Posts in Letterpress

An irresistible, wriggling delight.

published by Fran Shea

The first week of January is known as the first week of January. It’s also known as the time that the patient angler, eyes fixed on the bobber bobbing on the surface of the nearly frozen water in the middle of a hole cut through the ice-crust of their chosen lake, watches and waits. Watches and waits for the bobber to disappear, the bobber attached to the line tied to the sharp hook, the hook baited with an irresistible, wriggling delight. 

I love that the Zeichen Press fax machine is the bobber in the story. Ring, ring, ring! Thank you reps for dangling our delights (?!) in front of those hungry buyers! You wear snow-pants so we don’t have to. But we do anyway.

Because of you, we have time to direct important things:

Goodbye 2010

published by Fran Shea

2010 has a short driveway and as we backed down it we (I) felt wistful. It seems like only last year we were freezing in Brainerd. Here we are again, eating thick-cut bacon and praying for the strength to survive round after round of Name That Tune. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions because the prisons are overcrowded as it is and also because the world isn’t ready for my style of leadership. (Deer-in-the-headlights.)

deer

This was a big year for Zeichen Press – and as I sit in my Fiberglass Insulated Cell, I feel gratitude. I also feel greasy from all of the bacon, but like the sparrow, I will take a sand-bath to freshen up when the time is right. A new website, a fleet of repsprints in Room & Board, the dog’s wig:

millie-wearing-a-wig

Who wouldn’t be grateful? I believe Jen and I are coming up on The Five Year Anniversary of Our Zeichen Press Partnership – we will celebrate by not murdering each other in cold blood.

Don’t worry, we’ll send out Save-The-Date cards.

That is, like, so letterpress.

published by Fran Shea

Silhouettes. Perfect for a holiday card:

Step One: Get profile snapshot(s) of a person(s):

Step Two: Use the lasso tool in Photoshop to select the profile and delete all other information. Feel free to edit out any bed-head or bad-hair-day hair.

Step three: Using the magic wand tool in Photoshop, select the white background. Select “Inverse” and under Edit->Fill, choose “fill with black.”

Now just use Adobe Illustrator to live trace that thing. If you want to get all fancy, you could stick the heads on some sort of bodies. I felt like these boys should wear stocking caps and go sledding:

That IS cute! NOW just have the file turned into a plate and print it

on your printing press.

Wait, what? You don’t have one? 

$*#-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 for you, Minneapolis! (And the Greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area)

published by Fran Shea

The No-Coast Craft-O-Rama is behind us and – like so many weekends – it’s all a blur.

I do remember Jen yelling “yahtzee!” whenever someone ordered the Show Special (two eggs, a slice of bacon and Texas toast with a dozen cards). And I remember feeling drunk with power. The top-selling card of the weekend was:

If by different, you mean awesome. Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.

That tells me that Minneapolis is full of a lot of weirdos. Like me.

This card was also a big seller:

The strong would survive the Winter. The weak would, of course, be eaten. Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.

And that tells me that Minneapolis is full of a lot of moral ambiguity.

That reminds me! We had a snowstorm on Friday!

snowstorm-on-chicago-ave

Luckily nobody had to eat anyone else to survive. Whew, right? That would not have been great for sales.

Parking Ticket + Grocery List + Popular Mechanics

published by Fran Shea

Who put that stupid flyer on my windshield?

Not a flyer! ! A parking ticket??

My first!

What a special day.

I won’t even dispute it.

AFTER THAT HAPPENED, I made this “grocery” list:

AND THEN, I got an email from a writer at Popular Mechanics.

Stifle your laughter. He’s putting together a story about businesses that started as hobbies. Now I have to pretend that I actually enjoyed letterpress as some sort of “hobby” before it turned into this soul-sucking-money-generating-machine.