Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.


Letterpress class at Windowpane Press

First I have to apologize for not having more than the following images of my weekend workshop at Windowpane Press with Bonnie Thompson Norman in Seattle. I remembered to take my happy snap camera and forgot to bring the battery charger(!). I still can't believe I had such a brain fart. I was so annoyed with my self for flaking!

Here is Jen printing on the Vandercook SP-15:

vandercook sp-15

And, here is a detail of the project we printed over the weekend:
letterpress book detail

I'm still working on binding the book so as soon as I finish with one set, I'll post the final result of the class. I'm eager to see it finished.

There were 8 of us in the class and I think we had good chemistry for just having met for 2 days. I think we really bonded while we set type in our composing sticks and later when punching holes for binding. I was amazed at the trays and trays of type! There were several typefaces I never heard of and there were some of my favorites such as Bembo, Perpetua, Stymie, Bodoni, Centaur, Bulmer... I really do have a new appreciation for typesetting and there is something warm about metal type. I suppose because I had the chance to touch every character. Bonnie would say I'm romanticizing. Probably.

And, I did learn that making the leap into letterpress printing is a rather big investment of time, space and money. I'm glad I decided to go with the table top press and keep things small for the near future. That's my practical side talking and it makes sense for now. If I won the lottery, I'd be investing in a floor model and seas of type!

Speaking of floor models, I forgot to ask the size of the Chandler &Price model we used for printing. It was large with a big flywheel and a 220v motor. It is beautiful. I didn't get to print on it much but I learned enough to know that as a beginner, moving slow with a motorized press is ideal and safe. The Vandercook SP-15 was less intimidating so I chose to spend more time printing on the Vandercook. I can see why they are so popular!

I'm definitely going to sign up for a class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft to learn more about the process in letterpress printing and I'm also thinking about a book binding class. I have a long list of classes I want to take so I have to pace myself and try not to get in over my head.

Hmmm, what else did I learn. I definitely need to buy several more things to get started with my press: Composing stick; type; type case; putty knife; ink; paper; spaces; slugs; leads; more furniture; more quoins and research what to use to clean the rollers and press. It's not too much and choosing the type will be the most difficult to me since I just love type! Oh, I picked up on the fact that when letterpress printing, there isn't a lot of ink used.

Maybe the two books I just purchased from a printer in Florida will prove helpful for the process knowledge I feel I'm still missing. I'm hopeful they will arrive by the end of the week. The two books are: The Practice of Printing by Ralph W. Polk and Printing for the School by C.W. Hague.

It's time to finish binding the book and I'm really hoping everything I am learning will come together in a way that allows me to pay the rent.

A friend found and a new bag

Printmaking class at Multnomah Arts Center