Tipoteca Italiana

While we were in Italy, we stumbled apon a true gem for letterpress fans - Tipoteca Italiana 

The museum and print studio is located in Cornuda, part a beatiful region of rolling hills and small villages in the Prosecco producing region in Northern Italy (yes, we did take advantage of this). Just the machinery alone would have made the museum worth the trip. There were an array of typesetting machinery, including working monotype and linotype machines: 

Plus a collection of manual and semi-automated presses that were in amazing condition:

But, wow - the type collection. First and foremost, Typoteca is a museum devoted to typography and it shows. There were cabinets upon cabinets of type - hundreds easy. I have never seen anything like it. The wood type, in particular the art nouveau and art deco fonts, were extraordinary: 

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Besides the museum, the wonderfully designed building also houses a lovely bookshop and working print studio, where they offer workshops and classes. If you are ever anywhere near the area, I strongly reccomend you stop by. 



Alphabet Tiles

If you have read my earlier posts, you know that I am working large (8 inch square) wood type flash cards for children. In fact, one of my nieces has learned to ask for "letters" when we FaceTime, and then loves to call out the letters as I hold them up to the phone (yep - makes my day every time). 

Well, cut to us all going on holiday together and me not having all the big flashcards done yet. I still wanted to give her something that she could play with, and so did a last minute project that I think turned out quite well: foil-blocked mini aphabet cards. 

These are only 2 inches square and made out of high-density bookboard scraps, so they are quite sturdy. They look like large scrabble tiles, if every letter was made using a different color foil. I made eight of each letter - plenty for her to play games with, lose a few and (eventually) spell out words. Added bonus - the bag of letters has a nice heft to it and is a lot of fun to root around in. 

If anyone wants some of these for their own, let me know. I will be making more of them for one of our other (older) nieces when when we are back from vacation. 


The Wayzgoose Fair at the St. Bride Foundation

A bit belated post here about the Wayzgoose. We had a lot of fun at the fair. There was plenty of interesting people to meet and stalls to see. And the Foundation was a fun place to expore in and of itself. Interestingly, the fair had a bunch of stalls offering cards and / or fine press publishing, but not a lot of letterpress art or artist books.  But then, the division between the artist books and fine press printing does seem to be a bit sharper here in the UK than in the States. At least, that's what I have found so far - I would be interested to hear what other people think. 

Here is a small selection of what we saw:

The entire building was full of nooks and crannies and beautiful big halls like this one. 

  The LCBA stall!

 The LCBA stall!

 In the basement were loads of type and machines. 

In the basement were loads of type and machines. 

 What we came home with. 

What we came home with. 

Pocket Garden Notebooks

As promised, here is a look at the pressure-print books that I made, mostly on a dare, for this Sunday's Wayzgooze Fair at the St. Bride Foundation, in central London. As with many of my projects, this turned into something a bit more involved than I had origanally planned. 

I started using organics when I frist learned how to pressure print from Roni Gross (thanks Roni!!!) and it was really fun to take what she taught me and apply it to a larger-scale production. I used 12 types of herbs to create over 75 sheets of printed images (double-sided), using three colors that I brayered onto a lucite base. The varaitions the occurred from the different color combos, not to mention the decomposition of the herbs - I was able to get about 10 decent prints from every bunch before they were smashed beyond recognition - really made for some interesting images.  

 Pressure prints cut down to size and ready to be scored

Pressure prints cut down to size and ready to be scored

I've already mentioned the foil-block printing for the covers. Very neat and surprisingly easy. The binding? Yeah, not so much. Turns out sewing is not my friend. I probably did not help by creating a seven-hole saddle stitch model instead of a simpler three-hole one, but the little stitches looked so cute! Not my fault. 

Anyway, after the third attempt to sew ended up in a third spasm attack, even I had to admit causality. Fortunately, Flaminia Rossi, a fellow member at the LCBA, actually likes to sew and was able to help out. We got a nice system going with me doing the awl work and her doing the stitching and were able to finish the rest of them.

