Tuesday, February 4, 2014

EVERYONE IS HAPPY WHEN THE TYPE GOES HOME

Found this on my desk this morning, a note from one of our apprentices letting me know that she put her type away. & we all win.


Friday, October 25, 2013

TYPEFACES: THE ARTISTRY OF LETTERING


Typeface is tightly connected to the history of technology. Although first invented in China, movable type was not “discovered” in Europe until Johannes Gutenberg developed a version in 1450s Germany. Moveable type changed the ability to spread ideas, and in many ways, it actually helped fuel the split between the Catholic and Protestant churches that gradually led Western society into modernity. From there, we eventually used typewriters and now the home computer. Lettering effects everything we do, and we have hundreds of variations at our very fingertips. They are as unique as our fingerprints.



Here at the Press, part of our apprenticeship training focuses on understanding the bones of a couple different typefaces. The challenge is to visually understand the lettering and then be able to copy it. Without tracing. [Ed. note: The exercise referred to is adapted from an assignment by designer/educator Ellen Lupton, http://www.thinkingwithtype.com/contents/extras/#Tools_for_Teachers] It is a lot harder than it sounds. This exercise makes you focus on how a font style can visually change the way we perceive words. It challenges you to see the artistry behind the lettering. So when I’m sitting here trying to painstakingly sketch the letter A, I’m reminding myself that it is to understand the signs that make up the written world. 


Each of the examples illustrates a completely different way of writing the letter A. Some of these types have been around for a long time, acting as standards. Others, like the Chalkduster example illustrate the new ways we can use technology to make typefaces. One of the older types is Baskerville. It belongs in the "Transitional" category of type. First created by print enthusiast John Baskerville, we have been using this style of font since the 1760s! This is a Baskerville A. 


The distinguishing characteristics include a distinct differences between the wide and narrow strokes. In a way, it imitates a calligraphy nibbed pen. It definitely tapers a bit, and it is longer than say, the Garamond A. This makes it great at extending the text slightly, and creates a uniformity among the capital letters. Best of all, it is very clear and easy to read. 



My hand-drawn attempt is slightly too narrow, and the feet are not equal. But in general, the strokes imitate the typeface. After a few tries, I find that I start noticing distinguishing characteristics of typeface. It becomes a question of visual clarity, sharpness of corners, and rigidity of text. From there, the technical aspects diminish in importance and the letter itself achieves an unmistakable level of beauty. Which font to use is not just a technical question; it is a question of art. 

-All photos and text by Erin Conner

Thursday, October 17, 2013

TOOLS OF THE TRADE



Here, at the press, we use presses. And letters (type). Think of this post as a recognition of some of the other tools necessary to our work. Those of you who have never printed on a letterpress before will learn a whole new and utterly useless vocabulary and those of you who use these tools every day—well, you just might learn something too. 


Our galleys, or galley trays. Used to hold type which has been composed (put together) but not yet printed or printed but not yet distributed (put away).

The word originally appeared meaning low, flat-built seagoing vessel of one deck. Printers allegedly started using the word around 1650 because of it's similarity in shape. (Really? These look like boats?) I'd like to think it's because the type is in transitionnot at its home drawer, not at its destination of the press bed, but traveling. Like it were, say, on a boat.


Our quoins. Not coins, contrary to the belief of many. Expandable sticks that "lock" a forme into the press bed by way of horizontal pressure. From a 16th century word for cornerstone which came to mean wedge which for obvious reasons came to be applied to these.



Our furniture. I can't even find a printing-related definition of this word. Used for filling the press bed once the forme is in place so the quoin will have something to apply pressure against. In a sense, it's what is used to furnish the press bed after the forme is in place.


Our planers used for leveling type in the press bed. Also known affectionately as blocks of wood.


Our type height gauge. Used to gauge the height of something one wants to print. So that thing can be adjusted to be type-high (.918 inches)EXACTLY. Not absolutely necessary but an impressively sensitive and accurate machine.


Our pica rulers. Used for measuring in type-based units known as picas. Pica is Latin for magpie so clearly the word came from when magpies would steal printers' rulers. Because, you know, they like shiny things.


Our guillotine. This can cut through a stack of paper as thick as your head in one clean swipe. It could probably also cut through your actual head. You can guess where its name came from. Used for cutting paper. Although I did once meet a man who ran a lumberyard and used an old guillotine blade he had outfitted with a couple handles to peel bark off of logs. He had an impressive beard.


That long metal lollipop-looking thing is our roller gauge. The diameter of the metal cylinder is exactly type-high, which is why it's handy for making sure the rollers are the right distance from the press bed to ink up type.


