Monday, May 21, 2007

Impressed (Midwest)

I'm back from my fabulous weekend in Minneapolis. I took a two-day crash course on letterpress printing at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The MCBA resides in the Open Book Building in the Warehouse district. The Open Book spaces, the MCBA classrooms, shop and galleries were all visually spectacular. I would kill to work in a space like this. Check out this shot from the bathrooms looking out at the Open Book commons area through to an exhibit on the exterior wall of MCBA classrooms. Nice.

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed the class. I was able to handset type and then run prints on a multitude of papers provided. I tried some larger, old, woodblock type, then metal type, and even carved a linoleum block to run on a press. Here you see some of my efforts. The type is 9 point Univers all caps spaced with 3 em blocks. The lower case type is 8 point Times New Roman Italic. I only dropped my type once. Yes, I swore. And, after printing discovered that some of the type characters were bolder than the rest, so I had to tweezer out and replace them with the correct type. This was somewhat tedious and time consuming. If and when I buy my own letterpress (!!!!) I will probably run photopolymer plates along with block prints on press. Hand setting type is not my cup of tea. The shadowy twig image is my lino block (also in the shot) run with transparent white ink. I think I would print this way over and over and never get sick of it. The ink adds such a soft wash of gloss on the stock. It is beautiful.

After a weekend of much needed time away and working creatively. I am realizing it is time for me to start working again. I'm not sure how much or exactly on what, whether it's graphic design, greeting cards or fine art. Come this fall I think changes will happen. Right now I am now back at home reorganizing my office, making lists, and thinking about how to prepare for my first arts and crafts fair on June 9. The bigger plan will emerge this summer I am sure.

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