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A friend of mine recently bought me dinner in exchange for a a few hours of printing instruction on his new Golding Official No. 2 Printing Press. It was a fun time, showing him how to clean and keep up his press, some basic type setting and making a list of supplies he still needed before he could really get rolling. I really love teaching people about printing (my first love, er, well second after my Other Half…)

A Printing Student Pulling his First Prints

A Printing Student Pulling his First Prints

So I got to thinking, maybe I could offer private letterpress printing lessons. Over the last coupla years, I’ve had people ask me if I could teach them how to use their new press, or if they could come to my house and learn to use mine and see if they should make the commitment to buying a press. (I always wished I could, but my print shop is the size of a postage stamp so two people in there is really hard to maneuver. ) Also, several people I know have presses that just sit unused because they’ve become discouraged trying to teach themselves to print with a press that might just need a tune up, or with type too worn for a crisp print. These are problems a few good Lessons could really help empower New Printer!

Here’s what I’m thinking: say you just bought a cute little table-top 3×5 hobby press from eBay for the affordable price of one arm (let’s hope you had the forethought not to pay with your printing arm), one leg and your first born child. It needs to be cleaned up, and you’re just unfamiliar enough with the mechanics of a table top press to want to start taking it apart. That’s where I come in.

You send me a message, and tell me you just got this press, and we set up a time for me to come over to your house or studio or class room, wherever the press is kept(its easier to go to it, than bring it to me). I’ll bring with me a small box of supplies in case you’re not sure what exactly you need yet. This way, you can get a good visual of any tools or miscellany you might not have acquired, and some hands on experience with things like quoins and gauge pins.

First things first, you will learn the Care and Feeding of your new little Kelsey. We oil and clean, adjust the platen, tighten loose bolts or pins, adjust the rollers, getting quite intimate with the machine. The lessons would be billed by the hour, so we can take as much time as your schedule and budget allow, but for the sake of example, today you only have 2 hours to spare. We get the press clean and moving freely for now, while setting up another date for Lesson 2.

Then maybe you’d like to know more Basic Printing, learn some typesetting skills, more vocabulary, make-ready and packing the platen. Perhaps Lesson after that if you want to keep going is getting more in-depth typesetting techniques down, or working on locking up your forme. It can be tailored to what you, the student needs as you progress. Then, one day you won’t need me anymore. *Sniff. *Tear. But I’ll say “So long for now, Good bike, Good bilt, good bauble!” because I’m just terrible with good-byes. You’ll be printing on your own, with hands-on knowledge to get you off on the right foot.

While I’m no Paul Moxon, I do have a bunch experience on Vandercook proof presses, C&P platen presses and a myriad of other table top proof presses so I could help get the ball rolling with more than just your little table top lever presses. I’m imagining all these sessions to be informal and a lot of fun for both of us.

Is this something you budding hobbyists would like to have available? I’m sure to get responses about “I wish you were in my area!” and maybe that could be worked out, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll schedule a Tour!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

A new year already! Sheesh how does it ALWAYS sneak up on me? Lock and Key Press has had a tumultuous year, full of lots of wonderful things, and a few really awful things. But like they say you have to take the good with the bad. But right now, I’m just taking time off.

Since this almost 2 year shuffle between Chicago (<3) and Saint Louis (</3), I've become extraordinarily burnt out. Working 7 days a week, lots of heavy lifting (see previous posts), and a lot of emotional stress (its amazing how many calories you burn with worry) necessitate a wintertime hibernation period.

I've done the holidays, eaten my fill of cookies and egg nog, welcomed the new year under a Blue Moon and now I’m taking off my shoes, putting on my sweats and not taking them off til spring, or until I get too bored and have to put my apron on and get back to printing. It is a well deserved winter vacation, and hopefully the spring will bring about a more stable existence for me with more time printing and snuggling cats and boyfriend and less time on the Amtrak.

To you and yours, a Healthy, Wealthy, wonderful 2010! See you in a few weeks, refreshed!

Come out to LUSH on Armitage in Chicago Lincoln Park tomorrow night from 6:00 til 9:00 pm for an event I can’t remember the name of, but was asked to participate in last minute!!!

Apparently, businesses all along Armitage in Lincoln park are featuring local artists and artisans and Lock and Key Press will have its goods set up around the shop for sale! OMG!

There is another artist going to be there, as well as food from Karyn’s Raw Cafe, a raw foods restaurant here in town.

So spread it around! if you’re in Chicago and want something fun to kick off your Friday night, come get some delicious bath and beauty products and hand made letterpress prints!

Well, things are going alright over here in Chicago. I’m working my butt off getting this equipment sold, and getting things in an organized manner about the shop area. I keep uncovering more and more and more STUFF.

Along with so much printing equipment I could be set for decades, I find lots of trinkets and things laying around. They are stuffed in drawers, under boxes and tucked in corners. This is one of the best finds this week:

Gas Mask!

Gas Mask!

That’s the kind of thing you find in a Veteran POW’s basement! I also uncovered a whole other galley rack, but it was too dark for pictures, and he hates when I take too many pictures.

Today, we moved an ELrod Slug caster, 4 empty Ludlow mats cabinets, a standing stitcher, a Ludlow Supersurfacer, and we did it all by ourselves. Well, we had a truck with a lift gate, some skids and a come-along. So that helped. But it was still hard work. I’m filthy too. I suppose I should go shower. I can’t think straight enough to make this post any more interesting anyway.

Its been another lead and cast-iron filled coupla weeks in Chicago, and boy am i bushed. My computer was out of commission for a week because I spilled coffee on the keyboard. but I bought and installed a new keyboard, so its up and running! I lost a list of people who had purchased spacing from me, but I think I’m getting them all back so far.

Mr. Meers and I did a lot of cleaning. We had many appointments for purchasing some of the equipment, and made a few significant sales! We’ve got an offer on a large lot of his hot metal casting stuff, but I’m wondering if we’ll find any takers for the Linotype things. Seems people are giving it away for the hauling out of the basement. We can’t compete with that kind of pricing!

I’ve had some success with Briarpress.org, and with craigslist ads, which is good. Craigslist keeps things local and Briarpress helps me reach the right people. If I can keep up this pace, maybe we’ll actually make a decent dent in the piles and a few dollars for Mr. Meers!

I found some cool WW2 memorabilia that Mr. Meers had from being Prisoner of War. I set a big box of stuff aside for his family to go through and told them any letters or things from when Mr. Meers was in the Air Corp that they don’t want, I will take and give a good home. I’d hate to see it thrown away, but it seems like Mr. Meers daughter doesn’t want much pf anything by the way of heirlooms.

I even got a few more areas cleaned up in the print shop. The C&P, Mr. Meers favorite, is uncovered! Its dusty and needs a good cleaning, but its intact. The Heidelberg is uncovered to, and his daughter exclaimed, “I haven’t laid eyes on the Heidelberg in years!”. Which amazes me. There was so much paper and junk and boxes of random stuff piled on top of it you couldn’t see it and its probably about 2/3 the size of a VW Beetle original style!

I cleaned off another type cabinet full of shiny new never used type! Its a gorgeous steel front Hamilton cabinet, with a slant top for composing and a rack for leads and slugs. (I will put up some pictures in a bit, I gotta find the hose for the camera…)

So right now, I’m back in STL for a few days to love on my patient and understanding boyfriend, get a kitty fix and clean my house, and then Wednesday i’m off to Chicago again for a whole month to continue this project.

What Day is it Anyway?

November 2017
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