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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!

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!

What Day is it Anyway?

November 2017
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