Quick Shot of a New Linguistic Letterpress Piece

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

Here’s a quick cellphone shot of my new letterpress piece, “The Sounds of English”:

Sounds-of-English-Preview

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.

Printing Seminar for Open Letters at the B&A

Bow & Arrow Press, Letterpress

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.

Shipping Container Series: Hanjin, Maersk, Cosco

Infrastructure, Printmaking

Today was a busy time at the Bow & Arrow Press, where I was not only running a four-color broadside for a poetry reading at Emory University, but also running editions of my long-waiting shipping container project. I pulled three sets of prints for the series, and each will be signed in an edition of 27 when they’re dry:

Cosco-in-Warm-Grey-7

Cosco in Warm Grey 7

More Cube Pixel Prints: Four of Four

Printmaking

Before and after class at the Bow & Arrow on Saturday I started messing around with my cubes of wood again. This time I started playing with four groups of four blocks, set roughly in lines, and used some graphite ink I’d mixed earlier in the month. I’m really pleased with the silvery color of the graphite mixture, it’s very handsome and layers quite nicely. Some of the earlier runs were too simple, so I added a color progression starting with PANTONE Yellow and adding a rusty red mixture one of my regulars had whipped up for a recent project. The results were interesting:

Four-of-Four-GGYO

Four of Four: Graphite Graphite Yellow Orange

 

Four-of-Four-GYOR

Four of Four: Graphite Yellow Orange Red

 

Four-of-Four-Multigraphite

Four of Four: Multigraphite

Earlier Cube Printing, Finally Posted

Printmaking

While posting about the Random Grid prints I realized I’d neglected to actually post about the first round of grid prints, done with the smaller cubes I’d had lying around from a project from several years back. So! This one, “Pixel Gradient”, was the very first one I ran, a proof-of-concept using a blue-to-purple split fountain at the Bow & Arrow:

Pixel-Gradient

The second one, which used the same grid as “Pixel Gradient” but split into four parts and run with four different fountains, is called “Organic Grid”:

Organic-Grid

More should follow soon!

Lots of Printing…

Letterpress, Printmaking

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:

Standard

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”:

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:

Random-Grid-01

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:

Random-Grid-02

So, all-in-all a pretty successful day at the press.