Thursday, February 4, 2010


Your eyes do not deceive you: that is a picture of 240 letterpressed thank-you notes, sitting out to dry in the studio. Wohoo!!! I am a DIY rockstar!

My stomach was totally in knots when I arrived at the studio this afternoon, so the first order of business was to run each plate through the poco press and face my fate. Much to my great relief, the fonts inked and printed evenly, and even the super skinny lines came through. It all looked great! OH THANK GOD.

Once I shared my success with the studio monitors, whom I had just met, it was time to get down to business with the big-time presses. How badass are these things?

I decided to work on the smaller of the two presses, on the left -- less surface area to clean up later on. I inked up the press, then grabbed a chase (frame) and some furniture (wooden blocks) and set up my thank-you note plate like so:

I dropped it into the press, unwrapped a crapton of blister-packed blank notecards and got to work. I found a rhythm pretty easily, pausing only to move the inked cards to the table or the drying rack. (Oh, except for the two times when a pin fell out of the 110-year-old press and the whole thing stopped working... studio monitors to the rescue!) Here's a shot of the press mid-process (sorta... I obviously had to stop so I could take the picture):

In the middle of this picture you can see the wooden block with the inked type on it, and obviously you can see the card that was just printed on the right. Between those things you can see the ink rollers -- they get their ink off of the big round plate at the top and then roll over the words before they hit the paper. Make sense?

Anyway, in a mere 2.5 hours, I managed to proof all my plates, print a full run of 240 thank-you notes (with only one quasi-unuseable print in the lot), move the cards to the drying rack and clean up the plates and the press. Based on those numbers, I could have my invitations totally finished by the end of the weekend! What I may do instead is spread out my studio time over the whole month. We'll see. At any rate, I'm pretty impressed with myself! Go me!