Bow & Arrow Press Icosacomposites

Bow & Arrow Press, Icosacomposite Video

Just for funsies I shot two icosacomposites of the Press during Open Press Night last Thursday. They turned out every bit as awesome as I hoped. Watch for people typesetting, running the press, wandering around, washing their hands, taking in the wonder of it all, and gesticulating. It’s hard to tell people apart but I’m wearing a red shirt with a white bullseye design depicting the orbits of the inner solar system.

Student Documentary of the Bow & Arrow Press

Bow & Arrow Press, Video

Teaching summer school at the Bow & Arrow Press for Harvard was a fun time. Got lots of good students doing all sorts of fun things, and some of them even braved Open Press Night. One of them, a high school student from Korea, was also taking a film class, and produced a documentary about the Press for that class. It’s great! I look and sound like a real professional! Watch it here:

Etching Press at the Bow & Arrow

Bow & Arrow Press, Printmaking

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally received a wonderful gift at the Bow & Arrow Press:


It’s a Charles Brand etching press, donated by Betsyann Duval, a printmaker and artist in the north metro area and a fellow member at Bromfield Gallery. The Bow & Arrow Press is forever in her debt!

Chalk Random Walk: Bow and Arrow Streets, Cambridge

Random Processes

As part of my ongoing investigation with random processes, I decided to take my random walk series into the streets. Using a stick obtained from the local environment (under the hedges of the Democracy Center, in fact) and some hopscotch chalk from Michael’s, I drew a random walk on the streetbed, to the enjoyment and bemusement of passersby. The final masterpiece:


And a time-lapse video of its creation:

Bow & Arrow Spring Show plus Time-Lapse

Bow & Arrow Press, Shows

Our Press Scholar, Gina Trakadis, decided a showcase of all the letterpress done at the Bow & Arrow over the last couple of years would be a good idea. So we got together as many samples as we could, and put them up in the ArtSpace in the Adams House residence hall at Harvard, where the Bow & Arrow Press lives. This would be the first timeĀ  all of my letterpress tweets have been hung together in one setting. Here’s a photo:


And here’s a 60x time-lapse of the show and reception:

It was a good selection of prints and a great turnout tonight!

Exquiste Corpse Letterpress Piece at the Bow & Arrow

Bow & Arrow Press, Letterpress

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:


Vertical Spectrum on the Letterpress, with String

Metashapes, Printmaking

Here’s a new Vertical Spectrum print, done on the Vandercook No. 4 at the Bow and Arrow Press today.


New Layered Spectrum I is a concept print, done in several passes using PANTONE Warm Gray 7, which is somewhat transparent so the depth of the color builds up over time. What’s new about this spectrum, is that I’m doing it with string.


I cut a 7″ x 4″ block out of 0.75″ wood, and put little strips of Masonite on the underside of the outside edges, so it would sit on the pressbed with a gap underneath. The Masonite also elevates the block to about 0.9″, which is very close to type height. I then wrap the wood block with string, using various layers to build up a multilevel surface that tends toward vertical but can vary to about 60 degrees. Since the string extends the surface above type height, but is compressable, it makes a very nice impression on the paper. Making multiple print passes with different wrappings builds up a layered composition on the print of lines of various orientations. What’s nice is that the fibers of the string actually make separate impressions, so each vertical line is also striped. Various tangles and knots also modulate the lines, so it’s not as geometric as could be.


I had the idea a couple weeks ago, and built a 7″ x 4″ block and a 8″ x 5″ block to play around with, but didn’t have time to actually wrap string and print until today. I plan to use more colors, use different sizes of string, and even use wires as a different vertical texture.

A Couple More Letterpress Block Prints

Metashapes, Printmaking

Here are a couple more letterpress pieces from the Bow and Arrow Press. These were done with the same block; one was printed in an ink mixed from graphite powder and Van Son Transparent White, the other was printed by using PANTONE Yellow and PANTONE 7459 and flipping the block after the color change.

Graphite-Spectrum Dual-Reverse-Spectrum

Fun with Powdered Graphite

Printmaking, Scientific Exploration

I dug up my jar of powdered graphite recently, and figured, hey, we have transparent white at the Bow and Arrow for mixing purposes, maybe it would work as a pigment base? And it was so. Of course, once I mixed it up, I had to print something with the graphite ink, so I did a little piece celebrating carbon:

Four Natural Allotropes of the Element Carbon

I’ll do a numbered edition of 27 for this one, so if anyone’s interested in purchasing a piece, let me know. I also did some one-offs, just messing around with the type on the press, and this one was amusing:


I call it Flipped Allotropes.