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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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Admit it. You like a steamy romance novel now and then. Fabio the Pirate rescues Evaletta, the Mermaid Princess and makes sweet sweet underwater love until Evaletta’s evil Mer-king father finds out and – well, you know how it goes. But I bet you wouldn’t be caught dead reading that novel in a coffee shop. no no. Coffee shops are where you bring your Kafka and your Pynchon to advertise to the world how cultured and well read you are. But you really want to find out if Evalette lives through that avalanche, without the scrutiny of your caffeinated peers.

They look great on the shelf

They look great on the shelf

Enter the BOOK COVER!!! Yes, you can wrap your romance novel, your biography of Richard Simmons, or The History of Paper Clips in an air of secrecy while you sip your latte. Give people a clue about what tome you peruse by using the labels appropriately, or just put on the brown cover labeled BOOK and keep them guessing.

Borrow books a lot? Friends tired of you forgetting you have their copy of Pride and Prejudice? Wrap your on-loan volumes in a BORROWED cover so you don’t forget to whom the must return! You can even write on the cover to keep a record of who you borrowed from and when! COOL!

Book covers

Keep them organized

These covers are highly functional! They keep the original dust cover from being ripped, torn and otherwise abused in your purse/knitting bag/back pocket, while at the same time preserving the cover of the book whether it be hardcover or paper back! A few simple folds and VIOLA! force-field of protection around that copy of Why Cats Paint!

On the Shelf

Superior protection against nicks and dings

The Cream colored set is letterpress printed from vintage wood type, hand-inked in blue, brown and orange for a unique marbled texture, and set includes 4 covers, one each of FANTASY, MYSTERY (not pictured), BORROWED, and FAVORITE.

The Green set is 2 covers, FICTION and NON_FICTION printed from wood type in brown on textured green paper.

And not in a set, but sold individually, is a brown textured linen finish paper stock printed simply with the word “BOOK” along the spine. Durable and reuseable!

But if you want them you’ll have to come by the Green with Indie craft show next weekend. They are sure to go fast, so shop early and often!

The book plates are done. Have been for some time, but I’m lazy and sometimes the internet is a jerk. Here they are in their purposed application:

Modern Bookplates

Modern Bookplates

A fellow Craft Mafiosa, Courtney W. of Twisted Handmade, has featured Moi on her weblog! Head on over there and read my babble about design, letterpress and the economy!

Inspired: A Moment with Lock and Key Press

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Come Craft Your Guts out at the STL Craft Mafia‘s first traveling Open Craft Night!
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On Thursday Feb 19, at Soulard Art Market, from 6:30 to 8:30, we’ll be hanging out and making stuff – this is our first traveling Stich ‘n Bitch ‘n Drink (bring your own drinkies) and everyone is invited.

Bring whatever you want to work on and chat with your fellow crafters. There are plenty of outlets, so sewing machines are welcome! We’ll be knitting, scrapping, beading, sewing, gluing and more…

Tell your friends, bring some drinks and snacks. This is a free and open Craft night. See you there!

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The Soulard Art Market is on the corner of 12th & Russell in Soulard, it’s very easy to find.
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Valentines!Click to visit my Flickr and see more images of these being printed.

Finally! I’ve been slacking on these like, big time. Remember those sheets of Valentine’s you’d give you friends in elementary school? My little sister inspired them, so here they are!

valentines

Candy Colored Valentines in sheets of six candy-themed tear-apart cards. Front of cards say “I’m sweet on you!”, “Be Mine, Sugar.” and “I’m a sucker for you among others. Reverse has To and From spaces to write your name and the name of the lucky recipient. Two holes will be punched on the edge to allow a lollipop to be attached!

Check my Etsy on monday to get your in time for Valentine’s Day!

Third week of classes and they are going well. Everyone is working hard on their personal projects.

Letterpress Fundamentals, with only two students, is really cooking. They learned to lock u a forme, and register two colors, from which we printed a collaborative broadside.Forme lock-up
Students printing

The Digital Letterpress class made a bunch of photo polymer plates of their unique art work, and are working on printing their projects. Polymer plate making
Arranging Negatives for making plate.

These back-to-back classes wear me out, but its a lot of fun. We’re starting a Student Collection of prints created by the individuals who take classes at Firecracker. Its growing steadily and is full of beautiful pieces of art! i’ll take some pictures next week.

