Center for Book Arts Letterpress Seminar Day 3

No speakers today or new notes, just work work work! Finished setting the text of my poem and transferred it to a galley where I started the process of adding leading to blank lines of quads for the stanza breaks between my lines. I did my name in the same Optima font as the text but went with a 30 pt. semi-bold Optima for the title, which I did in all caps. A happy discovery: as I was transferring the line with the title from my composing stick to the galley I rested it to the side of my text and decided I liked how that look, so the title and my name are sideways and perpendicular to the poem’s text.

So far I’ve only had two typos and both were pieces of text that were put away wrong in my CA job case: a ‘u’ and an ‘n; and a ‘d’ and a ‘b’. And I’m getting more comfortable with holding the composing stick in my left hand; it’s almost second nature now to keep my thumb on the last letter I’ve set. I love how the type is a little man: he stands on his feet (the little notches at the bottom), the rectangular shaft is his body, the nick is the belly, the top of the shaft is his shoulder, the letter is the face, and the area between the face and the shoulder is the beard.

I was originally going to print in blue but due to time constraints and the fact I had everything set up perfectly for proofs on a black ink machine, I decided to go with the frostier paper and leave the text classic black. Rena was my buddy and she performed quality-control on my run of 25 prints, grabbing them off the press and setting them on the drying racks. Rena and I both helped quality-control Ella’s print run. Rena used fancy decorative ornaments to make a birthday cake in the lower corner of her text; I suggested lower case i’s for candles on top, and it worked out really well! Ella’s excerpt from her memoir is in blue ink and has great design elements in the hollow text title and the flourished ornament separating the title from the text. I’m excited to see everyone’s final prints tomorrow. Those of us who finished our runs will be helping Barbara set and design the cover for our print packets we get to take home.

Fun things I got to do today for the first time: I inked up two machines for our final print runs; I tied my second galley (but it was my first successful tie up!); I justified on my galley and not just on my composing stick; and I cleared an entire machine, all 5 rollers, from ink. My arm is still sore!

After class Ella, Rena, Holly (Hossannah), Jean, Tim and I went for dumplings in Chelsea and had a lovely meal and conversation. This is such a great group I wish we had a full week class to work longer together and learn more from Barbara. This was our proposed ideal class to extend the fun: Day 1, setting and printing our names, w/ a PM guest speaker; Day 2, setting and printing short quotes (an idea inspired by our fortune cookies!) w/ a PM guest speaker; Day 3, setting our poems, w/ a PM guest speaker; Day 4, finish setting our poems and start printing them; Day 5, finish printing our poems, setting and printing the cover, plus a reception that evening with wine and a mini-reading of the participants. Though we are so tired today that day 5 scenario would be a big reach as I’m sure we’ll all be ready to drop tomorrow night. I don’t think I sat down once today.

Here are some pics Holly posted on Facebook. The first is me doing my print run with Rena’s assistance:

And here’s a shot Holly took of my prints on the drying rack: