Archive for June, 2007

Rainy Planet @ Joy Street

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

After the print arts fair last weekend, Terri and I were pretty energized, and it pushed us that extra step that we needed to finally do some serious hunting for studio space. We really need more space to get our new C&P operational and to have all of our stuff in one place. The basement and garage just aren’t cutting it anymore.

My prior attempt to find space when we were getting the press was sort of a bust. At the time, I was trying to find a space to move into before the end of March, so that I didn’t have to move the press more than once, since it weighs 1800lbs (according to Briar Press; I don’t really have a scale that goes that high…). As it was, I couldn’t come up with something that quickly, so we just moved it into our garage, which itself was a little adventure.

So, we got motivated again at just the right time. Joy Street Studios are just completing a new phase of renovations and converted some more of their former industrial and warehouse space to artist studios. We went over last week and looked at some spaces. We talked it over for a day or so, and called back to reserve the studio we liked the best, and it was already gone! We realized that we probably needed to act quickly, so we went back over and decided on our second favorite studio, and put down a deposit.

So, now, the next step is to plan the move. We don’t have an official date that we can move in yet, since they still need to get some inspections done before the city lets them rent out the space. But even if that all cleared up tomorrow, we’re not even close to being ready on figuring out the logistics of moving the press out of the garage.

I’ve started by reading up a little, and there is good advice, as there almost always is, at the Five Roses letterpress intro page. I ordered my copy of Moving Heavy Things as suggested, and it does indeed have some pretty good general advice on, as the name suggests, moving heavy things. I remembered seeing a Flickr photoset of someone moving a C&P, and that was actually really useful to helping me visualize what the whole move is going to take, so I solicited some advice from Matt Borghi, the user who posted that photoset. There is very specific info on moving a Gordon style press like a Chandler & Price here, and more photos and advice here.

So, I’m starting to feel like it’s possible. But if anybody has any additional advice, I certainly wouldn’t turn down any pearls of wisdom you care to throw my way!

Print Arts Fair wrap-up

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

It’s been an eventful week— more on that soon— so I haven’t had a lot of time to write my dispatch about the 4th Annual Print Arts Fair at the Museum of Printing last weekend.

It’s only the second fair of any kind that we’ve sold stuff at, and it was very different from the Bazaar Bizarre. It was much more of a for-printers-by-printers affair, where at least half of the people who came by the booth were fellow printers, the majority of them more experienced than I. And many of the non-printers were asking probing questions and had that look in their eye, like they were catching the bug.

Popular question #1 was “where can I buy a press?”, and the answer was “go talk to him” and I’d point across the way to John Barrett’s Letterpress Things table:
Letterpress Things table

Popular question #2 was “how do I learn more?”, and the answer to that was “go talk to her”, and I’d point to Kelly McMahon of the May Day Studio at the next booth over, who has been teaching workshops at Letterpress Things. Of course, there were lots of other good answers to both of those questions, as many of the other vendors actually had small presses for sale right there, and there were plenty of other people there who teach all sorts of book arts type things).
Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio

I was happy to meet several people to whom I had only talked online or only briefly met in person, like Shelley of Albertine Press, who has already posted her wrap-up of the day. Shelley and her studio-neighbors Taza Chocolates were the ones behind the Paper & Chocolate event I wrote about earlier this year. Also, her Albertine Press was featured in that Weekly Dig article I mentioned a while back, and she actually scanned the thing in (it never materialized online).

Since I was at the booth, I didn’t get much time to see much of the demos, but I managed to take this video of a Kelly B Automatic Cylinder Press in action.

Here are the other presentable photos I took of the event. Once Terri posts the photos that she took, I’ll link them up here, too.

I was very happy to participate, and I definitely owe many thanks to Leslie Evans of Sea Dog Press and the other organizers who made it all possible. The whole event was hugely inspiring and motivational.

Rainy Planet is serious leisure

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Girlprinter has a great post on doing things for money vs. fun. Her meditation was triggered by a NYT column by Freakonomics authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt on the question of why so many relatively well-off Americans choose to do menial labor such as knitting, crafting, and cooking.

The whole thing is very relevant to me and how I got back into the whole letterpress thing, as an antidote to my day job as a web developer. The web is all about getting words and pictures published across the globe instantly. It certainly has some good aspects: I can read girlprinter’s post written in Australia without her having to put some piece of paper in the mail, have it take a boat or plane across the pacific, and then take another plane or train to Boston. It is democratic: you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to get your words and ideas into the hands of millions.

In comparison, letterpress is very elitist: the means of production is concentrated in the hands of the few. It is mainly practised by and for people who could do things the easy way, but who have the leisure to do things the hard way.

Questions of the socio-politics of letterpress aside, I basically am on board with Dubner and Leavitt’s argument: “Whether or not you’re getting paid, it’s work if someone else tells you to do it and leisure if you choose to do it yourself.” That’s pretty much why the RPP exists, because I’m choosing to do it, because I think it’s fun.

If I happen to break even by selling some stuff here and there, so much the better.