Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Printing Experience with Letterpress

Dear Mom,

I went to a good friend’s, The Mullen’s house to set type and print my own bookmark. Several years ago I had the pleasure of setting type at their printshop—a group of us together created a piece, but Saturday it was all me.

With my favorite quote picked out, Carole helped narrow down my selection of type. They have over 900 fonts to choose from. After looking at four choices, I chose Grolier (24pt). We used Garamont 14 pt for the author’s name.

Bob and I lifted the case (looks like a drawer) of type out of the case stand onto an area where a metal holder (called a case bracket) keeps the case slanted while you pull type.

I was reminded to place the text into the composing stick upside down and backwards. I let the experts put in the proper spacing and then I’d start the next line.

After the entire quote was set, we took it over to the proof press to take a look at my first print. Unlike a computer where you can hit the delete key and correct your mistake, you had to pull the type from your form and either replace it with the corrected type or like in a few of mine, I had the letters backwards.

All type has a little notch (called a nick) in the middle of the type body that allows you to know which way to place the type. In my excitement I had a few in backwards. I corrected my mistakes and ran another proof.

There’s a hand ink roller that I’d roll over the text, lay a piece of paper on top and another sheet on top of that and crank the handle and the type moves through the big cylinder press roller imprinting on the paper.

I had two more mistakes. We ran it again. In the meantime, Carole had me pick out some designs that I might want to use with my quote—quills, inkwells, books, etc. She ran a proof of them and I cut out each design and laid it on my proof to see what looked best. The ink well with the feather seemed the perfect choice. I loved the row of books, but I knew that wasn’t going to work with my quote.

We added the design cut and ran another proof.

It was decided to make a few adjustments and I wanted to add: Printed by Lynn Obermoeller at the Mullens’ Printshop. We used Garamont 8 pt.

Another decision was needed with the type of paper and ink I’d use. Again Bob and Carole narrowed my choices and I preferred the gray with black ink. They agreed it complimented my type and design.

Bob cut the cardstock with the monster paper cutter and when I say monster, I mean monster. This would easily slice off your arm. Extra caution is used and it was left to the expert.

Before we ate our yummy lunch of veggie burgers that Carole prepared, Bob inked the 1907 Chandler & Price printing press. A dab of thick ink was added on the circular metal piece (ink disk) and as the press churned, ink spread evenly on the rollers and the ink disk.

My typed quote needed to be blocked into a square metal holder (called a chase) using wooden pieces (furniture) and an expanding metal wedge (quoin)—it has a hole in it. A key is inserted in the hole that allows the quoin to expand to tighten the entire piece in the metal holder. You then tap it to make sure it’s not loose—as you don’t want pi(e). See Carole’s blog on pi for a detailed explanation. Carole’ blog (Lasting Impressions) is about growing up in letterpress. You’ll learn more about letterpress in a fun and interesting style. And if you want to see more about my printing experience, then check out Come Over and Print!.

After lunch Bob set the gauge pins for the placement of the bookmark. He cut a scrap piece the size of my bookmark and printed a sample. We checked it over—fine tuning it. We lowered the inkwell and feather and moved “Printed by” just slightly by pulling out a spacer and moving it to another spot.

With everything lined up, no errors in the type we were ready to print. Bob showed me what to do, how to place the paper on the machine, to turn the heavy flywheel and viola, my beautiful bookmark.

I could seriously become a hobbyist letterpress printer—and the Mullens are the best teachers.

Thanks Bob and Carole!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sentimental Box

Dear Mom,

Your grandkids will get a real kick out of what I found in my sentimental box—an Honorable Mention for Art—at Ferguson Jr. High where I attended my 9th year of school.

I wondered if it was a joke, but I’m sure it’s authentic. (It’s kind of janky but there were no computers back then and things were made by hand.) In that same box I have a calligraphy piece I did in Art Class (got an A-) and I’m guessing that’s what received the HM. Makes sense that I would get HM for something to do with the written word as my drawing skills are… not so good—unlike all three of your crazy artsy grandchildren, who have won (real) awards for their art.

Funny too, that of all the quotes to write in calligraphy, I’d pick that one. (Didn’t have a boyfriend at that time, and who knew I would end up not understanding much about love as I grew older.)

But it’s all good now sista! And viola~this is my 100th blog to you!

And if Dad were alive, today he’d be 99!

The Honorable Mention Award
The Calligraphy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Silver Dollar City

Dear Mom,

In a previous note to you I mentioned we never went on vacation and I was fortunate enough to go camping with Jeannie, but I forgot to mention a trip I took with the Pondrom’s to Silver Dollar City. I’m guessing it was the summer of 1970 or 1971. We all piled into a bus—a school bus that was converted into a homemade RV—the Pondrom family with four kids and myself, the Behlmann’s with three kids, and the Hassenbiller’s with at least one or two kids.

The bus broke down. I don’t know the details of how we got started again but we made it to our destination. We stayed in these cabins that had a pool. The day we went to Silver Dollar City was a treat—seeing how people did things back in the olden days—making taffy, basket weaving, shoeing horses, dipping wax to make your own candle. I was pretty sure I still had that candle. I went through my sentimental box and there she was. Can’t believe that candle is nearly 40 years old and it somehow managed to stay in tact and travel with me through my many moves.

I’m sure adding another kid into the mix wasn’t up Mrs. Pondrom’s alley but Susan got her way—and I’m glad she did.

Decided to display the candle so it now sits on a shelf in the living room.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Gentleman and Scholar

Dear Mom,

First of all, I’m back. I shall be writing weekly versus daily in order to get some other writing accomplished (hence why I had the wrist issues as a little warning sign).

I wanted to tell you about my son’s girlfriend, Allison—an artist (like my son). On her blog, The Reimold Effect, she painted a picture of Casey and it is absolutely amazing.

Mom, this is what your grandson would look like if cleaned himself up—not that he’s dirty—he just chooses to wear cut off pants, tshirts from long ago, a skull cap on his head and no shoes on his feet. If you saw him walking on the street, you’d think he was homeless. But it doesn’t take away the fact that he indeed is a gentleman and a scholar.

I know a few people who may not agree, but Mom I know you can see what I know in my heart—that my children have turned out to be some incredible, responsible, talented, loving young adults despite the turmoil I have put them through. I’m so blessed and so grateful.