24 February 2018

Wood type, metal type—my type!

I've recently fallen in love with letterpress. Printing began this way—metal or wood type assembled into a layout, inked, and then pressed into paper, creating a printed sheet with a distinctive low-relief texture that I love. I've attended lectures, workshops, and classes, and am hooked.

This piece is my most ambitious to date, created at Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, in a class on the broadside. I've always loved looking at and designing posters, and that is essentially what a broadside is. Historically, many have been ads, or promoted a politician or a point of view. My piece honors five books and their authors: I've read and been deeply moved by each of them.

The large ampersands were printed on a simple sign press; the rest of the elements were overprinted on a Vandercook press. The second photo shows my unfinished lockupthe arrangement of type and graphic elements, all held in place by an intricate arrangement of pieces of wood, large and small, and smaller pieces of lead, brass, and copper. Working this way severely limits your ability to control spacing between letters, and you can also be limited by the fonts available in the shop where you're working, e.g., there just may be no "Y" available in a font that's otherwise perfect for your layout. But that's part of the fun, unique challenge, and beauty of traditional letterpress.

I'm looking for opportunities to do limited edition work in this medium, so please contact me if you're intrigued.