Posts in True Story

Is letterpress too classy for you?

published by Fran Shea

It might be. I’m going to have to credit Martha Stewart with sparking the mainstream revival of the craft. Everyone settle down. If Martha and I ever met (someday on NBC 11:00AM CST) I would burst into tears. She’d slap me across the face and tell me to get ahold of myself. Oh, Martha! You always know just what to do! Zeichen Press has designed and printed its share of wedding related invitations – and we’re pretty certain that gives us some sort of carbon-neutral status. How? It’s pretty complicated – something to do with joy and decency neutralizing our usual gaucheness.

Here’s the part about salvaging letterpress equipment:

published by Fran Shea

People (my mom) always (whenever she feigns interest) ask me, “where do you get this stuff?” Type, cabinets, printer’s cuts, ink, chases, quoins, sticks, cutters, furniture, leads, slugs, tympan, rollers… letterpress takes up a lot more space than this tidy little laptop. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons people stopped using it? I doubt it.

Jen and I both agreed that our favorite salvaging-situation involved a compulsive hoarder with a murder/torture-pit (alleged) in his basement. This house had it all; two commercial espresso machines:

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two Kluge Printing Presses:

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(just in case you’re wondering: TWO Kluge Printing presses are massive and would look like this if not covered in books, dvd’s, televisions, kleenex boxes, grocery bags, magazines and mail):

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a family-style restaurant booth: (this suspiciously barricaded the basement door)

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dozens of old computers: (so sentimental)old_computer

 

“stackable” type cabinets: (we took these)

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and this:

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and this:

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Oh, here’s a fun game:

Can you find the treasure in this photographic vignette?:

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How about here?:pixelated-face-450x600don-butner

°°°°

Oh, well. Enough of the sweet, sweet memories. Here’s part of our latest salvage:cabinet-of-wood-type western-wood-type condensed-wood-type

A long, long time ago there was no Tanek. Only empty space.

published by Fran Shea

I loved when Mom would get out the Scotch-tape and add my latest work to the dining room wall.

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I’m not sure if one day she ran out of paper or tape – but she also let me paint right on the windows and the refrigerator.

I spent the last 10 weeks art directing Tanek’s new website. It was very similar to painting on the refrigerator except without paints or a refrigerator. I worked on the project with my old boss. Don’t confuse this old boss with another old boss I had at the Leeann Chin in Richfield, circa 1989.

You can go look at the new Tanek site. It’s not painted on the fridge or hanging on the dining room wall but it’s still super awesome. You can really build with the masthead blocks! … Actually, that gives me an idea… build something cool, take a screen grab and e-mail it to Zeichen Press – WHY? I’ll pick the best one, send out some fancy letterpress cards to the winner and publish it on the blog.

HEY! This is fun!

Potato-Guns and Make Magazine

published by Fran Shea

The other day, I needed to learn how to make a potato gun. It doesn’t matter why. Anyway, I made my way to the MAKE Magazine blog – If you haven’t been – I don’t know what to say. It’s not like we can’t be friends. It will just never be more than that.

So, they are doing this Maker Business Series and I thought, “hey, I make things… I own a business…” The potato gun would just have to wait. Sorry Edmund. …I sent an e-mail to someone named Gareth (Jen keeps referring to Gareth as “her” – I don’t have the heart to correct her) and told him about Zeichen Press – he responded and then it turned into an interview and… Go read it!!

Wake up call

published by Fran Shea

I try so hard. Really, I do. I try to follow the rules.

I’m jealous of those people (is it everyone?) that climb out of bed at a respectable hour, get dressed, fuss with their hair, apply make-up, brush their teeth, read the paper, make and drink a cup of coffee…

In high school, my morning carpool (I say “carpool” but really it was just my friends carting me around like some sort of package. A smoking, swearing package) would lay on her horn outside my house while I lay in my bed – dreaming that I was missing tests because I was laying in bed dreaming that I was missing tests.

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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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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Two-timing ZP

published by Fran Shea

But I LOVE you Zeichen Press! I do. It’s just that Tanek has something (money) that you don’t have. Does that sound shallow? It’s not, I swear. It’s not just the money. They make me coffee. AND they tell me I do good work. You just sit there and take. And take and take and take – a word that comes to mind is “relentless.” But not in a bad way. Did I mention they’re architects? I know! Restaurantsretailresidential… Wait, did I mention restaurants?… Of course you had to know, the signs were everywhere. Remember when I made those Tanek paper dolls? tanek-paper-doll-inside-card

Or that 4-color halftone?

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Wait, that was just last week. Anyway, I’m totally NOT breaking up with you. I’m just going to be seeing them too. But that’s cool, right? Don’t be so selfish.

**Editor’s Note: What does this mean??? Zeichen Press is just doing some marketing for Tanek.