Well, it's lovely to finally be back in the studio ready to begin the new year (yes, yes, I know January's nearly over, but some of us warm up a little slowly...).
DD and I have had our wonderful road-trip up to Brisbane for xmas and New Year's, and we even brought my parents back to Sydney to stay with us for a little while. I happily played the Sydney host, showing them all over this fantastic city of ours. Being a tourist in my own town is right up there on the my list of favourite things, so it's even better having a captive audience along for the ride.
Although, no sooner had mum and dad packed their bags and driven home to Brisbane, than I was into a week-long course in letterpress printing held at COFA (the College of Fine Art in Paddington). The quick summer course, called 'Designing with Letterpress', was one of my xmas presents from DD.
I hadn't ever actually done any letterpress printing before, but every graphic designer very much knows what letterpress is because they've seen sexy examples of it in all the good graphic design books and awards, and they've seen (and possibly held) the old wooden type blocks whilst drooling over the sheer potential of such a nostalgic and sensuous form of printing. The chance to do this letterpress course really was a long-held dream come true. A special thanks to Sue for letting me know about the course :)
So, on Monday morning I walked into a room laid out with trays and trays of delicious old wooden type, just waiting to be picked up and played with, and I knew it was high time to get my hands dirty with real ink, paper and a 100-year-old printing press...!
The class's main project for the week was designing and printing an Alphabet Book (also known as an Abecedarium) where each person had about 2 pages to produce, in an edition of 20. I had the letter 'M' and the book's front cover, so I used old atlas paper for the M page (as in M for map) and boxboard for half the covers and black cardboard for the rest.
^ This was Sue's design all set-up ready for printing (now that's a serious sized 'U') - you can see it below, printed in red ink. Sue, the lucky soul, has her own letterpress studio set-up at home, and these were some of her own woodblock letters that she brought in especially.
Lucky, there was also some time left-over for random letterpress 'play'. I printed several pages of full sets of letters so that I can turn them into a digitised font later on.
Also, during the week I journeyed over to the fabulous store David Met Nicole to check out their exquisite range of woodblock type - they have huge wooden bowls full of them in all different sizes and fonts, brought back with them from their regular trips to Britain and the US. It took me several hours, but I found a few 'M's that I particularly liked, and the next day I took my purchase in to class so I could do a few prints with them. I was in graphic designer's heaven... check out those sexy prints!!! Mmmm, indeed...
And at the end of the week, we had a bit of a quick exhibition, so all the summer courses could check out each other's work:
And then before I knew it, it was all finished and we each took our copy of the Abecedarium book, our freshly-minted certificate (what the hell do I do with that I wonder?) and toddled off home.
I think I'm already suffering letterpress withdrawal symptoms...
Mental note to self: must find a way to get access to some letterpress equipment, I've already got so many potential letterpress projects swimming around in my head...!