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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

May 31, 2006

More pics from the letterpress class

The rubber-based inks are thicker than I expected, and can be mixed to match standard Pantone swatches.

The printshop is on the left side of the central gallery. You can see three flatbed presses here, and racks of reglets and furniture along the windows.

A line of type, on the composing stick, upside down and backwards.

The brass bottles in the foreground contain California Wash (large) and alcohol (small) for cleaning the ink off the presses. The metal canister contains ink in Rubine Red. In the background, you can see a clam-shell platen press, as well as more racks of furniture.

A couple of students designed custom letterpress stationery. I like the way this student (a graphic designer) mixed the point sizes and typefaces here. That's more complicated to do, because your pieces vary in size and you have to build around them to make them stable.

Another example of letterpress stationery. One student made her own wedding invitations (not shown--too much personal info!), and another made thank you cards for her cousin's wedding. The student shown in the printshop picture above made business cards (she's a visual artist) and coordinated blank greeting/thank you cards for galleries, etc. Those were really cool, because she impressed the cards with uninked type for an embossed effect. (We'd seen a broadside example using a similar idea.)

Each drawer is a different typeface and point size. (This is just one side of the central work area. There are many more!)

I didn't get any shots of them (and they don't allow photos in the gallery), but the walls of the whole studio are covered with broadsides, even in the bathrooms. There's poetry everywhere (even some of yours): Lisa Jarnot, Ange Mlinko, Rene Gladman, Rodrigo Toscano, Patricia Carlin, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Joe Elliot, Patricia Spears Jones, John Yau, etc.

At a table in the back corner of the printshop, a book artist was working on a big orange leather-bound hardcover. As I walked by, I saw that he was piecing "Gravity's Rainbow" on the spine in black-shadowed blue letters. (I guess he was basing his design on the classic Viking cover.) Then I noticed the other books on the table, all leather-bound, awaiting their lettering, including a big tan one with a tooled "V." I assume the rest were also Pynchons. Yeah, might have to take that class too. Imagine, being able to recover your favorites!

Obviously, I loved Letterpress I. Now that I have, I'm eligible to rent the presses, so I'll definitely be back. (Got something you want letterpressed? I'll do it for free, if you provide the paper, and we can split the press rental? I'm a member, so it's $12 an hour. Not sure if that includes typesetting time, or just the press time. I'll have to check.) You could take it too. Or at least stop by for one of their events, and take a peek around the place.



  • thanks so much for these reports! I took the Letterpress Lab class this spring, after getting hooked on printing in a one-day workshop elsewhere, and I'm going to take the Letterpress I class in August so I can get more familiar with the CBA space and qualify for rental time. Your broadside looks awesome. And heh, I'm impressed as hell you got a three-print-run piece done and looking so good in your first outing. In the two-day lab class, I ran into a disaster scene (the backing sheets came loose and caught in the printer, requiring the whole thing to be cleaned and reinked, and a dozen or so of my letters to be reset), and didn't get the second-colour run finished on my project. Ah, letterpress printing. Such a harsh and fickle mistress ;)

    By Blogger Stacy, at 8:29 PM  

  • thanks, stacy. maybe it wasn't quite so trouble-free as my report made it look! but at least my packing paper didn't explode--eek. still, i think the active problem solving and hands-on cause-effect dynamic is so absorbing/addictive. if i had the space and $$, i'd love to have my own letterpress.

    you might check scott pierce's blog for more. he recently got one for effing and has been blogging his projects.

    By Blogger shanna, at 12:56 PM  

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