The end of another semester, one started out with a rash of missed classes because of crazy winter weather, but slowly managed to unfold into a pretty successful time, if stressful. So to celebrate the end, and to enjoy a nice clean press room thanks to my Extension School students, I ran a couple of projects, both of which had been simmering on the back burner for some time.
The first is the print “Fovea”. This is a three-color letterpress piece done on Lettra 220#. A fovea is the central portion of the human retina, where the photoreceptors crowd very close together to give you detail color vision. This is a representation of the pattern of color-sensitive cones as they cluster in the fovea:
Here’s a quick cellphone shot of my new letterpress piece, “The Sounds of English”:
The gray line in the middle represents all of the sounds used in the English language as coded through the International Phonetic Alphabet. The top and bottom lines, the title of the piece in the IPA and in English orthography, are supposed to be 342 green, but the color didn’t really come through. The 26 letters we use in the alphabet that may or may not correspond to any particular speech sound are embossed behind the IPA symbols, but that particular detail is even harder to see here.
I’ll edition these on Sunday, and will get a better shot then, but I figured I’d post this now.
Another fun thing that happened in January, we had a Friday seminar at the Bow & Arrow Press for Open Letters, a publication of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. Ten students and the instructors came out and we put together some lovely prints using lead, linoleum and photopolymer.
Snapshot of the broadside I ran for the founding of the Seamus Heaney suite at the Adams House residence hall at Harvard. Heaney, an Irish poet, was a well-known guest at the House during the 80s and 90s, and his favorite suite is being outfitted in memory of his visits.
Got the new prints up on the Etsy shop. Plenty of other stuff on there, too, but here are the new items (click on the images to go to the shop):
While I was working on “Nominal Chinati” I whipped out some quick runs on the letterpress at the Bow & Arrow just for funsies. These will be posted on my Etsy site as soon as I get good images.
One of my favorite wordsmiths, even though he “only” wrote noir mysteries. 8″x 10″, printed in a mix of Standard Italic 30 pt and 18 pt.
I posted about the first one back in the spring, and over the summer we did another one, and we have a third in the works. Here are some nice pictures of the first two, since I was taking shots of work at the Press this weekend.
Today I taught an engraving/drypoint class, two Crash Courses and some Intermediate and Advanced students in the Bow & Arrow Press. I also took the opportunity to take some press time for myself, and got some artwork accomplished. First up, a type sample project I’d been preparing ever since I found a lead version of my favorite typeface, Akzidenz Grotesk, at Letterpress Things in Chicopee, Massachusetts a couple of weekends ago. It’s called “Standard”, and I found it wrapped up in the boxes that came fresh from the foundry way back in probably 1975 or 1981:
I really needed to get ink on these lovely slugs of lead, so I prepared a stream-of-consciousness text seeded with the word “Standard”, and titled it “Standard Deviations”:
I liked it so well, I’ll probably do some more. (Incidentally, the title is set in Futura Light 36pt, not Standard.)
After that, I needed to run some cube prints, using the new 7/8″ cubes I’d gotten a few weeks back. These cubes are closer to being type-high, so they’d be easier to run on the letterpress. I set up two randomized layouts of 16 cubes each, referencing two grid compositions I did earlier in the fall. For the first run, I did two split fountains, one with black shading to graphite, the other 7459 Blue shading to 481 Tan:
I wasn’t quite satisfied with this layout, although I did run an edition of it. Playing around with the positioning of the cube sets and staying within the blue-tan fountain, I finally found this combination that worked:
So, all-in-all a pretty successful day at the press.
We’re doing a Spring Show at the Bow and Arrow Press on Thursday, and in celebration we had people typeset anything they wanted, as long as it was 22 picas wide and about food. Here’s the resulting exquisite corpse, set up on a galley and ready for printing on the SP-20:
I printed it using PANTONE 194 dark red (something close to Harvard crimson), on some awesome paper stock. The head of the dining hall at Adams House comes into the Press to typeset, and she had a box of Fryolator filter paper that wasn’t the right size for the fry machines and had been kicking around for a few years. I cut it down to 12″ x 18″ and it worked wonderfully: