How We Learn

Fortunately there are a lot of ways to learn something; which is good, because this way – nobody is left out. There’s a ‘way’ for almost every style. In my case, I learn a great deal by reading and talking to people. I remember once (college days), when I wanted to learn to rappel (or abseil) and didn’t have the
time or means to take a proper course of instruction – so, by reading a French mountaineering guide (Gaston Rebuffat) I taught myself to rappel down from a strong set of rafters about 75 feet above the ground in a lumber warehouse. Perhaps not the best approach, but I did it carefully and it worked – I learned. When I bought my press from Jean at Lark Press, and she offered to loan me a book about letterpress – I of course jumped at the offer and read it cover to cover twice. And in so doing, learned the essentials about how to operate and maintain a letterpress. Conversations with experienced printers and suppliers filled out my understanding of how to get started.  

Toad’s Wild Ride

I’ve commented on this notion in previous incarnations of this blog, but the thought returns again and again – and like Toad, our effervescent hero from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows - I feel lucky to have been carried away by this simply wonderful hobby/diversion called letterpress printing.  The author says it this way:
 ”As if in a dream Toad found himself, somehow, seated in the driver’s seat; as if in a dream, he pulled the lever and swung the car round the yard and out through the archway; and, as if in a dream, all sense of right and wrong, all fear of obvious consequences, seemed temporarily suspended. He increased his pace, and as the car devoured the street and leapt forth on the high road through the open country, he was only conscious that he was Toad once more, Toad at his best and highest, Toad the terror, the traffic-queller, the Lord of the lone trail, before whom all must give way or be smitten into nothingness and everlasting night. He chanted as he flew, and the car responded with sonorous drone; the miles were eaten up under him as he sped he knew not wither, fulfilling his instincts, living his hour, reckless of what might come to him.”

That’s me and my letterpress. I can’t say it better. And if you haven’t read this delightful little jewel – you have not yet lived ‘the complete life’. Seek it out (alibris.com)

Where Design Begins

As I’m doing some design work for my next wedding invitation package … I’m reminded that often people think design starts on the computer. It almost never does. I’ve talked with a lot of other artists/designers … we almost always begin this way: 

The hand and eye have better spatial instincts than any mouse trying to bully design software into submission.

Little Red Book

This little journal holds a record of each job that goes on the press. To date (which kind of stuns me actually) there are 68 jobs recorded in this book. Each entry includes: job name, ink, quantity, run date.

I also record how long both the make-ready and run-time took for each job. This gives me good information from which to better estimate future jobs.

Inside Pages (Red Book)

 

What’s Under the Hood?

Well, this is where it get’s interesting (for me, anyway). It’s WordPress under the hood. I’ve built lots of static (and a couple dynamic) sites in the past but never a ‘socialized’ site. So, this is new territory. A socialized site is one that features a blog-engine and facility for linking to as many SM (social media) outposts as you wish, while also giving the developer full ability to build out a navigable site with whatever collection of pages is needed.

I looked at other blog-powered site platforms (moveable type, type pad, drupal) but I liked the fact that WordPress was open source which, in simple terms, means it’s driven by a community of volunteers and good-spirited do-gooders who maintain and improve the code and the supporting documentation. That documentation has been a swell help for a guy like me who knows html/scripting but hasn’t a clue about putting together a site like this.  There’s a lot we’ll be doing with this in the weeks ahead … but in the meantime - yah WordPress !

New & Improved

This weekend is going to see some exciting new content here (better than the old blogspot blog). I’ve got lots in mind … and I think you’ll enjoy what we get done – so – stand by for more good letterpress stuff (and yes, you can overuse the word ‘New’ – I’ll stop now).