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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!

Another set of note cards available on Etsy!

Get off my lawn! Damn Kids.

Get off my lawn! Damn Kids.

Printed in crazy circus colors of blue and orange on vintage bright green paper, a maniacal clown bursts out of a paper ring and lets you know he doesn’t appreciate you stepping off the sidewalk…

The clown image was printed from an antique copper printer’s cut, or block. I thought it was just a clown until I pulled a test print and he was all screaming and pointing and… OLD. Weird.

Cards come in a set of four with 4 blue envelopes. Colophon has another creepy clown on the back of the card.

Scary Baby Clown

Scary Baby Clown

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

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.

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

In order to complete my membership requirements for the Amalgamated Printer’s Association, I had to print up 155 copies of my proprietor’s card. It is like a business card, but in 3×5 format, I assume for the extinct Roladex…

Prop cards have to have your contact info, a bit of press info and exude your image. I’m pretty disappointed in how this card came out.

Prop Card

Prop Card

The type I have is old, and well-used, so finding crisp undamaged characters is difficult. The underline of “Lock and Key Press” is the only one I have, and it is nicked and dinged up in several places. I don’t mind that so much… My pretty pretty shadow font is so beat up, I can’t set more then five letters without one of them having a big old gash in it. Such is the nature of these utilitarian antiques, though.

I’m also disappointed in my lack of typographic skill here… I’m a great typographer, good with layout and have an eye for figure ground relationships. This arrangement of type on the left hand side bothers me. Its cramped, and dense. It looked good on proof, so I don’t know why I changed it, and didn’t pay any attention to how awful it looked.

First Proof with mispellings etc.

First Proof with mispellings etc.

But this is the 1stgen prop card, and will serve its purpose for now, but I will be redesigning and reprinting the whole thing because I don’t want this to represent me for long. I’d like to actually have my lock logo on the card, similar to my banner here and in my Etsy shop. I should know better than to make something like this. Ugh.

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.

I was approached by an acquaintance to print a set of wedding invitations for a happy couple three weeks ago. The client already had a design, made plates and bought paper. My part was to do the actual printing. The design was lovely: silhouetted wildflowers in sage green against a cream background with black text.

Now the paper was beautiful, but my little C&P just couldn’t give a good print on the linen finish.

bad printing

bad printing

I tried printing on the smoother side of the paper, upping the packing, and adding more ink, then thinning the ink, then putting a sheet of make ready UNDER the plate, etc. etc. and still, that linen finish that is so pretty just wouldn’t take a punch. The horizontals and verticals on the paper surface, that make it look like its woven, showed through no matter how much pressure I applied.

So, after calling a few people to ask if there was any trick to printing with this paper, I decided to rig up the cylinder Poco proof press to print the second color. rigged poco

Worked pretty well, even though it took a lot longer with hand inking the plate for each print. The prints were much more consistent, and the texture didn’t show through the more solid areas of the image. Pretty good, pretty good.
better print

flickr

Graphic Arts Monthly issues

Mid-flight snooze.

More Photos

What Day is it Anyway?

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