is the first layer of this reduction cut (or, the second layer on some prints where I printed the inked-up block as a background, first). Next, is the 2nd layer and, because I’m trying to learn from my mistakes, the registration is much better (so far) than on other recent projects. I experimented with transparent colors on this to see what kind of effects I can get. Second row left is the result of an application of a transparent yellow; it’s a little hard to see, but there is a clear layer of gloss apparent. Finally, I put on one more layer of transparent color. Look what happened! It’s a layer of transparent purple over the transparent yellow–I love it! I’m hyped. And, amped.
I spent a bunch of time in the printshop yesterday (yay!) and finished up the printing on my next set of paddle fans, “Pyramid of Power.” I made them with cutoffs from the local university’s print shop; the shop is always happy to give stuff away rather than to pulp it. This coated card stock works great for fanning and picked up the ink pretty well. Clearly, the type I have access to is pretty beat up, but it’s working well for my intent. I’m now looking for some American flag stickers to put in the lower right hand corner to fill that empty space. These are for the Fourth of July, but are also for every day that citizens need encouragement to believe that we have what it takes to make the nation of our ideals.
This is the image I practiced with yesterday on the proof press. The one on the left is good (!) and was what I was going for. But, as the other two prints show, I still need more practice: The middle one isn’t the worst one I did, but I think a sloppy insert to the clamp before rolling skewed it just enough to preclude a clean print. The one on the right was even more sloppy, but I trimmed off the edges so some of the ‘slide’ is gone and I think is less obvious. It’ll be a postcard, so that’s okay. Then, since I had the ink on the rollers, I made a couple of postcards:
Okay, I know these fotos are sub-par in quality, but they do show what I was trying out yesterday in the printshop. I applied the last two layers of ink, an opaque light blue and finally, a dark blue. The image on the left is what I was starting with, the yellow and green (which was actually a layer of transparent blue) inks, and the image in the center is close to what I had planned in the first place, with the colors I was interested in and the use of/practice with opaque and transparent inks and, mostly, registration. This print is the second-best version of this plan and it’s clear I didn’t get it perfect. sad. The print on the right is pretty cool-looking, but not what I’d planned. A couple of things I do realize after this project: I should consistently use good quality printing paper; I think that my too-varied variety (lots of construction paper of different qualities and some very nice printing paper) precluded my getting just one good registration position because some of the paper stretched (I think) and messed me up. etc… Another thing is that I should prepare for the project much more thoroughly, from start to finish. Seems obvious, right? Well, I’ll try. Anyway, I’m still pretty tickled, but I know I have a ways to go before I’m satisfied…
This is the stuff going on in my scene: Here are the paddle fans I’m almost done with; this is what they’ll look like, mostly (I’m still figuring out the heart–a lino stamp, or a block on the letterpress, or maybe a cutout heart of other paper? hmm…). I’m pretty tickled so far, gotta say.
The two prints are from some letterpress practice as mentioned below. The purple one will be a book cover, I think. The blue and mustardy one I think can stand alone–I really like the accretion of ink and textures there and will pursue that effect some this summer.
The little flower picture shows what I was treated to when I opened up the kitchen door this morning–Huzzah! The first poppy on that side of the house. Lovely!
I had a few extra minutes in the printshop yesterday and the type on the bed was for the First Amendment paddle fan I’m working on, so I quickly dug around for a few large letters and some cut-offs from the local university’s copy shop and got to it! It took a bit of time adjusting the spacing, but I find that, just a couple of weeks back in the shop, I’m getting faster and more accurate, comfortably.
Here’s the project I worked on the other day in the printshop: I’m a First Amendment ‘fan,’ myself, so I decided to make fans for the group I spend the occasional noon hour with in front of the Courthouse, advocating for free speech and our political beliefs. Another proof reading is needed and I still have a couple of decisions to make about text placement on the back–a little higher?–and about what kind of heart, and what color, to stamp on the front. It should be done by the time it gets really hot.
Here is the first batch of fans. They’re not quite perfect, so I’ll think on it (and see how they work) and figure out what approach I might be more satisfied with. Anyway, hoorah!
I’ve spent a few hours in the print shop of a local community college and have been, slowly, getting back into the print groove…It’s a very different feel from my woodworking classroom and it’s a real relief to be in a bright, spacious and sawdust-free workspace. It still takes a lot of energy and focus, but the reward is almost immediate and the ink smells like home.
printmaking classroom, press furniture, Challenger letterpresses, Cherokee syllabary type