Posts in lead type

THINKING OF YOU

published by Fran Shea

Time alone was rare. But in a pinch, I was forced to conjure up an imaginary playmate. This was a strange exercise and not something I was particularly good at.

Other children lived in complex and exotic worlds of make-believe — I don’t think the “friends” in their pretend worlds were from Minnesota — with names like Carura Fadida and Anarada Salsa.

There was a girl who lived in the glossy tile next to the toilet. I spoke with her when there was no soul around.

Her name was “Fran.”fran-balance-beam

Rooted in reality, with a strong sense of the superfluousness of an imaginary world. I was, and am, from German stock. Zees duss neecht make senss.

It must be that toe-hold in reality that permits me to create the following:thinking-of-you-lady-3thinking-of-you-because-thought-dont-violate-restraining

Heavy Metal Type

published by Fran Shea

One fully loaded California Job Case weighs as much as I do and I have spent the week proving this.california-case-layout

We are in the process of rearranging the shop and I am in the process of atoning for my sins via physical labor — my hair shirt is at the cleaners and flip-flops don’t hold small rocks like Uggs.

Here’s how it works: I carefully slide one 100 lb case out of the cabinet and onto the floor.type-case-heavy

And then I do that, like, 60 more times.

If I realize there is a case of type I need on the bottom of the pile, I simply pick up each and every case on top of that case and create another pile on the floor.

At some point, intern(s) get involved.lucy-hawthorne-and-indiaTheir apprenticeship is very old-school: They sort type/hate me. That’s how they used to do it in the good ol’ days, I’m just trying to keep tradition alive.

They’ll thank me later.

Spanking Machine

published by Fran Shea

A strange custom:

One child crawls through a tunnel made of other children — the crawling child is spanked on the bottom by each participant. The spankers laugh hysterically.

The concept of automated and industrial scale corporal punishment originated in 19th century Russia.

It’s true!

I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say that the concept has evolved from judicial whipping of peasants to tunnels of birthday abuse for today’s schoolchildren.

A good friend of mine turned XX (not Roman numerals) and she has such fond memories of the Spanking Machine!

I made her a card:small-spanking-layoutsmall-birthday-spankings

Tribulation Consolation

published by Fran Shea

Sometimes (not very often) I find myself at a loss for words. Speechless. Struck dumb by powerful emotion. “I’m stunned. I mean, I’m in a state of… somebody should just throw a blanket over me, you know?” – Woody Allen (Manhattan)

Sometimes an empathy card is better than a sympathy card.

Sometimes a bear playing violin says it all.there-are-no-words

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.

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

A Mother’s Day card?

published by Fran Shea

I have no idea (yes, I do) why I felt compelled to write this card. I should be thinking about scarecrows and bobbing for apples and burning witches at the stake. Anyway, here’s a Mother’s Day card – look for it in our shop and at these fine stores in the Springtime. Just to give a little behind the scenes action, here’s what it looks like when I set all of that pesky type:

Some New Cards and Some Other Things

published by Fran Shea

Katie Dohman, style editor for Minnesota Monthly, made a special guest appearance in the shop. She was just delightful and for that she got one of these:

Wounds & Shame

The moral of the story on that broadside would be the theme of the weekend. Don’t ask questions – just accept my cryptic storytelling. JUST ACCEPT.
On to other matters of no importance to anyone. The following photographs were taken in three different Ladies Rooms (for LADIES) in Minneapolis – Can you guess the venue? If you can, I (or someone that works for that empire called Zeichen Press) will send you a fancy letterpress card. Fun! *You are instantly disqualified if you are in the photograph. Sorry. But don’t act like I don’t give you free cards anyway.
fran-and-jenny-bathroom helen-fran-bathroom
katie-fran-bathroom
I just need, like, 500 more photographs for a lovely coffee table book.
Enough small talk! On to the new cards:
 if-by-different-you-mean-aw thank-you-for-putting-up-bl youre-welcome-blog_ im-calling-to-thank-you-foplease-accept-this-as-a-tok
PS: I know the card above looks like a black blob but it’s a man carrying a baby elephant. Don’t worry, the real card will be perfect.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

published by Fran Shea

Done.

a-z-type-room-and-board

Do not worry. IF you can’t get your sad self to the Room and Board nearest you, you can shop online!

 It’s true. But not yet. NOT YET. The ink isn’t even dry.

Did I mention that I will be the lunchmeat between the bread named Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol? What a strange, virtual sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches: I decided to take a break from printing to do some printing and I made this:

does-this-sandwich-make-me-450x337