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pride and geekery

Sep. 24th, 2009 | 09:23 pm
mood: impressedproud

Tonight I am working on one of the most beautiful things I've ever made--a friend of mine from college is getting married (in nine days! never let it be said I can't procrastinate with the best of 'em), and I'm making her a guest book. The book will be in a stock size I usually make, the same size as the shooting star books for those of you familiar with them, but turned to open in the other direction. I like the short and wide format better for guest books. I'll need to cut some fresh pages to have them oriented that way, but then I can also use the fancy stuff.

Anyway, these covers. There aren't any pictures yet, as they're still pressing (and I kind of want it to be a surprise for V), but wow. I bought some bookcloth and a few different papers today, not sure what I was going to use yet. And wound up using all of them. The entire book is covered in a burgundy bookcloth with a bit of shine to it. One of the papers had a semi-translucent floral pattern, and I broke out the heat adhesive and made it into something completely different. This is my most successful use of heat adhesive yet. Maybe it's because I was using smaller sheets, maybe it's the quality of the paper (and lack of fuzzing of the texture), maybe I just had the right focus and patience today. Its stunning. The solid dark green base paper hangs out about a quarter inch further than the translucent overlay, for a stripe of contrast, and then that whole sheet is laid an inch and a half from the spine edge of the book. So you get the burgundy, a wee stripe of green, and then this whitish floral that shows through some of the green below.

And the paste-downs are the PERFECT size. I've never had such perfect paste-downs in my life. They're a creamy feathery paper with a sheen, and amazingly easy to glue (the back is a slightly different texture, and less shiny). Eeee! I can't wait to finish it all and send it off! (Don't worry, there will be pictures before it heads out.)

And just so I'm not leaving you completely hanging, here's the digital artwork for one of my new letterpress cards:

Yes, three colours. Yes, it will be the first proper project on the new press. Yes, I am insane, I'm aware. :D

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my first shop!

Jul. 20th, 2009 | 06:22 pm
mood: excitedexcited

I have good news! I had a meeting at Cambridge Naturals in Porter Square today to discuss selling my work there.... and they loved it! It's on a consignment basis for now. They have a handful of my cards and books in the shop. Go check 'em out!

Also, later today I'll have photos of the new mini marsupial books (they have POCKETS), keep your eyes peeled :)

UPDATE: not the best pictures ever, but....

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letterpress press presssss

Jun. 24th, 2009 | 09:28 pm
mood: excitedexcited
music: Leaving New York - R.E.M.

Sunday was the Museum of Printing's annual Printing Arts Faire. I dragged M and A along with me and totally geeked out the WHOLE TIME. I was surrounded by letterpress equipment and people who love love love this fantastic old stuff as much as I do. I got to watch my name be set in linotype and listen to the operator geek out about the machine. And chatted with several lovely folks in various bits of the printing/bookmaking business.

And then I went into the room that was housing a miniature version of the Letterpress Things warehouse and wandered around and drooled over all the equipment. I inquired about a teeny little 3x5 Kelsey press, and John took the time to talk with me about what I really wanted to print and convinced me that a 5x8 is really more worth my money and will be with me for a long time, whereas the 3x5 will bore me in six months. He's got a couple 5x8s that should be all fixed up by the end of July, and says he could get me ready to print for a reasonable amount of money. I am super duper excited!!!! Next month I'll have a press to work on! I think I even have a place to put it, though it won't be very close to home.

Also, I finally have photos of my work up on my website finally and only a bit more work to do on it, business cards on their way to me, 16 books from the library to read (businessy stuff, history of bookbinding, paper art, knitting, quilting, cookbooks) and I'm starting work at PaperSource tomorrow. Sweet!

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don't try this at home?

Apr. 16th, 2009 | 08:01 pm
mood: exhaustedexhausted

Things a Smart Person Just Does Not Say: Oh, hey, x fancy old art that people pay a lot of money for, that must be easy. I'm going to do it myself at home; it'll be great!

See also, marbling paper is hard. And super messy. But, now I know, so I can be better set up next time. Also, carving into rubber rollers to try and make pastepaper tools isn't going so well. Perhaps I shouldn't have put two such time-consuming, frustrating activities on the calendar for the same week.

Alright, so I'm still excited about both paper decorating processes. And anticipating the leather binding class I'm taking at New York's Center for the Book in a few weeks. Just exhausted for now.

As an update, most of the fish books are sewn (I keep putting off the last one), and the ones with the stars on the covers are almost ready to start being sewn. I was hoping some of paper I marbled today would be good for paste-downs, but I am skeptical, as I had no purple paint. We'll see. The pages for them are all folded and everything. Can't wait to get them sewn!

I've got a couple more ideas in the works, one with tree cookies and one with legos.

Sorry no pictures this time. Once the paper is dry, I'll try to get some.

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G is for Giraffe

Mar. 14th, 2009 | 07:08 pm

G is for Giraffe, originally uploaded by catling42.

