Posts in Minneapolis design studio
Miss Sherman was our 5th grade music teacher and aside from corporeal punishment and unruly hair, she was perfect. Every week, students were encouraged to bring in their favorite record album. And because lessons are best learned through repeated humiliation (read about First Picture Day at my new school), I brought in my favorite album.
…I wonder what the other kids brought! This is SO much fun!
Michael Jackson, Off The Wall…
The Cars, Panorama??…
Oh, Kermit! Nobody understands us/Miss Sherman forgot to call on me/oh look, this record barely sticks out between my stack of books/these darn Fall allergies make my eyes water!
I wouldn’t tell my mom about this while I stood by the piano as she played folk songs and I sang my little heart out. I WOULDN’T.
What I’m trying to say is that Jen and I picked cards for our Spring Release.
Here’s a teaser:
Dinah always makes such a big deal about choosing paper and envelope color for a new release.
First, she has Jen print a card:
And then she does this:
She is such a taskmaster.
I won’t even speak of the weather BECAUSE IT’S UNSPEAKABLE.
You can’t break me, Weather.
You’ll never break me.
Everyone knows that the only cure for the cold is wood type. And alcohol.
Jen and I have been having a debate about the next birthday card. And by debate, I mean she is, like, “I don’t care.” Doesn’t she know the dangers of Not Caring??
ANYWAY, here’s the card. BTW, that’s a vulture, waiting for you to die.
My brother played with Legos. The scowl on his face said, Do Not Disturb (I only tried once). His creations were not cute and were not meant for display. There was no absent-minded pawing through the bin – locating the correct piece was serious business and filled with stern determination.
I tried to play like that but I just couldn’t.
I’d happily organize my little water color trays, wiping excess paint off the tray — rinsing cups, organizing markers in a rainbow spectrum. Finished paintings would be rushed to my parents – and nothing was finished without seeking reaction.
I still seek the reaction but I’m not sure where that tidy part of me went:
I blame the interns. Their willingness to follow orders handicapped me. And without an intern (Summer is over – do you hear me?? OVER.) I’m left to make my own lattes and paw through piles of type.
The trees are already half-naked and that reminds me – it’s time to start throwing my end-of-Summer tantrum – it’ll be a doozy.
October has been more cunning (moody) than usual and for that I tip my hat. I never know if I should wear my hot-pants or my Forever Lazy ($29.95).
But did October imagine that I would wear my hot-pants under Forever Lazy?? I think not. I think not.
Speaking of Winter and claustrophobia and lack of space and re-organizing the warehouse:
Yes, reorganizing the warehouse is at the top of my list. Right after:
1) Stare out the window, and 2) Wish someone would bring me coffee.
The intern packed up her carpetbag and rode away. I felt like we should hug but we didn’t – hugs are best left out of print shops. She made this before she left:
Go, my young grasshopper, go and use the life-skills I so generously shared with you.
That’s a true story.
Nobody needs to see a photo of us taken in February.
I regret not jumping into Lake Superior last week. I’m kidding, I don’t regret that. I regret not pushing that weird guy into Lake Superior last week. He was yelling, “the effing dog ate my pills! The effing dog ate my pills!” That poor wiener dog was trying to end its own sad life. Anyway, here’s a photo of Lucy and Jenny braving the frigid waters:
Lake Superior is the poor man’s ocean, just like my Reprex
(notice the vice grips)
is the poor man’s Vandercook.
But I must make do.
I must make do because that’s how I was programmed. The project du jour is a print involving lots of words. And because I’m a daredevil, I decided to lock up the type in a vertical formation. This is not for the faint of heart. The type and I both felt creepy when it was over and now we can’t even make eye contact.
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.
Summers on Cape Cod before the invention of electronic mail (or personal computers) meant low-tide foraging, wiffle ball and handwritten letters. Letters were elaborate and could include drawings, mix-tapes, whipper-snappers, and live specimens.
I learned that the more letters written, the more received, so rainy days were spent diligently embellishing the news: Picnics with the Kennedy’s, shark hunts, ghost encounters – all sort of true.
There was (and is) no mailbox at 29 Freezer Road and so the day includes a walk to town for the newspaper and a visit to the post office. The post officers knew us by (last) name and quickly slid the day’s mail across the counter.
The Intern has been pulling orders with a smile on her face. How does she do it it?
My job is to bring them to the post office. I am tempted to fill the boxes with live specimens and whipper-snappers but I will restrain myself.
My brother took some old bicycle parts (they weren’t really old, just unguarded) and screwed them to an outhouse. He called this his ice-fishing house and wheeled it the five blocks to Lake Harriet every morning before school.
It probably wasn’t an outhouse and he probably wasn’t ice-fishing. But the important thing was the procedure: Wake up before the crack of dawn, drag, push, and pull the little house through the dark and cold, onto the frozen lake.
What a strange young man.
It has taken us years to fine-tune our order-processing procedure at Zeichen Press. It is now just like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Costumes are optional so Jen never wears hers. Anyway, we are testing out a new step in the procedure. I call it the Order Chute.