There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Progress with the press

This is what the press looked like on tuesday
Full of rust and filth the press roller wouldn't move at all. We thought that we were going to have to change out the barrings but, it just needed grease the elbow and literal kind.

It's starting to look so awesome and everything is functioning so far. the roller now move with the slightest touch. you can see all the griding on the bed. The paper gripper works and all the registration numbers are still on it. Thought this was in much worse shape, so happy it isn't.

more to come in the next few days.
Thanks for reading

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Philadelphia Prints

So lately I've been going around and meeting older printers that used to do letterpress , just kind of talking with them. If they still have any equipment left it's mostly being used for die-cutting and perfing. Some of these folks are trying to move with the times and some are just biding it. It all come down to that though, time. I feel like there is a missing generation of printers out there. There are all these young folks learning book arts/letterpress as art but, not in a real vocational sense. Same goes for litho, with the consolidation of newspapers and the move to digital books. They aren't learning how to convert Heidelberg's to die-cutting for punching envelopes, they're learning how to hand stitch and stuff.

All of that is well and good but, these folks that lived this haven't really been able to pass their knowledge on to anyone and when I meet with these people there is a sense of extinction. They mostly don't even know that letterpress is a living breathing thing anymore or that anyone is excited by it. I feel like the younger generation could benefit from these dudes and the older folk could gain a sense of legacy by sharing with them.

So I'm looking into starting a non-profit.

I'd like to make a foundation/collabrative work space to kind of bridge this generation gap among printers. Stuff like:

-Get the mechanical know how out there on how to fix a Miehle or a Kluge from someone who has fixed them, not a manual.
-Gather up stories about getting your hand bitten by a C&P when you were 10 and not breaking any bones because you were so little.
-Have lecture series about how type was made, from guys who made it.
-Learning how to kern with hand tools instead of computers.
It would also let these older folks see where this stuff is going; deep impressions, photo-polymer and maybe have the old dogs learn a new trick or two. It would be awesome for me to see old dudes who scrapped their type 20 years ago handling type again. Maybe I'm a romantic.

The whole thing is comprised of three major components

1. The collection of older printers stories and knowledge. This would be accomplished by interviews and invitations to teach regular classes. I would put out a general call in the surrounding areas, in news papers and on social network sites, in addition to my (and whoever else is down) continued visits to these old shops.

2. The younger printers teaching vocationally to future printers, most likely high school students, through arts and vocational programs in the city as well as college students. The focus should be a complete one that includes commercial as well as artistic production. I would like to offer classes to the general public but, that will not be the initial focus. I feel like this is the main purpose of the organization, to not let this sort of gap occur again. This will insure that fad movements and whatever's in vogue won't cause a loss of knowledge because it will create a knowledge base in the young.

3. The creation of a collaborative work space with collections of equipment spanning Litho, Screen, and Letterpress. This should be comprehensive in it's approach, including the tools for fine art production as well as commercial work. These facilities would be either free or charge a nominal fee for members of the organization. People from outside the organization with demonstrated skill could rent time and customers could come and bring jobs to the shop for whatever really and we could use those jobs to teach classes.

All together it's a pretty simple but, a pretty complete idea.

I have had a couple of meetings with folks in the print world about this and am meeting with a friend again this coming wednesday to go over the mission statement and draft of the by-laws. I'm working on the business plan. I bought the website. It's all coming together but, help would be awesome.

I'm posting this everywhere because I want the feedback of printers, bookmakers, graphic designers/typographers in philadelphia or anywhere really. Thoughts, concerns, Ideas for funding, offers to help, etc. Leave comments here or contact me at If you read this and it doesn't apply to you please forward it to someone you think will be in to it.

Thanks again,

I've been really busy being unemployed

I was going to write a blog thanking folks and including my hopes for the new year. That didn't happen at all; I got too busy. Here's what's been going on.

I started my crew training on the Kalmar Nyckel, which has been awesome so far. 2 classes down, 9 to go. It's going to be awesome when I can actually go out and sail her but, right now it's mostly knots and safety drills. Knots are pretty fun except I have sometimes work the standing end instead of the bitter end and it gets a little funky. It's a left/right recognition thing. I'll get it soon. Also there is an entire letterpress shop taking the classes and they have been doing projects related to the class. Check them out here.

I've been going around and meeting older printers that used to do letterpress and still do litho. Just kind of talking with them. It's been pretty fun and sometimes maudlin but, it's given me a direction. I'm moving to start a non-profit to address some stuff. I'll post about it later today or tomorrow.

I have also acquired, as of yesterday and thanks to Geoff Kershaw's war wagon, my first press and a mess of wood type. Here are the pics
Showcard press the bed is 23" x 15" the ink plate still turns. I need to replace the ink rollers. The pull is stuck. one of the wheels is in bad shape but, it shouldn't be hard to fix.

Quions and key, Brayer, a proof planer, and a sweet California Job Case chart. Not pictured is 2 chases and a brush for all the...