 Thank you, Flaminia! 

Thank you, Flaminia! 


After that, they hung out in the book press for a bit, got trimmed, and voila! - they are all ready for Sunday. 

 

New Tricks!

Turns out that the LCBA has not one, but three (yes!) foil block printers. Behold:

I haven't actually tried the last one yet, but I did use the two Blockmasters to make the covers for the little pressure print books I'm making, and boy, was it fun. I predict that there will be plenty more foil in my future. 


A little something different

When we moved to London, I did promise that I would write these posts to let everyone know how we were doing. I recognize that I have not been doing my best with this. But that does not mean that I haven't been doing things. And now that the days are getting longer (and I am getting out of the house a bit more) I am going to try and and be better about posting updates and using Instagram. In the next few weeks, I might even have a binding project to share with you. Yes, I said binding. Don't get your hopes up - we are talking three stiches, at most. Its a start, though!

In the meantime, I will leave you with a sample of some other things I've been working on - writing. I am going to be better (braver?) about posting some of my pieces here, too. These should all be looked at as drafts. Strong enough to share, but still needing work. 

Happy spring, everybody! 

 

Morning

 

Most days we see the three Asian women (are they Londoners, or are they still a something else, like us?)  

Walking for exercise with their tiny dog, so polite

Always with a wag hello as he trots in circles around their legs

 

Or the parents hustling children to school

Tiny ducks in uniforms of grey and maroon

Each one in different shades of neat and unkempt 

 

Off on the side

The pair that are forever twined together

She a so-elegant pale poodl

He a more boisterous brown mutt

Talking as their dogs scuffle about

 

And now us

Walking the concrete paths across green fields

Following the gentle curves and angles in a pattern that still thrills for all that it has turned familiar  

Much like the feel of your hand in mine

 

We follow the pulse

We ebb and flow

As days turns to weeks turn to months   

Do they notice us as we notice them?

Or have we become

Like the seagulls that stalk among the tamed green grass  

An incongruity that is no longer anything but commonplace

 

 

Cat Caravan by Make them Roar

My friend and neighbor, Bettina, is a woman of many talents. She and her husband, Eddie, run Waffle On, where you can get fresh German waffles made for you as you wait - you can find them at the Maltby Street market on weekends. Then there is Make them Roar, a "style guide for the fashionable cat" that Bettina started, with the assistance of her two cats, Mr. Spats and General Teddington, of course (Spats and Teddy have even deigned to let me play with them, once in a while). And now there is the Cat Caravan, a kickstarter campaign started by Bettina and her friend Merle, that aims to bring some style and stimulation to your next cat playhouse. 

Our cat Trotsky might be gone, but I still have a soft spot for all things furry. Which is why I was happy to volunteer a reward to help out the Cat Caravan campaign.  Merle and Bettina had already done the hard bit - their roaring cat logo is great. All I had to do was adapt it it a bit to fit on a card. 

Right click HERE to see some examples of what the cards will look like.  

Cheerful Veggies

Happy New Year! I am getting a nice slow start to the year. There are three big projects in various stages of percolation - the Kyiv poem cycle, an artist book, and the flash cards - plus a great set of cards I will be printing up as a kickstarter reward for a friend (more on that in a few days). The winter days in London are a bit like New York in November, but with less light. And no snow. It gets a bit dreary sometimes, to be honest. Which is probably why I did a small batch of veggies. They were fun to carve and I used up a bunch paper stock odds and ends that I brought with me. It is always nice to have a bit of color to brighten up the dark days. Summer is going to be here before we know it! 




My first few weeks at LCBA

My first few weeks at the London Centre for Book Arts have been wonderful.

 

Walking to the Centre is a dream....

Simon and Ira have set up a fantastic space to work in. There is vintage ink:

Beautifully maintained presses:

And a guillotine that is downright adorable!