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January 27, 2007

quality time

by gl. at 11:56 pm

i spent today with the letterpress! i desperately wanted to take another workshop at the iprc, but the letterpress classes fill quickly, and by the time someone responded to the email i sent, they were already full. i had hoped the phone call that woke me up this morning was them calling to say a spot had opened up, but whoever called didn't leave a message.

so i decided to make today a letterpress day, anyway. it's been quietly sitting in the studio kitchen for months (*cough*years*cough*) and one of my new year's resolution is to spend more time with gocco and letterpress (and less time with calligraphy).

so much of the inertia around the letterpress is still not knowing exactly what i have and don't have. chas owned Artemesia Press when he was younger and was kind enough to donate the letterpress & accoutrements when i stopped by on a trip to colorado a couple of years ago. it had been stored for years in less-than-ideal conditions and just getting the stuff put away was a huge deal. but i still haven't found the time to sort through -- or identify -- all the pieces yet.

so i read through all the manuals & documents, matching what i was reading to what i was seeing on the press. i reseated the rollers and made sure everything moved like it seemed like it ought. i thought one of the grippers was missing but i found it later in a box of random metal bits and replaced it. i moved everything into new boxes and packaged like with like. i repackaged all the decorative cuts into one box with lots of little cups to group related cuts together. i found the furniture and the reglets. i found the chase and even managed to fit it on the chase bed. i tested all the inks, which are in remarkably good shape.

most importantly, i finally unpacked the four typecases which have been living in the studio oven, a task i had been dreading because they are dirty and heavy and have so many small bits floating around inside. i was delighted to discover that they are, by and large, in much better shape than i expected. three of the typecases were wrapped together: two of those are in excellent shape, the other is rickety but okay. but the fourth was exposed to elements and bugs and dust and it's really a mess; i don't know what to do to clean it. finally, i also have an egg carton that seems like it contains another set of type, and a small glass jar which has even more type; i don't know how i'll deal with those yet. and while i haven't thoroughly checked the type assortment, in general, the type seems relatively intact. lot of italics for some reason. :)

i could still use a planar and i suspect i'll need to order new rollers, after all; the replacement rollers are pitted and a little gummy. but at this point, i'm finally ready to assemble type and put it in the chase!

posted by gl. | January 27, 2007 11:56 PM | categories: printing