Posts in DIY

How-To Make a How-To for METRO Magazine

published by Fran Shea

METRO Magazine thinks their readers might like to see a how-to on letterpress printing. Strangely, they asked me to put one together. It should be online in a week or so but I’ll post it here first because I’m generous. °°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°#1) This is called a printer’s block or advertising cut. All Zeichen Press cards start with one of these.

#2) These backwards lead letters are called type. Before computers, they were the only way to print anything. We have cases and cases of them and I like to arrange them into words.

#3) Everything is locked into a heavy-metal frame called a chase using furniture (wood and metal blocks) and quoins (expanding metal wedges). This weighs about as much as my firstborn child. (Ten pounds. TEN POUNDS.)

#4) The chase is pinned into the bed of the press where the rollers can roll over it.

#5) This 1,500 pound printing press was made in the 1930’s by the Chandler & Price Company in Ohio. That round thing in the upper right is called the ink disc. A little ink is dabbed on it, the rollers ride up the rails and onto the ink disc – get covered in ink and spread it across the forme (the type and printer’s block locked into the chase pinned into the bed of the press). I love this press because it is capable of creating beautiful things and crushing your hand.

#6) A blank piece of paper is held onto the platen using little pins. The paper will meet the inked forme when the press closes like a giant evil clam. I always smile like this when I face danger. 

#7) Jen will print a bajillion of these and they will be added to our line.

Gang of Bees Attack Woman Straightening Trellis

published by Fran Shea

The swarm of bees came at me like a swarm of bees and stuck their stingers efficiently into my face and left arm. 

The disfigurement that followed was sideshow-worthy and while I’m as eager as the next gal to take the show on the road, I knew this hideousness was only (sadly) temporary.

My forearm doubled in size and I considered tattooing an anchor on it a la Popeye (the sailor man).

Don’t worry, a can of Raid was emptied into their home/my trellis/the doorway to the shop. I’ll be getting back to work as soon as this Benedryl wears off.

A Well-Oiled Machine

published by Fran Shea

My brother took some old bicycle parts (they weren’t really old, just unguarded) and screwed them to an outhouse. He called this his ice-fishing house and wheeled it the five blocks to Lake Harriet every morning before school.

It probably wasn’t an outhouse and he probably wasn’t ice-fishing. But the important thing was the procedure: Wake up before the crack of dawn, drag, push, and pull the little house through the dark and cold, onto the frozen lake.

What a strange young man.

It has taken us years to fine-tune our order-processing procedure at Zeichen Press. It is now just like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Costumes are optional so Jen never wears hers. Anyway, we are testing out a new step in the procedure. I call it the Order Chute. 

Burn. Stuff. Give.

published by Fran Shea

Making a mix-tape was a commitment – a good one could take the entire weekend and if there was real dedication, homework would have to be set aside.  

The dual-cassette boombox was essential unless you wanted to wait for your song to randomly play on the radio.

I hated that. …Waiting, hour after hour, both the Play and Record buttons beneath my exhausted, trembling fingers… the tape ready for the next musical masterpiece.

The artwork for the tape case was just as important as its contents. More than just a list of song titles, it was an opportunity for creative expression using a good ball-point pen.

I’ll never make another mix-tape but I don’t even care because I can waste my weekends making mix cd’s.

We all can!

And of course stuff them in a Zeichen Press mixpak!

I wish someone would make me a mix cd… (PLEASE!!)

 

 

WATCHandSHAREcards

published by Fran Shea

Dynamite magazine was full of hard-hitting news for kids growing up in the 1970’s.dynamite-magazine

But the best part of the magazine were the centerfolds. I wanted the Hang in There! poster so bad. It would have looked sweet on my closet door – right next to my Jackson 5 poster.

jackson-5

Struck by nostalgia and surrounded by (more) kittens, I took it upon myself to recreate the magic moment of the earnest kitten:hang-in-there-pamWhen I was all done forcing the kittens to perform adorable stunts, it was time to make videos of people reading Zeichen Press cards.

Let me explain: Beneath various cards in our online shop, there will be a link to a video of someone (it could be you!) reading the card aloud. Why? Because even the lazy and the ne’er do wells have a right to Zeichen Press cards.

Franstravaganza Part II

published by Fran Shea

“It is finished.” She gasped as she crumpled to the cold, concrete. It was, by all accounts, glorious. The work would outlast the artist and elevate the art form to new and dizzying heights. 

But she, exhausted and covered in ink, was oblivious. To her, this was nothing more than an exercise. A functional and fleeting piece, it would be handled roughly and discarded by Springtime.

Um, so, that poster for Craftsravaganza is, like, done:

craftstravaganza-poster

Working in the Bathtub

published by Fran Shea

I love the ladies of the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. And when I say I love them it means I love that they trust us. Trust us to create business cards of the future. We’re not sure how lasers work but we all saw Superman II.generalzod

These days, lasers are used for more than just pulverizing concrete. And I can prove it:

jstk-polaroid

The latest project for JSTK has nothing to do with lasers. Or letterpress – don’t they know we do LETTERPRESS??  They asked us to create some instructional films.

Naturally, I cleaned my bathtub and got to work:fran-bathtub

Here’s what I made:

We want to be more than just friends with: i like you

published by Fran Shea

i like you –> 501 First Ave. NE Minneapolis, MN 55413

The first in a new series devoted to (not racially) profiling shops that carry Zeichen Press goods. I can assure you, it won’t be the last.

Sarah and Angela (or is it Angela and Sarah?)sarah-angela-on-the-grass-2

are craft benefactors. Every square inch of their shop is filled with sweetness via craftiness. The gals (that’s what I call them – I’m sure they call me something) have packed all of the fun (and none of the lunch tables) of an urban craft fair into their North East shop. It’s a wonder to behold…

own-it