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Printer's Fair

Come to Mt. Pleasant!

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Come to the 17th Annual Printer’s Fair in beautiful Mt Pleasant Iowa! Come to play with the Printer’s Hall collection of type, presses including Vandercooks, Heidleberg Windmill, Babcock newspaper press(steam powered!), and this year’s debut machine The Hickock Ruling machine, a marvel of technology! See the Linotypes in action, pull a print from an iron hand press or presses powered by antique gasoline engines.

If you’re looking for supplies or to build up your collection of type, stick around for the Swap Meet and the closing Auction. Have stuff you’d like to sell? Get a table to peddle your surplus.

Event begins on Thursday with workshops, demonstrations and camaraderie. There will be instruction on various pieces of equipment, playing with type and lots of shop talk! Friday sees vendor set-up and more work/project time. Saturday is the Sale/Swap Meet from 8 am sharp til 12 noon. Auction begins at 1 pm. Come ready to bid and get a great deal!

Accommodations include local campsites and motels. For details on the event, lodging or a table at the swap meet, contact Chuck Wendel at pchazman@hotmail.com or (319) 241-2999 or Rick von Holdt at vonholdt@netins.net or (515) 677-2301

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!

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!

The what now? The Wayzgoose! Only the most important letterpress printing event of the year, duh.

Wayzgoose 2009

If you are a letterpress printer, printmaker, graphic Designer, historian, tech geek, type geek, letterpress printer n00b or just curious about steam power, you NEED to be at the Old Thrasher’s Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa September 17 – 19, 2009.

The Amalgamated Printer’s Association will hold its annual Wayzgoose event where you’ll meet other members, participate in demonstrations, work on your own prints, play with machines like a Heidelberg Windmill, an iron hand press (Like Gutenberg used!), a steam powered Babcock press, Linotypes, Ludlows, and bears OH MY!

Then, Saturday is a big old Swap Meet and Auction! Come get a new hand press to play with, buy type, supplies and all manner if nifty things you didn’t know your letterpress shop needed but you MUST have. I’ll be there selling as well! I’ve got lots of treasures, but I’m not telling you about them, its a surprise.

So get your lazy can off the computer and start planning your September events calendar!

Calling Card

Calling Card

After the proprietor’s card I made didn’t meet my standards of quality, (too bad I printed up 700 of them…), I decided to make a new business card in actual business card size. Opting for more of a calling card style, I printed up these simple and elegant business cards. I hope these convey a more relaxed and social message, like “Hey drop me a line anytime!” because I like being friendly.

The ink is a light grey with some silver metallic powder in, just for kicks. I used vintage coated linen finish black paper with a deckled edge.

The LKP monogram is made with Hollywood Initials, a new old stock in the box lead font. The other lead type is Franklin Gothic and an unidentified serif. Garamond I think.

I carry these around in my wallet, and when they are gone, i might even make more, because I do like them very much.

Oh by the by, that cute little easel? Its a fork. Yep. A fork, made by the talented Mister of Courtney Hyper the brains (and beauty) behind Hypercraftive. Check out her stuff on Etsy too!!!

Dragon Girl Note Cards

Dragon Girl Note Cards

I LOVE these cards. This Dragon Girl is so adorable! Look at her cute little feet, and her innocent smile. Plus, she’s got a dragon! Hanging on to him like he’s a plushie, and he wraps his tail around her so gently and lovingly. Yeah I REALLY love these cards!

The cut these cards are printed from is unique and antique. I found it in a box of old printing cuts I acquired. The really cool thing, is that it is 2 pieces that are not original to each other. The dragon girl is a professionally made magnesium cut from the 1940s. During its life someone decided that she needed to be a 2 color cut and then HAND CARVED into a wooden block the sections of blue for the dragon’s body. The juxtaposition of the two cuts is so interesting.

Dragon Girl Cuts

Dragon Girl Cuts

Printed on vintage coated yellow card stock in purple and teal with 4 white envelopes. Available on Etsy!

Now available for sale on Etsy.

Happiness

Happiness

Happiness Note Cards. Hand letterpressed using antique lead type and a Victorian woodcut. Soon to be the last prints of the cut, as it is very old and delicate and won’t stand up to being printed for much longer.

Happiness Detail

Happiness Detail

Set of four cards, blank inside, single fold with plain white envelopes.

A great birthday card, “I Love You” card, wedding congratulations or Baby Announcement! So many things bring us happiness, and this card can express it beautifully.

Happiness Colophon

Happiness Colophon

Pulling a print for the kids.

Pulling a print for the kids.

On Sunday I was invited by Eric of Firecracker Press(where I teach letterpress printing classes), to participate in some demonstrations of printing techniques to coincide with the opening of the Ming Dynasty Exhibit and the on-going Nocturne of Printmaking at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Matty at the Baltimore

Matty at the Baltimore

We dragged two small presses to the museum, a 100+ year old Baltimore table-top press, and a flat bed proofing or sign press. I had a few wood and linoleum cuts to put in the proof press, and Matty manned the Baltimore with hand set wood and metal type. The kids were either very impressed or not impressed at all, and most of them were happy to receive a print or two that I made right in front of them. I love kids and it was a LOT of fun to show them how I do what I love, answer their questions and make sure they used their pleases and thank yous when requesting prints. :) One little African-American girl, maybe 4 years old with super cute hair in tight little pipe curls watched intently and as I lifted a print form a wood block she literally squealed in and jumped up and down in amazement. That cracked me up. I think her mom was surprised at the reaction. Perhaps we had a future print maker in our midst!

Printing on the proof press

Printing on the proof press


Showing the print

Showing the print

The Post-Dispatch was there filming too, so when the video and story are up I’ll post the piece.

Lock and Key will be on Holiday until 2 January so that I can visit with family, get going on some jobs and print up more product to keep in stock.

Have a healthy, happy holiday and a prosperous New Year!

And the garage. And the other garage. And the front room. and the room behind the other garage.
And the stuff in the corner of basement of the room of the other garage.

Yes. I am helping a fantastic old fellow, name of Meers, to clean out his, ahem, collection of letterpress and industrial printing equipment. That he’s been saving for 60 years.

Seriously.

Right now, we are working on liquidating three Linotype machines and allllllllllllllll the stuff that goes with them. (Bids? Anyone? Anyone?)

I’m becoming the eBay Queen! Hopefully I’ll have a good amount of money to give Mr. Meers when it sells. He can really use it.

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Oak Slant Top Composing Top

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