This week I was accepted into the Saint Louis chapter of the Craft Mafia! I think this is very cool, and it will be very good for Lock and Key Press. I hope to be networking and craft fair-ing with all the members for the duration of my stay in Saint Louis. To see who’s who and who makes what, check out the newly added tab above titled Saint Louis Craft Mafia. All the members will be listed soon! Their are some incredibly talented people in this group and I’m proud to have been chosen to work among them!

Also, I have received my Membership packet from the Amalgamated Printer’s Association. I’m quite excited about this, as I’ve been asked by many of the printer’s I admire “Are you in the APA?” Now I can say YES! I am! Number #843! They even sent me a little tiny logotype that says “Amalgamated Printer’s Association MEMBER”.

member!

member!


All I’ve got to do is print up 200 copies of my “prop card” and send it in to make my membership “official”. So that’s what I’m doing today, as well as writing up the last bits of class materials, and making some color proofs for wedding invites I’m printing.

Maybe this momentum will continue and I won’t feel so much pressure about finding a full-time job…

Firecracker Press is offering the following courses for Spring 2009 Just in Time For Valentine’s Day!! Instructor is Yours Truly of Lock and Key Press! (Except the woodcuts class, which I’m probably going to take.) Call (314) 776- 7271 to register!

LETTERPRESS FUNDAMENTALS
Letterpress Fundamentals is a comprehensive five week course focusing on the traditional methods of letterpress printing. Students will learn the tradition of setting metal type, by hand, using our collection, make proofs and corrections, operate a Vandercook printing press and our antique platen press, mix ink by hand and learn the ins and out of paper. Each student will create an editioned piece of their design to exchange with all students, so everyone leaves the class with a small portfolio of fine prints! No prior experience needed.

Course schedule (5 weeks):
Saturdays from 1pm-4pm
Jan. 24th – Feb 21st

Cost: $245.00 all materials included
(Additional type deposit of $25.00 is required.
Refunded barring no damage to equipment.
Separate check please.)

LETTERPRESS TECHNIQUES
Letterpress Techniques is a loosely structured class focusing on exploration of composition, inking, finishing and creative thinking with letterpress tools and equipment. This class will consist of several demonstrations with lots of time for students to apply their own ideas and interpretations of the techniques learned while creating fine prints using wood type, metal type, and antique printing blocks. Students with their own woodcuts or linoleum blocks are encouraged to bring them to class. No prior experience needed. This class is a great precursor to Letterpress Fundamentals, and can be a fun addition to the Woodcut or Digital Letterpress classes.

Course schedule (1 day):
Sunday from 11pm-5pm
Jan. 25th

Cost: $125.00 all materials included
(Additional type deposit of $25.00 is required. Refunded barring no damage to equipment. Separate check please.)

DIGITAL LETTERPRESS
This course is a great way to combine old technologies and new ones. In this class students learn how to take their own computer based digital images and create photopolymer, relief plates that can be printed on our Vandercook printing press. Students will learn how to create a digital file, make a film negative of from the file, and then make a photopolymer plate using our platemaker. The Firecracker Press provides materials to get students started. The cost of specific project needs is up to each student and all additional materials can be purchased through The Firecracker Press. No previous experience necessary, but Letterpress Fundamentals or Letterpress Techniques is strongly suggested.

Course schedule (4 weeks):
Saturdays from 9am-12 noon
Jan. 24th – Feb 14th

Cost: $185.00 + $45.00 materials fee
(Additional equipment deposit of $25.00 is required. Refunded barring no damage to equipment. Separate check please. )

WOODCUT BASICS CLASS
Introduction to woodcut tools, materials, transfer methods, woodcutting techniques, inks and inking (brayers and press), paper, printing techniques. Students will dive into woodcut production using supplied materials and printing using supplied woodcuts, with self-guided projects to come. In addition to unique prints each student will create an editioned piece of their design to exchange with all students, so everyone leaves the class with a small portfolio of fine prints! The Firecracker Press provides materials to get students started. The cost of specific project needs is up to each student and all additional materials can be purchased through The Firecracker Press.

Course schedule (4 weeks):
Tuesdays from 6:30pm-9:30pm
Jan. 27th – Feb 17th

Cost: $185.00 + $45.00 materials fee
(Additional equipment deposit of $25.00 is required. Refunded barring no damage to equipment. Separate check please. )

Things I must do Today:

• price brown kraft cardstock at Xpedx

call Mr. Niehaus about Tulsa Hub job he die cut for me

• cut paper for mini-valentines

• print mini-valentines

• layout address books

• Drink more water, i’m getting a headache…

What Day is it Anyway?

September 2017
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