Summer in Philadelphia

:: clouds ::

We just got out of a nasty heat wave here in Philadelphia. The heat broke on Thursday with a dramatic thunderstorm. I made a little movie of the clouds forming, it was beautiful and threatening.

It was hard to do much when it felt like 104 outside. I know the cat felt the same way.

:: monkey ::

My studio gets very hot in the summer. I'm trying to find solutions to this problem. An entire wall of windows is beautiful, and a blessing in the winter, but it feels like a greenhouse in the summer. I'm working with my landlord to find the best way to install curtains, and possibly a portable air conditioner too.

In the meantime, I've been taking my work home with me.

:: books in progress ::

Mike is in Michigan teaching a class at Ox-Bow for two weeks, so I am home alone. Right now, I'm working on a big order of books for Cog & Pearl in Brooklyn, and later this week, I have some custom books to make too. I have plenty of work to keep me busy so hopefully those two weeks will just fly by. Well, almost fly by.

When he gets back, we're going to put those finishing touches on the press and then it's time for some serious printing.

Yo Teach!

:: that's me leaning on the press in my jaunty vest ::

I taught my first class last Saturday, hosted by Aimee Wilson of Red Wheel Press and I had a great time, thanks to our wonderful students. The class covered the fundamentals setting type and printing on and maintaining a Vandercook proof press.

:: setting type ::

After the demo, everyone designed, set the type for, and printed their own personalize stationery. We're going to post a schedule of upcoming workshop dates very soon, so I'll keep you updated and please spread the word if you have any friends that might be interested.

:: printing ::

Last Friday (it was a busy week) I also bought a press, his name is Junior and he is a 8x12 Chandler & Price New Style. Thanks to my friend Mike who lent us his time and truck and my boyfriend Mike, who helps me so much... I can't even tell you, and the other Mike who sold me the press, the move went without a hitch and it was in my studio, safe and sound, in 3 hours.

Those of you who have been following the blog for awhile will know that I've been spending the last year restoring another press, a 10x15 Chandler & Price Old Style. After many ups and downs, hours and hours of research and elbow grease, and sometimes tears, I finally decided to let it go. I posted an ad on Briar Press and am selling it in parts, in hopes that it'll be of use to other printer's restoring their presses.

The old press wasn't a total loss though, I learned so much, and this time around made a much wiser purchase. The press needs a good cleaning, but it's complete so, fingers crossed, it should be up and running in a month or two.

:: oil wells ::

The niftiest thing about the new press, Junior, has got to be these little lidded wells for oiling. They're adorable and functional!

:: monkey ::

That's all for now, it's going to be a very busy next couple of months, so I'll be posting new work and progress on the press whenever I can. Thanks for reading!

The Cat Book and others

I buy a lot of books just for aesthetics. It may be an unusual cover, exceptionally beautiful illustrations, or an interesting vintage design, I can't resist a good looking book.I found this book at the Philadelphia Free Library's book store, a children's book about a cat in the shape of a cat. The colors are worn and soft.
The illustrations, and the story, are sweet and simple.
This edition of White Fang from the early seventies has a striking cover, I love the white letters on the dark background, and I'm planning on making it into a journal.
This guide to North American wildlife is from 1982. There's something about the typography and color palette that is deeply comforting, and reminds me of my childhood.

I'm wondering what typeface was used. Plantin?


This week, I'm spending afternoons in the studio. I'm trying to get into the habit of putting aside a few hours and starting to feeling comfortable there. I can be a bit of a homebody, you see. I do like it there. The light is diffuse and comforting, I can listen to the radio, and it smells nice, like a studio. Like concrete, metal, wood, and cardboard.

I cleaned the ink disk, which was covered in 30 year old red ink. It's smooth and shiny now, sort of looks like a full moon.

I'm sorting the type I brought from North Carolina, which is very dusty, but it's quite enjoyable anyway.

I'll be leaving for the studio soon, it's almost noon already. Any podcast recommendations for getting work done? I've been listening to This American Life, Radiolab, and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.

Friday Afternoon.

Some pictures of our new apartment and stationery for the spring. Available here. It's rainy and windy today. Mike and I are watching episodes of Art 21 and No Reservations and drinking coffee. The cat is running back and forth on the slippery bamboo floors. And loving it. I'm designing a Yellow Submarine themed birth announcement. Friday Afternoon.

Merry 1887!

sleepy monkey cat

I went home for the holidays and got to take a closer look at my press, which is currently in storage in New Jersey. The press move was a such a blur, I didn't have time to take a close look at the thing.

Like the serial number on my Chandler & Price 10 x 15 Old Style, which is located on its dirty dirty platen. According to this list, that means this press dates from 1887. That's old. And when you're old, along the way you acquire a great deal of dust and grease and lose some parts.

One thing I'm wondering about is whether I should look for a saddle for the (not present) third roller. A third roller would help in inking large forms, although I have seen C&P's being operated with either two or three rollers. Hmm. I will have to investigate. To Briar Press!

I'm also researching the dimensions of the wooden feed and delivery boards. I'm lucky to had a Dad who's a woodworker and willing to help me make some sparkly new ones out of birch or maple.

All in all, the second inspection was very encouraging. Both the platen and the inking disc look smooth, although they'll need a good cleaning and the press seems to have been well maintained. The motor may even be salvageable!

mmm. christmas log.

Lastly, the traditional picture of the Buche De Noel that I helped decorate. It's a cake that French people try very hard to make look like a log. And it's delicious.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

And thank you for reading...



Stalking Cats

This cat does not know his picture is being taken

The little orange feller has been hanging around campus for a few weeks now, he's very skittish. I took this picture from inside the studio while he was outside enjoying himself eating grass. I think it's the closest I'm ever going to get to him. Why won't he return my calls? Flashes of Quincy!

Well, I've also been printing. I finished these cards for local blacksmith, Zack Noble. Silver on French Paper's Muscletone Black. Very nice. He's got a new website which is also very nice, you should take a look.

That's pretty much it. Finishing up odds and ends. Going to roast a chicken tonight. Going to attempt to drive home 10 hours with my cat and said chicken together in my car. It's always nice to go home for a visit. I can't wait to see my friends and family around Philadelphia.

Happy Holidays!

Hi, I'm in Delaware.

Yes, that's right. Delaware. No, that's not in Pennsylvania or New England (I'm looking at you, Midwesterners). It's a Mid-Atlantic state, folks. It's natural resources are refineries, old money, and the Wawas.

When I'm in Delaware, I love to go on walks. I went for a walk in New Castle, a very old town next to the Delaware River. It's really beautiful and small, slightly worn looking. It has the feeling of the coast. I like it there.