Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nothing matches letterpress

Years ago I took a papermaking weekend workshop with the fabulous Helen Hiebert. Camping at a tree farm in Southwest Washington, we collected plants that we pounded, cooked, and stirred, then pulled sheets (if that's what it's called) while the rain steadily dripped. I saved the paper — which we made not only from fibers collected that weekend but also of pulp that Helen brought along, corn husk, say, and banana and flax — and while taking letterpress this fall I put it in service of an Atatürk quote I found.

Cranking with the Vandercook, the ink spitting between the rollers, I made a few prints, admiring all the while how the letters, particularly in a large display font, take the sculptural form that the type designer intended. The paper is more than just stamped; it takes a permanent shape and color. It undulates for the power of words. And lead.

In this last detail, it almost looks as if the letters poke out instead of in. I wondered if the raw texture of the paper would result in uneven impression, but the type all turned out quite uniform, which serves to further highlight the paper's topograpy.

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At 00:46, Blogger fingerstothebone said...

That's beautiful too!


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