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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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow + rain = ice = art opportunity

It was fun slicing up pieces of ice crust in the yard to make a winter lantern. It burned for five hours last night, and if the snow keeps up, I'll be able to light it up for a few more nights yet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You could say it was love at first sight

This mermaid by Jessie Benenson stole my heart soon as I spied her. She was a high point of last night, along with meeting the other artists showing work at Blackbird Wineshop's Handmade Holiday.

With the slush outside turning to ice slicks, attendance tapered to dismal, but supporters livened things up at regular intervals, and Andy kept the piquant wines flowing.
Talking art and laughing with some like minds made for a wonderfully warm evening.

Here's the bindery muse where I found her this morning; I'm wondering, what is her name?

Finally, a last irresistible detail:

Monday, December 15, 2008

They say alcohol's recession-proof, so here's a pairing: wine & Blackbird's Handmade Holiday

I'll have portfolios, the few remaining Postcard Writer's Companions, the chiyogami tissue boxes, and maybe some Polaroid transfers at a sale 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Blackbird Wineshop, 3519 NE 44th (at Fremont). Come relax, have a glass, and take in the wares from eight local microbusinesses.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Neighbors making movies

A random Google search (I'm so vain!) just turned up this clip on YouTube, and Ma Nao Books is in it. Thanks Helen & Mario, newsletter pros, art lovers, and plain wonderful neighbors.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Packing up my stickiest commission yet

Actually, I should say the commission wasn't sticky enough, given I had to make the giant clamshell box twice on account of the Great Wheat Starch Paste Failure of 2008. What went wrong? I see online that refrigerating the paste can compromise its efficacy, so I'll go with that answer for now, even though it doesn't explain why my paste never failed before.

Granted I still have a couple more clamshells to go, for a couple of the objects shown here, a stack of turn-of-the-century photographs and an Edwardian cigarette case. I'm happy to say I have the structure defined for A Tango with Atatürk, the letterpress project I finished earlier this month. (It won't be blue, however.) The tiny 10-copy edition just awaits the time I need to box it.