Posts in letterpress Minneapolis

$*#-ing Cold OR A Step-By-Step Letterpress Project

published by Fran Shea

Proposals were requested by a public entity (m-m-mysterious!) and WHO ARE WE not to respond?? We felt it our duty (doodie) – as citizens – of this great state, to answer the call.

What follows is a step-by-step account of the creation of the proposal. Zeichen Press style.

°°°

1) Do I look bitter? I’m getting into character. 

2) Brrr! This type is as cold as my heart. Here is the part where lead type is put into something called a stick. Sometimes reading backwards makes me so angry.

3) Now that cold, lead type is locked up into a (cold, metal) frame using fancy (cold, metal) things called quoins. This whole thing is very heavy and sits flat on a proof press. Ready to do my bidding.

4) I load up my brayer with black ink so I can roll it across the type.

5) When I’m sure that my type is evenly inky, I roll this over it. *Notice the vice-grips. I don’t remember why I put them on there and am now afraid to take them off.

6) Isn’t this magical? Ink + paper = awesome.

7) (I would show Jen printing the pages for the guts of the proposal but I felt too fragile to withstand another one of her icy stares.)

8) Printing done.

9) This is where Andrea is shackled to the table and sews the pages into little books while I throw olives at her head.

10) And this is where the little books are finished.

I suppose other people will email their proposals. That’s cool, too.

Letterpress in the heart of the beast

published by Fran Shea

The car was packed and I squeezed myself between a card rack, a change box, some stuffed animals and one dozen boxes. I was just lucky there was room for me at all. Okay? OKAY?

Jen and I have gotten pretty good at setting up for a show. It goes like this: I ask Jen which cards I should put where. She tells me. I do it. She dismantles what I did and does it a different way. It’s very efficient.

All the big names (in printmaking) were at MCBA on Thursday for the Mid America Print Council Conference Press Fair. Jenni Undis (of Lunalux) and I put on our roller skates and got into a battle – it ended with lots of hair-pulling and some teeth (hers) on the floor. It was worth it because I earned the title of “Letterpress Queen.” Maybe next year, Jenni. Maybe next year.

A fair wouldn’t be complete without, at least, one doppelganger:

still-stalking-you

What a pleasant stalker!

OH, ALSO: Miss Amy Jo was there! Good Lord, her work makes me love her. I’m sorry you had to hear that, Miss Amy Jo. 

Tater Tots, Kings Wine Bar, Letterpress, Deer John,

published by Fran Shea

Let’s talk about the kitchen in my first apartment: A room the size of an airplane galley* with the bonus feature of a countertop hinged to the wall. If that countertop was not in the lift and stow position (just like an airplane tray-table) it wasn’t possible to open the refrigerator or the oven.

This was great incentive (for my roommate) to do the dishes. I preferred moving the dirty dishes to the living room. *I’ve peeked in an airplane galley – it’s usually hidden behind a curtain (that matches the drapes) – the flight attendant works mechanically, loading up that cumbersome cart to roll down the aisle.

The delicacies that came out of that first apartment kitchen included (and were limited to) chicken pot-pies and tater tots. The crisper drawer in my refrigerator contained a large amount of an herb – but that was none of my business.

Oh, but the tater tots!

Straight from the freezer and onto my cast-iron skillet: washed down with an Old Milwaukee and a Camel Lights cigarette.Whew! Did I mention I had 18 by the balls? ALSO, if I had a hankering for ribs OR pizza, I only had to walk down the stairs. That’s right, the one and only Ribizza fulfilled that strange combination requirement for Uptown, Minneapolis.

Exactly five minutes West of my house is Kings Wine Bar – a newish (rhymes with Jewish) little neighborhood restaurant. They serve tater tots but with sauces far fancier than ketchup.  I was there last night and there didn’t seem to be any Old Milwaukee or Camel cigarettes on the menu but somehow, after we ate our tater tots, our table was magically covered with candy.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the card I wrote/designed last night. Or does it?Deer-John-June-13

Black ink can be so nice

published by Fran Shea

It’s unofficially Summer around here and to celebrate I’m going to make some more prints for Room & Board. People always ask me (no, they don’t) if I feel lonely or maybe a little afraid working out in the studio/shop/time warp at night. But how could I feel lonely or afraid out there when I have all of those cabinets of cold, lead type and Mark Wheat‘s voice coming from the plastic radio?

newest-room-board-print-450x440

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

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: