January 29, 2008

Sarah: Letterpress

While looking around my house for some samples of my writing (no particular reason), I realized that I never posted much about the letterpress class that Lisa and I took last summer. As far as the class itself, I would recommend it to anyone. It made me think in a different way and was a blast. Below are some of the works I produced.
Letterpress has a lot of aspects that can't really be captured in an image (especially one taken in poor light with a non-professional camera). A poem of less than 40 words took about an hour to set, letter by letter. The press leaves an impression on your thick, soft paper. The ink cannot be exactly replicated once it has been used up, because you mix the colors by hand on a smooth acrylic slab. Your left arm becomes stronger than your right as you pull the heavy wheel of the press towards you to print each single page. The size and face of your type is determined by many factors, not the least of which is whether you will have enough letters to spell the words you have chosen.
It's a slow, tedious process, but I always loved the result. Anyway, you should try it.

Color balance on these images is terrible. Like I said, bad lighting. This is what I get for blogging at night.
The text of three of my projects is after the jump, if you're curious.

The weeds reach up to welcome me as I sink down into the murky depths. The last bubble of air escapes my lips as the currents brush across my goosebumped flesh. What was once a bottomless abyss now ends in a sandy floor.
The pressure is killing me.

We squeezed into an empty space.
The ether spills into the sun, the gases rise
through the cold air, crooked, bending
stars of light.
We sink, purposeless, to sleep.
Dizzy, spinning
Wonderful... round and round
Dizzy. Spinning.

Working tirelessly in his workshop, Frederick was the premiere taxidermist of the east coast. Famed for his realistic representation of indigenous birds, he could often be found working nights and weekends. Though his home was filled with pheasants, crows, and robins, it had one empty place. The table was always set for two, but Frederick ate alone. He continued to wait each night, hoping his wife would return.

*For this project I had to choose words included in a scientific article. In this way, my vocabulary was limited, but the end result could be anything I imagined.
**This project had to be a story inspired by a zinc cut (like a metal stamp) image supplied by the lab. My zinc cut was the bird that you can see in the first image above. If you spot the typo in that image, you get +2 smart points. If you tell me that I'm sort of dumb because I didn't notice this typo until I had printed my project, you get -3 nice-friend points.

Posted by sarah at January 29, 2008 10:51 PM

Premier! That's an easy one to miss, though. "The the" is a bit more obvious...

Posted by: Brother Dave on January 29, 2008 01:07 AM

I'm so jealous you took that class! Where did you take it at? Your work looks fantastic!

Posted by: Desiree on January 29, 2008 08:48 AM

MINUS SIX BROTHER POINTS! I didn't notice premier until just now. It was the "The the" that I noticed once I had finished and cleaned up my project. I hate myself now.

We took it through the Book Arts program at the U of U. The program allows students and non-students to enroll (I took it as a student for credit, Lisa took it as a community member) and we had several people in the class who came up from Provo. You should do it!

Posted by: sarah on January 29, 2008 09:19 AM

I really want to! Jen and I will look into it. Thanks so much for such a quick response!

Posted by: Desiree on January 29, 2008 09:41 AM

I hope you do it! Just be warned that the lab hours that it requires to complete your projects are pretty hard and fast. Between work and driving time, it can get a bit tight. But it's worth it!

Posted by: sarah on January 29, 2008 11:03 AM

I really LOVE the first untitled piece. It is mesmerizing and has wonderful imagery. "Drowning" is also great.

Interesting theme between those two. Say, do you know how to swim?

Posted by: Jay Sizemore on January 29, 2008 09:50 PM
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