Friday, July 3, 2009

Adventures in DIY: learning letterpress

For my birthday, I asked my parents to pay the registration fee for a letterpress class at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio -- not only would I pick up a totally sweet skill, I'd also free up some wedding budget money by letterpressing my own invitations. None of this $8 per invitation-set nonsense! I'll do it for cost, thank you very much.

Anyhoo, the 8-week class started in late May, but we only just passed the halfway mark because our teacher had to cancel two sessions to go traveling. Over the course of the eight weeks we have three projects to complete, and on Wednesday I printed the first of mine! Our assignment was to come up with a phrase to go with our name, have a go at setting the type, and print a short run. I tried to be original and creative, but I kept coming back to the first lyric in the Josh Ritter song "Kathleen" (soundtrack to my engagement, if I haven't mentioned that on this blog yet): "All the other girls here are stars, you are the Northern Lights." I figured all that text and imagery would give me ample opportunity to dig around in the type drawers and find something cool. Check out the end result:

Not bad for a first-time freehander, right? I'm pretty pleased with myself. You can see in the second picture a little more detail of the impression in the paper -- I love how tactile letterpress is. Not sure exactly what I'll do with my stack of about 20 of these, though...

Next assignment in letterpress class is an announcement, something you would run a big edition of, like business cards or wedding invitations or concert posters. I think I'm going to make a change-of-address postcard, possibly printing in two colors, to send out to a few lucky folks. I'll be a letterpress champ by the time this class is through!

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