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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!

Last weekend was the Amalgmated Printer’s Association Wayzgoose, also called the Playgoose, and the Iowayzgoose because it took place in Mt. Pleasant Iowa.

Mt. Pleasant is a middle-of-nowhere kind of town. Unmarked roads, faded vinyl siding, its not too much to see really. But they have the Midwest Old Threshers, a big fairgrounds with several buildings on it, all housing turn-of-the-century equipment for industry and farming, even a few exhibits on homestead technology from when the Pioneers settled and farmed Iowa and the surrounding region.

The Midwest Old Threshers is also home to a wonderland of giant steam powered machines, including a steam-powered electric generator from a mental hospital that generated its own power up until the 1960s:

A life-size Steam Locomotive Train on a 1.25 mile track around the grounds:

And even a Printer’s Hall with a steam powered printing press!

This year, the Annual Great Northern and Midwest Printer’s Fair ALSO coincided with the Annual APA Wayzgoose, making this event a double-your-fun, double-your-excitement weekend.

I camped out over the weekend, out by the trolley tracks (yes, they have a working trolley too!) and a lot of time exploring all the museums had to offer. Steve Alt, one of the volunteers there and an all around awesome guy (who not only prints on a 100 year old press powered by an antique gasoline engine, but also restores antique cars and engines), gave me a few great tours of the place. He took me into the boiler room and its his voice you hear in the first video explaining the mechanics of the generator. He also got me into the cab of the No. 9 and on the caboose for a ride around the track!

He let me print a few pieces on his Gordon Press for the APA print exchange bundle, which was so much fun! I used it powered by the engine, and also foot-treadled it manually. Its a fantastic little press!

A Few Prints

A Few Prints

The Swap Meet was great! There were a lot more vendors than last year, and a lot more people from the outside I think. I sold a good amount of things from Mr. Meers, and then put a lot of the rest into the auction. We made some good coin at the auction! I was very pleased. I ended up selling 75% of what I had lugged up there. Awesome!

I got to put a lot  of faces to names, which was good too. Many people I’d “met” on printing forums or mailing lists, and never spoken to face to face. Now, I’m proud to actually be able to call them acquaintances. I got to rub elbows with of the fellows from the Hamilton Wood Type Museum,  Jim Moran. We talked about workshops and events up in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I hope I can make it out there in December for a presentation by Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print.

It was a really great weekend, and I can’t wait for next years Wayzgoose in Huntington, W. Virginia!

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!!!

NOTE: I’m a dumb ass and my boyfriend just informed me i’ve been mixing my metaphors. Like booze and sleeping pills, it could be dangerous. The title of this post was supposed to refer to the phrase “Wet behind the ears” but I confused the saying with someone being “green” as in “new and young to something”. So alas a new phrase, “green behind the ears” is born meaning: to have not yet participated in one’s first ecologically conscious craft show…

My set-up

My set-up

Well, I did my first big craft show! I’m so proud! It took a lot of work and preparation, and today, I chill out a bit and don’t really want to look at my press (my print pulling hand still has some blisters that need to heal, for reals).
Left End

Left End

Right End

Right End

The crowds were alright for the show. I don’t really know too much about what to expect this time of year, during that weather etc etc in regards to turn-out of attendees, but its seemed like there was a good flow of people.

I am a little disappointed in the amount of sales and such though. I’m pretty sure its not my fault (I Am good enough, people like me!), as a few other vendors where wondering where all the sales were too. But, really, I suppose we should have expected it in this economy…

One thing that really killed my sales was my table location. See, I picked a nice corner spot, thinking that I’d be right by the doors where everyone came in. I guess The Powers That Be decided those doors were Emergency Exits only, so instead the main entrance was at the exact opposite corner, putting my table at the end of the very last row. Unforeseen switch-a-roo there… BAH and FIE!

The other things that I hesitate to complain about because they were pretty awesome, were the Fashion Show, and the Bands. The Fashion Show went on for almost 2 hours, and while it was very cool and participants got their work show cased, it literally blocked off an entire aisle of vendors from any traffic at the busiest time of the day.

The last thing I’m going to have to keep an eye out for at other shows, is : Do Not choose a spot directly in front of the band stand. While I had a front row seat for several great acts including Raw Earth and Red Card Royale, it was hard to converse with customers, and I think a lot of shoppers avoided that corner because of how loud it was. Also, there were belly dancers that accompanied Raw Earth. They were EXCELLENT. I loved it! (One gorgeous woman even asked me to dance with her but I was so intimidated I couldn’t. She was too beautiful and I was unworthy…) But anyway, awesome as they were, it created a bottle neck in front of my table. Lots of people hovered to watch the dancers, but no one wanted to walk in the narrow space between us end cap vendors and the dancers.

Belly Dancers

Belly Dancers

I’ll hand in these observations as notes for next years Green with Indie.

All in all, for this show being the first show in the area of its kind to focus on sustainable goods, up-cycled art and craft items and be billed as a No Waste Event, it was a complete success! April Tate of Miss Lemon fame of the STLCM did an amazing job organizing the whole thing and booking the entertainment. (I don’t know when that woman sleeps.)

Webster U was gracious and we had no problems that I know of with the event being held in the gymnasium. Hooray! They’ll let us back next year?

I also got to meet some pretty kick ass fellow Craft Mafioso, like David from Cranky Yellow, Kate of Red Anvil Art (she traded me a necklace!!!), Katie from Scarlet Garnet, and Shelah of Destroyed by Design.

I met some other great crafters (and colleagues I hope) like Sparrow Studios, Chef Jeff, Secret Leaves Paper Works and lots of others who are linked on this page.

Next big shows coming up are the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show July 31 – August 2, and the Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo Art Fair. Also, check out some of Lock and Key’s printed Ephemera for Sale at Cranky Yellow, on Cherokee Street at Nebraska in Saint Louis Missouri.

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.

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. )

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