Our composing sticks. Used for setting type to an even line length. And our wayzgoose.


Dear tools of the press,

Thank you.

We couldn't do it without you.

With love,

Taryn Wiens

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

COLORADO FLOOD RELIEF POSTERS FROM THE PRESS!


A group of CC students have designed and printed letterpress posters about the recent floods in CO. We are selling them to raise money for continued relief efforts and long-term mitigation projects. The posters cost $10 and will be available at the Tutt Library Circulation Desk and The Press at CC in Taylor Hall. All money raised will be donated to Foothills United Way (Boulder area) and the Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund. 

2013 Colorado Flood Broadside  
by Ashley Johnson, Patrick Lofgren and Katie Smith
  
Letterpress from lead type, collagraph and linoleum 
  
Edition of 90 

10.75” x 14.75”
  
2013
  
$10
 


Monday, October 7, 2013

PAUL MOXON IS COMING TO CC TO TEACH A VANDERCOOK MAINTENANCE WORKSHOP!


We are excited to announce that the Press at CC will be hosting a Vandercook Maintenance Workshop, taught by Paul Moxon, on Saturday, Nov. 2 and Sunday, Nov. 3. The workshop will run from 10 AM – 4 PM on both days. In the workshop:
Participants will learn all the points of maintenance, cleaning and lubrication so as to be prepared for potential problems and make or direct repairs. We will also discuss all models of interest and other brands as warranted. Whether you use studio presses, own a press, or are thinking of buying one, this workshop will provide excellent direction for your future presswork. Bring your questions, photos and/or broken parts. Paul will also share examples from his collection of Vandercook literature. [text from Paul Moxon’s website]
The total number of participants is limited at 12. Six of the spots will be open to the general public, and six will be reserved for CC students. The cost is $150 for the public, and free for CC students. If you would like to reserve a spot, please email Aaron Cohick, Printer of The Press at CC, at aaron[dot]cohick[at]coloradocollege[dot]edu by Friday, Oct. 25. Once your spot is reserved we will contact you to arrange payment. Please direct all questions to the email above as well.

For more info, you can visit Paul’s personal website, and his amazing Vandercook resource site.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

jeNGK: C BLOCK BOOK ARTS AND LETTERPRESS



The initial assignment for the final was an individual project, but we created a new project proposal to work together as a class, which Aaron approved. Each student came up with a two-word phrase on the theme of "junk" and gave it to a classmate to interpret. Those words were turned in to a four-page folio design which we worked in teams to print.



The book is pictured along with our other projects during our class opening on August 2nd.


The initial assignment for the final was an individual project, but we created a new project proposal to work together as a class, which Aaron approved. Each student came up with a two-word phrase on the theme of "junk" and gave it to a classmate to interpret. Those words were turned in to a four-page folio design which we worked in teams to print. 



We worked together on nearly every aspect of the final project and the outcome is a true, nine-person collaboration (with lots of help from Taryn Wiens and Aaron Cohick of course!) 



Group projects are not always exciting and successful, but this experience was an exception. Each member of the class has a distinct design style, which allowed the final to be a coherent and differentiated piece reflective of each student's efforts. 


We worked hard, and had a wonderful time.

All photos and text by Leeds Mallinckrodt-Reese.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

THE REBIRTH OF TRUTH

"Madness" writes 19th century German philosopher Heinrich Shleschmann Zuute, in his groundbreaking literary manifesto Zuberflagen, "has deprived the common man of his common dream in a common world surrounded by commoners. Only through the purge of a spiritual lobe can we release yet another suture in the tapestry of a mortal plane." My work at the press aims to realize this goal through a direct attack on the human psyche.


Above you may witness the object in which my methods have come to fruition. I have descended to the still widely unknown of this institution of higher learning; and by utilizing the medium of letterpress printing, I have crawled back. Spreading these brief glimpses throughout a reality that many of you exist in each painful day. A piece must have a frame, however subtle, otherwise the artism of reality can "flood the fluvial cellar of the mind, reducing civilization and nature to a state of desperation." *

*Heinrich Shleschmann Zutte, Zuberflagen

Below, you can see the pure form of philosophy. In order to obtain such genius, one must first strip away all inner sight, then strip away the schema of the self, the unself, and, of course, the bookself. The vision below is where truth lies in an ultimate form. The image of a lyrical poet, similar to a modern day bard, hovering over simple, centered, soulful syllables from my intellectual expeditions, is the most reliable form.


With this form as a template I am able to deconstruct and reconstruct this prose vector pattern however I desire, while still remaining efficient and true to the moral and philosophical standards the categorical imperative has set for us.



"BEHOLD! THE BIRTH OF A NEW GOD. REASON HAS WROUGHT IT AND FAITH HAS BIRTHED IT"* Now you have seen the beauty and symmetry of my grand design. As all the stark prose is four vectors in length, I am able to exchange any four vector length piece of prose out for another, thus rendering my design fluid. The design is only three simple runs, a number and simplicity laced with imagery of the tiger lily, oft referenced in manuals of human beauty. 

*Heinrich Shleschmann Zutte, Gods, Humans, Horse.


Watch out, School born of the Rockies. The truth has been unleashed, and no amount of blind ignorance may stop a vassal as potent as the work of tireless hands. The truth is around you, it simply waits to be seen. 

Already a new project, which will be created with my hands, is underway. This larger work will follow the harrowing journey of a Brazilian outlaw on his trip to Hell, and the death of the devil shortly after he arrives. The broadside will assault the senses with heavy handed beauty and loose baggage. 

-Evan


The truth was being forged by a man who was listening to Will Smith. 
This man would recommend the song "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" in particular. It has that peppy bounce that kidz crave.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ORPHEUS THE STUTTERER: A POETICS OF SILENCE


The Press at Colorado College is very excited to announce the publication of its newest title, Orpheus the stutterer: a poetics of silence, by the poet & letterpress printer Alan Loney. From the colophon:
The design and production of  large book projects distorts time in strange ways: the process seems unending, but there is never enough time; there are many steps & pieces, but the imagined & unpredictable gestalt drives the whole thing; once the long production ends the fun really begins; the book begins again & again with each new reader. You may be reading this colophon at the beginning or end of your experience with this book — either way we are grateful  for your company.

The typeface used throughout most of Orpheus is Lirico, in its Roman & Italic forms and in Normal and Light weights. Lirico was designed  by Hendrik Weber and published  by OurType in 2008. The Greek typeface is Neohellenic, produced & published  by the Greek Font Society. All of  the text was letterpress printed  from photopolymer plates on our well-loved Vandercook 219. The large sections of color on the covers and the opening and closing pages of  the book were printed from collagraph blocks made with a brush texture in acrylic gel medium. The covers were hand-painted with acrylic gesso, and the pages were painted with acrylic ink wash.

Orpheus was made in a variable edition. The text and division of  the pages is the same in each copy but how they were articulated with color changes from book to book.
Orpheus the stutterer: a poetics of silence was written by the poet & letterpress printer Alan Loney. This book was designed and printed  by Aaron Cohick at The Press at Colorado College during the end of 2012 and  beginning of 2013. Two student apprentices at The Press, Taryn “Centauryn” Wiens and John “John Baskerville” Christie, assisted in the binding and  hand-coloring. Corie Cole supported the production of this book in various ways, many of them intangible, but all of them absolutely vital. This book would not exist without the participation of our wonderful community here at Colorado College.

Forty copies were printed, thirty of which are for sale.


The images above & below show the same page spreads from three different copies of the book, in order to show how the hand-coloring varies from copy to copy.













Orpheus the stutterer: a poetics of silence
Text by Alan Loney
64 pages, Hardcover, Coptic stitch with channeled thread
8” x 13” (closed)
Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates & collagraph, hand-colored with acrylic ink wash
Edition of 40: 10 archival/artist’s proofs, 30 copies for distribution
2013
$600

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, or have any questions or comments about the book, please email Aaron Cohick, Printer of The Press at Colorado College, at aaron(DOT)cohick(AT)coloradocollege(DOT)edu.

Some production images, as well as more thoughts on & around Orpheus, can be found here, on the blog of CO Springs artist Andy Tirado. The post was written by Grace Gahagan, a student at Colorado College.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

JESSY RANDALL: HOW YOU LOSE


And here’s another one! This time only dating back to the first semester of the current academic year (what can I say, we’ve been busy). How You Lose, by Jessy Randall. The colophon (printed on the back) reads:

“ ‘How You Lose’ is a found poem by Jessy Randall.
The source text is Ken Uston’s 1982 book Score! Beating the Top 16 Video Games.
This broadside was instigated by Shanon Lawson, designed by Steve Lawson, and realized by Aaron Cohick at The Press at Colorado College in September of 2012. Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates on Rives BFK, using fluorescent inks and two rad fonts downloaded from the Internet: Synchro LET and 04B_21.”

Copies are still available: $20 plus shipping. If you are interested in purchasing one, please email Aaron Cohick, Printer of The Press at CC, at aaron[dot]cohick[at]coloradocollege[dot]edu.