Giraffe cards are finished! The plate came out really well (these are only the third set I've made myself), and they were really fun to print. I need to get envelopes so I can list them on etsy. Duck drawing is in-progress still.

star covers, originally uploaded by catling42.

Also been hard at work on cover for more star books. Here are the letterpressed inserts, 2-ply board cutouts and the stack of rough-cut papers to use on the covers. These will be all glued and hopefully some of them sewn this week.

One of the plates sort of dissolved halfway through printing when I was cleaning it off a bit, so the stars aren't all as well-registered as I'd planned, but I kind of like the slightly haphazard look it gives them.

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two (of 7) colours of fish books finished

Feb. 16th, 2009 | 08:43 am
mood: accomplished
music: wild waste and welter - jeffrey foucault

Purple with brown accent and light blue thread:
fish books!

fish books!

fish books!

Red with yellow accent and light blue thread:
fish books!

fish books!

fish books!

Two of each done, up on etsy. I'm really happy with how these are coming out.

I have the other heliotrope/peach/light blue one all set up, and I'm doing pale yellow accents on the fuschia ones with red (not light blue!) thread.

color-corrected fish covers

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heliotrope fish book

Feb. 6th, 2009 | 06:20 pm

Hello there blog world! I have been long absent. But here I have some things I've been working on.... I'm finally finishing the fish books! A friend of mine has reserved this one already. I am so excited to be working on these again.

Here's the big stack of folded and collated papers for the rest of the books:

giant stack of folded, collated paper

I also have some drawings started for more little critter cards... I've started D is for Duck and finished G is for Giraffe. Barring unforeseen complications, I'll be printing the giraffe next Friday.

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aaaarrrrrrrrdvark!! (that is how pirates say aardvark)

Dec. 16th, 2008 | 11:33 pm
music: Song For the Julian Calendar - The Mountain Goats - Full Force Galesburg

a is for aardvark afraid of the dark

Wheee, aardvark cards are now available on etsy!

Aaand now it's an early(ish) (ok. maybe just reasonable) bedtime... I am getting up super early tomorrow for a full day of platemaking and press time. Just have to decide whether it is more annoying to take the train and walk 2 miles in the snow/sleet to pick up my films and get to the printshop or to drive in rushhour traffic in the nasty weather and find somewhere reasonably priced to park all day. Anywho, on board are 2-color letterpressed versions of my "you are never given a wish" journal flyleaves and covers and "handmade by" tags with my cutie little cat logo. And maybe more aardvark cards, depending on how long everything takes.

More pics tomorrow! And lots more designing to come soon... I have another full day of printing on Friday! Toodles!

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aardvarks and fishes and printing, oh my!

Dec. 13th, 2008 | 12:15 am
mood: accomplished

Tonight I went to AS220 and printed the cutest aardvark ever. He is afraid of the dark. I took a workshop on making photo-polymer plates for the letterpress, so now I can print anything I can get into and out of my computer! The possibilities are endless! I am no longer limited to what I can do with lead type! OMG.

a is for aardvark afraid of the dark
(That ink is actually dark purpleblue mixed with silver to be metallic. But I have really unfortunate lighting. I need to get better lighting to take photos of artwork. Arg.)

I've also been working on the fish covers... and they've turned out gorgeous! I glued 28 covers (that's 14 books front and back) the other night! I am excited to turn them into books. I'm planning on spending some quality time folding pages while watching tv sometime very soon.

fish books
(See above about unfortunate lighting. The 2nd from the right is bright red with yellow insides and the last is kind of teal.)

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doing something you can't not do

Dec. 8th, 2008 | 11:05 pm

Today I finally made it back to AS220 to print some more fish covers (as well as listed the first finished fish book on etsy! ...try saying that 5 times fast). Every time I've been meaning to make it down there for the last couple weeks, my body has flipped out, first with some lovely bronchial spasms and then a migraine. Between that and, well, life, I've been feeling kind of... not exactly uninspired, but I guess you could say I've had a case of artist's guilt going on and it's been hard to be really productive with my artwork. But I had a great conversation with fellow artist and close friend L last night about how really, you're most able to be the best you possible when you're doing something you can't not do. And then, printing today, which is always great, even when frustrating with the mucking about with ink and dirty old type and my lack of spacial skills getting the better of me....

My hands are ink-stained, and I'm really happy. Perhaps my motivation has come back.

Here's the type locked up for printing around the fish image:

my type, locked up for printing

It took a couple tries and fiddling around moving stuff to get it set up in the right place around the image, but it came out awesome. (For those of you not in the know, each letter is an individual piece of lead. The space between the lines is called "leading," because it's also a strip of lead. All the blank space between, before and after words, stuff you don't want to print, also has to be filled in with other solid bits of lead to keep the type nice and tight and not wiggly for when the press runs over it all.The wood blocks are called furniture, and they're used to arrange the type on the press bed to be locked up with a quoin that is expanded to press it all tight.)

For those of you interested in more photos of the Vandercook, I took a couple more today and they've got their own set on my flickr now.

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