Posts in Letterpress
Our transition from the Cape included a stay in Boston.
Boston is best experienced on-foot and with a tour guide dressed as Dorothy Quincy Hancock.
The next picture is for Andrea. (Edmund loved the Westin).
Okay, fun’s over. Back to the muggy wall of heat – we walked out of the Minneapolis airport and I felt like someone wrapped me in 100 electric blankets.
… remember when I told you about this?? I don’t know a lot but I do know that this belly is full of kittens. They are due in a few days – and I swear to God, if any of you take one home – I will repay you in strange and creative ways.
One more thing: The pile of mail, collected by Jen, contained this:
I need to get into character for the big Room and Board project… “WHAT’S MY MOTIVATION??!”
In a post-apocalyptic world, one breathtakingly beautiful woman finds herself wandering through the residential remains of South Minneapolis. She stumbles upon a letterpress print shop – it is impossibly intact. She drags her shopping cart of possessions inside and studies her surroundings. Type, ink, paper, a giant wrench and an autographed photograph of Kelly Clarkson. This is exactly like her dream – except without Abraham Lincoln. There isn’t much time before the feral cats find her… But she finally has a method to preserve the dying language – at last! At long last…
Whew! That was intense! Okay, enough screwing around – the clock is ticking and the cats are coming.
People always ask me, “Fran, how do you balance everything so well?? Zeichen Press, kids, marriage, hypochondria, facebook, animal-taming, daydreaming – It doesn’t even seem possible!” I wish I had some fluffy (Oprah-approved) secret to share but it’s really much more simple: Evil twin. What?! Yes. You’d be surprised by how many people actually have evil twins.
This has been a regular rat king of a week: The big Tanek party is tomorrow and Jen and I have been planning the whole thing – From venue to letterpress printed coaster to life-jackets. One of my favorite things is the Tanek 10 Year CD – a music mix and letterpress printed sleeve/party favor/door prize. My playlist skills were honed as a teenager – hour after hour spent with the dual cassette player… see, mom?? I told you it was more important than algebra.
As soon as this party is done I can get rid of that mannequin.
I love getting a letter in the mail – and getting a package in the mail is like finding money under your pillow. Or discovering a coin in a freshly gutted fish.
Reading my email goes like this: delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete… oh, that’s important… delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete.
As you know, Zeichen Press is handling all things that fall into the realm of communications for Tanek Inc. This job is usually less messy than gutting a fish but just as satisfying. Contacting reporters is part of the job and we realized that doing so via email might just be a little bit like whispering to your date across a crowded room. Not that we have dates. Or are ever invited to rooms that are crowded.
Here is the first part of a press package going out to local reporters. (Neal St. Anthony, you lucky devil!)
(Here’s a story: Ken Piper of Tanek was the head designer for the brand-new KMOJ station in North Minneapolis. That’s right: North Minneapolis. Watch out, South Minneapolis – the Northside is picking up steam!)
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:
two Kluge Printing Presses:
(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):
a family-style restaurant booth: (this suspiciously barricaded the basement door)
dozens of old computers: (so sentimental)
“stackable” type cabinets: (we took these)
Oh, here’s a fun game:
Can you find the treasure in this photographic vignette?:
How about here?:
Oh, well. Enough of the sweet, sweet memories. Here’s part of our latest salvage:
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:
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.
Two St. Paul printers showed up : Fred Petters of Vandalia Street Press and Bill Moran of Blinc Publishing. Bill 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?
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.
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:
That’s where I am. Will I ever be able to get back to Minneapolis? Stay tuned.
And, just because I’m a little obsessed with the weather, I gathered some very important figures. – Record low temperatures in The United States of America:
|Alabama||-27||Jan. 30, 1966||New Market||760|
|Alaska||-80||Jan. 23, 1971||Prospect Creek||1,100|
|Arizona||-40||Jan. 7, 1971||Hawley Lake||8,180|
|Arkansas||-29||Feb. 13, 1905||Pond||1,250|
|California||-45||Jan. 20, 1937||Boca||5,532|
|Colorado||-61||Feb. 1, 1985||Maybell||5,920|
|Connecticut||-32||Feb. 16, 1943||Falls Village||585|
|Delaware||-17||Jan. 17, 1893||Millsboro||20|
|Florida||– 2||Feb. 13, 1899||Tallahassee||193|
|Georgia||-17||Jan. 27, 1940||Mauna Kea||13,770|
|Idaho||-60||Jan. 18, 1943||Island Park Dam||6,285|
|Illinois||-36||Jan. 5, 1999||Congerville||722|
|Indiana||-36||Jan. 19, 1994||New Whiteland||785|
|Iowa||-47||Feb. 3, 1996*||Elkader||770|
|Kansas||-40||Feb. 13, 1905||Lebanon||1,812|
|Kentucky||-37||Jan. 19, 1994||Shelbyville||730|
|Louisiana||-16||Feb. 13, 1899||Minden||194|
|Maine||-48||Jan. 19, 1925||Van Buren||458|
|Maryland||-40||Jan. 13, 1912||Oakland||2,461|
|Massachusetts||-35||Jan. 12, 1981||Chester||640|
|Michigan||-51||Feb. 9, 1934||Vanderbilt||785|
|Minnesota||-60||Feb. 2, 1996||Tower||1,430|
|Mississippi||-19||Jan. 30, 1966||Corinth||420|
|Missouri||-40||Feb. 13, 1905||Warsaw||700|
|Montana||-70||Jan. 20, 1954||Rogers Pass||5,470|
|Nebraska||-47||Feb. 12, 1899||Camp Clarke||3,700|
|Nevada||-50||Jan. 8, 1937||San Jacinto||5,200|
|New Hampshire||-47||Jan. 29, 1934||Mt. Washington||6,288|
|New Jersey||-34||Jan. 5, 1904||River Vale||70|
|New Mexico||-50||Feb. 1, 1951||Gavilan||7,350|
|New York||-52||Feb. 18, 1979*||Old Forge||1,720|
|North Carolina||-34||Jan. 21, 1985||Mt. Mitchell||6,525|
|North Dakota||-60||Feb. 15, 1936||Parshall||1,929|
|Ohio||-39||Feb. 10, 1899||Milligan||800|
|Oklahoma||-27||Jan. 18, 1930||Watts||958|
|Oregon||-54||Feb. 10, 1933*||Seneca||4,700|
|Pennsylvania||-42||Jan. 5, 1904||Smethport||est. 1,500|
|Rhode Island||-25||Feb. 5, 1996||Greene||425|
|South Carolina||-19||Jan. 21, 1985||Caesars Head||3,100|
|South Dakota||-58||Feb. 17, 1936||McIntosh||2,277|
|Tennessee||-32||Dec. 30, 1917||Mountain City||2,471|
|Texas||-23||Feb. 8, 1933*||Seminole||3,275|
|Utah||-69||Feb. 1, 1985||Peter’s Sink||8,092|
|Vermont||-50||Dec. 30, 1933||Bloomfield||915|
|Virginia||-30||Jan. 22, 1985||Mountain Lake||3,870|
|Washington||-48||Dec. 30, 1968||Mazama||2,120|
|West Virginia||-37||Dec. 30, 1917||Lewisburg||2,200|
|Wyoming||-66||Feb. 9, 1933||Riverside||6,650|
AND before we start killing and eating each other, we are entertaining ourselves by throwing boiling water into the cold air.
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!