TYPE!!! look at all of this.
Some of this is rotten or wormy but most has just been dirty. I originally though I had a about 600 pieces but, it's looking to be closer to 900. The biggest stuff so far is 18 line and the smallest is l.c. for a sans font at about 5. So stoked. Cleaning is time consuming but, so awesome. it's really nice to handle all of this.

I got all of this from a dealer in camden. He's got so much other stuff, warehouses full, if you want the info let me know in the comments or call or email me if you know me like that.

I also got 10 13x13" trays of lead. I haven't even picked them up yet. They are sitting at my folks and I should be getting them tomorrow.

Also, thanks to Geoff again, I have 70 lbs of litho ink coming my way with the possibility of more.

So the shop is almost ready. For printing I need wood and lead furniture and quads for my lead. I also need a freaking table the press will fit on and my type drawers will fit under. Also some shelving.

Printing should start in a week or so. Geoff's coming by on saturday night and we are going to make a evening of getting the press in ship shape. Thanks if you read all of this, i'm so excited :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A bout of insomnia

So I was supposed to be getting up in an hour to go to a ship graveyard in NY with my friends Noah and Annette. That is not happening because Noah, in his infinite wisdom, thought it would be dangerous to go jumping around on snow and and ice covered half-wrecks. He and I are probably going to go up once we have a bit of melting, probably next week.

When Noah told me I didn't have to get up at 7, I completely woke up and I put that energy to use. Besides writing this blog here, I put the inaugural post on my other blog, water closet signs. If you can't tell what it's about from the title I don't think I can help you. I also watched "Proceed and Be Bold" My sister gave me a copy. Such an awesome gift. It was a lot of fun.

I'm going to, over the next couple of days, write a thanks list for the previous year and maybe a hopes for the new year post as well. I hope everyone had a restful sleep, I'm going to try to catch a couple of hours now.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

dissapointments and silver linings

In my last post I mentioned picking up keys form Aimee. That didn't happen. She hadn't checked with her studio mates and the put the kibosh on the idea. I'll have to wait until mid January to get back into the shop.

This lead me to two things.

1) that I need my own press. I'm happy using Aimee's type and helping her out but, the fact is, if I'm going to do this right I need ready access to one of these beasts. I have calls out to a bunch of folks and we'll see what comes back.

2) I sorted my own type. It was a lot of fun. Here's a pic

It doesn't look like much but hey, it's mine.

I've been going through all of my old things since this move/the Punk Rock flea market and I think if I sell all that stuff, I I'll have enough $ to actually buy a press. Where to put it is another deal all together.

I had some incredible hangouts over christmas and I have a second date tonight (Tuesday) with a lovely women. I start class next week and Kalmar Nyckel crew program the following weekend. All in all, lots of great things going on in my life. The little bumps along the way just make you pay attention to the road I think.

I think that's it for now.
Sleep tight,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Faerie, Friends, Letterpress, Work

So I've been working since 7 and will be working until 8 or 9 tonight. It feels pretty good to have your day all laid out in front of you.

I'm supposed to see Aimee at some point today to pick up keys so I can organize type while she's away for the holidays, I'm pretty stoked about it. With all the free time I have it will be great to have something to do, great to help someone out, and most importantly, it will K-rad to just get to handle all of that type.

I keep meeting letterpress people in the most unusual places. Like at 3:30 AM on my way out of a party Saturday morning. I met another person at the punk rock flea market and ran into her the very next day at the Rocket Cat. She has now been to the shop and is on board for helping.

I'm worried about some of my friends. A few of them are in bad shape but, in at least one case, there's reason for hope. It's winter after all, time for changes.

Happy belated solstice. May the Fae watch over you in this new year but, not so close that they interfere. The Folk are known for their mischief so, just be mindful and leave out gifts. (rhyming by accident)

Have a great day and a great year everyone 

Monday, December 20, 2010

working through it: a purging.

All this week I was in a really dark place. That mood got set off by an innocent conversation with a friend on wednesday and just kind of hung out, just below the surface, until Friday night. It made a little cameo on saturday afternoon when I went to a craft show.

I knew she was going to be there and if I cared about my well being I probably shouldn't have gone at all but, I'm not going to let her presence stop me from going anywhere even if it is a little uncomfortable. I needed to finish shopping for Christmas (done) and wanted to visit with the 5 other people I knew that were selling there. So that's that.

I didn't attempt to speak with her and she did her best to run away when I was on her side of the room. Which is why I could keep that darkness at bay.

There is no need for me to speak to her now, except to ask if she kept some of the blocks I asked for back. I think she did but, really just fuck it. She can think of me every time she uses them.

If you have read previous entries on here you'll know that I've been working on marrying the actual me with the bold face I present to the world and I think that was the impetus for all this mood this week.

-been sharing at meetings more
-had almost no down time
-have been sabotaged by weather and car tires while trying to get moved in
-started cognitive behavioral therapy with a therapist (duh)
-have been more vulnerable (still hate it)
-still have no job

If you put all that stuff together it makes for a little bit of instability. After the cluster-fuck of a relationship I just went through, I'm just pretty raw.

I still feel used by her, betrayed. Every time I think I've come to peace about one aspect or another of that relationship, something else creeps in and starts the bad vibes all over again.

I don't want her back but I'm not over her. In an attempt to purge some of the vitriol that I'm carrying around now, here are the things that I feel/think about her/our relationship at this point.

-She loved the IDEA of loving me. I don't think she was in love with me. As a women who is very visual, she never took a single picture of me. I don't know what I was, but it doesn't feel like love. I'm not even sure she knows what love is.

-I don't think she ever really liked me, again she liked an idea of me. She yelled/got upset at me several times about yelling out and saying hello to people, it made her uncomfortable. About this, all I can say is, when you meet your fiancee by him yelling at you to punch his best friend, you should probably realize he's a loud dude.  

-On the day she called off the wedding and I was pouring my heart out she said "this all sounds familiar" and I watched her get cold. I feel like some part of her is very sick and took some kind of pleasure from the explosion. Enjoyed the back and forth shit she pulled with me afterward. All of her habitual honeymoon relationships point to some shit inside her. Like I said, I think she's really sick and needs help. This would be a good start.

-She wouldn't breakup with me. She just refused to, just kept shutting down and not communicating, knowing full well that it would drive me nuts. So I did it and she promptly threw it in my face less then a day later.

-The only time I think she was ever 100% herself with me was when we were on the phone and she was in WI. She called herself a fraud, said she wasn't a printer, said she felt unimportant there. I tried to be supportive and encouraging and she just reverted back to cold bitch again.

But the thing that may have hurt me most happened on the day before she was leaving for Wisconsin, November 5th.

I bought all of these printer blocks and type drawers for her. I had been planning to do this for weeks and then things got messy so I held off. We had several great days of reconciliation and she was going to see Louis CK that night. She had also made a big deal about me spending the night earlier in the week, so I figured, this last time I gave her printers blocks she brought up marrying me. Just thought it would be fitting and I was incredibly wrong.

All that day I was emailing and calling people to get this ready. She was sending me super sweet texts all day too, it was nice. she went to the show and I started running around. Digging through boxes of blocks and finally just buying them all after a bit of haggling. I texted her around 8 to see if she wanted anything to eat and to see when she'd be home. Yes to food and around 11.

I get home (it was then) and start setting up. She had left her computer open on the dining room table and...break for full disclosure  

(So her main problem with me was that I was jealous and would get super angry. I said I would work on changing that and if she wanted to be around I'd love it. She said she would like to be around and that's how we get where we are in the story.

Earlier in the week she showed me a thing she wrote on her livejournal about how in love with me she was. It made me feel really good.)

resume I decide to see if she wrote anything about me. I was walking around on a pink cloud and figured a little more couldn't hurt. I mean it was open in her browser, so I read it.

She starts out with how awesome I was to her all week, about how I'm surprising her, about how I took care of her when she was sick the day before. Then she says she just wants to quit, misses quitting things. Then she says that she planned to fuck some dude in Wisconsin if things were still going bad. Was still thinking about doing it anyway.

I threw up. I called my sponsor. I went along like I never read that. Mind though, this was one of the dudes I got jealous about.

I let it go, this was her venting to her internet friends. I made the choice to trust her.

I set up her dinner and laid out candles and smaller pieces of type throughout the apartment leading to the whole mess of stuff I had acquired for her.

I put a little note on the door that said something like "follow the candles and don;t forget to pick things up along the way" with an arrow.

I wrote a letter about us growing together, about new starts, about me learning from her and us being able to create together. Really good, honest stuff. Things I have a hard time articulating when it matters (I'd like that letter back, frankly)

I go hop in bed and start reading while waiting.

She texts me to tell me she's going out for drinks. I'm like okay but we need to get up early. Plus I want her to get her present.

She get's home at 11:30 and maybe she's a bit tipsy. She doesen't see the note on the door. I say hi from the bedroom and she asks why there are candles everywhere.
I say did you see the note.
She goes no and I go and get it for her.
She reads it and says "I don't get it" so I show her. I walk her through the apartment and she's just being a dick. She's not even picking up the blocks, she just doesn't care.

When we get to her studio, the only thing she says is "why are there candles in my studio" Nothing could have hurt me more I don't think. It was like a knife. This point, more then any other, let me know we were probably done.

Needless to say, she apologized and read my letter. She got colder and more distant for the rest of the night and continued into the morning witht he same cold bullshit. It hurt, fuck the details, they aren't terribly important anyway.

What was important, what lead me to take all of those blocks back, was the fact that she didn't even look at them until the 13th, over a week. Not until we were pretty well through.

I wasn't going to see anything wonderful come from them and she didn't really seem to care, so I said fuck it, I'll do something with them and so I will.

So that was a lot of the shit on my mind. I still don't know what the fuck happened between Friday day and Friday night, probably never will but, that was really the day she was done.

I've tried to be magnanimous because I actually do care about her but, not being pissed is driving me nuts. There it is, I'm pissed. I'm hoping this is the last time this shit comes up in my head. I want to move along.

I want to be more peaceful and find a women to spend time with, without having to worry about all this shit clouding my head. I got the knife out, so now maybe the wound will heal up alright.

thanks for listening,

P.S. Type, design, and printing tomorrow.