Posts in Letterpress

Step one:

published by Fran Shea

Part of the World Domination Plan involves a complete Zeichen Press website redesign. Just imagine our new logo in living, breathing, MOVING, technicolor! Oh, the anticipation dizzies me. My prop shopping list includes a wig and a man. …I guess my husband could be the man… Lord knows he’d love the attention. Especially the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

My friend Fred started photographing our product line. It’s a Fair Trade – just like when the Indians traded Manhattan for wampum.

PS: Did you know that Zeichen Press cards can be delivered right to your door? That’s right! You don’t even have to leave your house. Or your bed. Like me. What will they think of next??two-bald-men surprise-i-totally-forgot hello-is-this-the-police does-this-sandwich what-the-duck oh-kitty-where-have

As we descend into the bowels of that beast called Winter

published by Fran Shea

It is February 1.

If anyone is left please contact me. I have locked myself in the furnace room and my rations are dwindling. I am eating Panko Japanese Style Breading with a dirty popsicle stick and telling myself it’s Lik-A-Stix. Mmmmm, Lik-A-Stix…

Somehow, I was able to make this card:sup-dawg-450x577

Je m’appelle Françoise

published by Fran Shea

If I were getting married I would design and letterpress print my own invitation.

What am I saying?? No, I wouldn’t. I don’t even send out the Christmas cards that I design and letterpress print. WHAT??!! I know. This is a blog post and a confession.

Anyway, Minnesota Bride included  one of our wedding invitations in a nice little spread they called “Vintage in Vogue.”

See?

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2. Inspired by the couple’s romantic first meeting in the city of love, designer Fran Shea blended imagery from Paris with a vintage postcard theme to create a classic yet distinctive invite. Using letterpress printing and a unique accordion layout, this design evokes an aura of chic French elegance. Zeichen Press, 612.432.1943, zeichenpress.com

A roomful of Letterpress printers

published by Fran Shea

It was everything I imagined. Except better, because of the chicken shots. Yum! 

Mary Bruno organized the event in honor of Amos Kennedy’s timely arrival. As far as I could tell, Amos is not related to THE Kennedy family. There were certain clues, like: He did not share that distinctive/made up accent or that glamorous head of hair. Also, he is black.

Anyway, Amos was there and we hugged like old friends. There was much talk, naturally, of printing presses. Mary Bruno ended up breaking a beer bottle and using it as a weapon – apparently her “street cred” was at stake. Boy was I glad to get out of there with only minor injuries. I wish I could say the same for Jen. Please send flowers and meals to our headquarters.

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Two St. Paul printers showed up : Fred Petters of Vandalia Street Press and Bill Moran of Blinc PublishingBill was nice. Fred ate off of other people’s plates. I could go on and on but why should I when I have this amazing photograph that perfectly captured the evening?

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And this is where Fran and Jen learn to use their new Heidelberg

published by Fran Shea

Oh, the joy of leaning over a giant machine that has the potential to crush my hands and create such beauty!

I think I felt joy. Or panic? In any case, I felt some sort of feeling while leaning over the New Press. Karl (the previous owner) had explained, really clearly, the 1,000 things to know – why couldn’t I remember them?? Knobs, pulls, blades, grippers, clutch levers, friskets, sucker bars, rollers, toggles, gears, pins, springs… they all seemed to get tangled up in my mind.

Oh, so tangled!

Just like a rat king.rat-king

That’s what happens when the tail of one thought gets covered in feces and the tail of another thought gets stuck to it… and the tail of another thought gets stuck to the other thoughts. It’s all very messy and usually ends up in some Dutch chimney.

Anyway, here’s a snippet of our lesson:

0°, Hydraulics and a Hair Dryer

published by Fran Shea

Why is it that the one time I leave my house something awesome happens?? Jack drove the Heidelberg Windmill down from Wahpeton, North Dakota this morning. Drove it right down to our fancy studio.

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I’m in Brainerd not running around the house in my underwear and Jen is back at ZP headquarters. Who knew (Jack the mover knew) that the press was going to be delivered TODAY? Apparently, the hydraulic part of the pallet jack (not Jack the mover) didn’t love the 0°. I guess it was frozen and I’m no expert but that seems like a setback. Jen called me wondering where she could find a hair dryer. I don’t know why she wanted to style her hair but I’m not going to judge. Apparently, Jen’s beautiful hair did the trick because the new press is safe and sound in the SW corner of the shop.

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It’s ART!! DO YOU HEAR ME?? ART!!

published by Fran Shea

Alphabetically speaking, Zeichen follows Warhol in the Room and Board dictionary. Andy Warhol and Zeichen Press sit side-by-side on the Wall Art page – I don’t want to speak for Mr. Warhol BUT I’ll bet he is thrilled with the proximity… This might be just the thing to jump-start his career… Good luck, Andy!! You weird, prolific little man!!

So, back on the R&B website – here’s what the description DOESN’T say:

Produced entirely by hand using
vintage (super old) printing equipment,
Zeichen Press creates this letterpress
design exclusively for us in their
Minneapolis studio. Actually, they call
it a studio but really it was once the
family garage – an issue that nearly
cost the owner (Fran Shea) her marriage,
and more importantly, the garage.
I mean, studio. Using a centuries-old
manual printing method, they set salvaged,
antique type by hand in limited print runs
to give the work a one-of-a-kind quality
that feels both modern and classic.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°
They edited that copy down to the nub! But I suppose they know best.

Have a look at these photos: GASP! They make me want to buy one of my own prints!

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The strong would survive the winter. The weak would, of course, be eaten.

published by Fran Shea

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The Long Winter is the true tale of a Minnesota family surviving one of the most brutal Winters in our recorded history. Trapped in the house – day after day after day – the blizzard makes it impossible to see out the window or even walk out to the barn without getting lost. Good ol’ Pa rigs up a rope to follow, he is always coming up with some creative solution! Ma follows that rope because Pa finds himself trapped in a ditch by the creek. The wood pile dwindles to nothing and the family is forced to twist hay into little bundles – they would burn these in the cast-iron stove to heat their little house. … Tough, brown bread is the only food left to eat.

Or is it?

What if that was on the jacket flap? I’d totally read that book.

It’s time for Christmas rejects!

published by Fran Shea

Gosh, that’s a scary movie! Those poor misfit toys… the choo-choo with the square wheels, the pistol that shoots jelly, the effeminate jack-in-the-box…  I think the jack-in-the-box and that little dentist-elf would make a cute couple.

Okay, so I keep trying to design something to print on these FIVE THOUSAND BEVERAGE COASTERS that we have lying around. I guess no one cares about preserving the shine and luster of their finished furniture.

I think that’s barbaric.

Maybe they think it sends the wrong message? I don’t. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to booze it up through the 12 days of Christmas. In fact, it is acceptable all year round IF you set your drink on one of our beverage coasters. (Was that some sort of plug?? Yes. Here’s a link: AND here’s one I designed just for Touchpoint Retail. It has the recipe for a candy cane martini right on it. Isn’t that handy?? coaster-for-touchpoint-450x229

They decided to go with a card design from the Zeichen Press line but JUST TO BE DIFFICULT (I mean, sui generis.) they had us print it on an oversized SQUARE coaster. But I must admit, it’s pretty darn nice.

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