I wrote about my Standard Deviations project a while back, and finally photographed them nicely so I could present them as a series. I’ll be editioning each one individually, and also in 13 sets of 5. Here they are in order:
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:
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”:
More should follow soon!
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.
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.
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:
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 time 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!
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:
I posted about the conceptual print based on the Swadesh list used in linguistics studies some time back. Well, it’s been printed for a couple of weeks, I just never got around to photographing it. No longer! I might to another photoshoot just to see if I can get the embossing nailed down properly, but this particular shot contains two detail insets with the embossing more prominent. Click to embiggen.
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.
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.