Monday, January 31, 2011

Links Links Links

I realized that many of our regular letterpressers have websites, blogs or etsy sites that show their letterpress work (along with other stuff), so I decided to compile a list. Feel free to check out what everyone's been up to in and out of the studio! This list is by no means definitive - if you're a letterpresser at Pyramid and have a blog/site/etsy, please let me know!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Members Only Workshop

On January 28, we held our first Members Only letterpress workshop! This workshop was a part of a series of monthly workshops that are free to a limited number of Pyramid Atlantic members (registration is on a first-come, first-served basis). For our workshop, Leslie had the idea to have people scratch designs into negatives to create their own homemade polymer plate for printing on the Vandercooks.

Unfortunately, I was a little busy during the first half of the workshop and forgot to take pictures. Here are the few action shots that I did get!

I love Leslie's expression in this photo as she's making rounds checking on people scrubbing their exposed polymers:

And here are some photos of the prints that were made. We inked up the presses with Pantone Warm Red and Process Blue and had a variety of papers available to choose from.

A lovely heart design made by Melissa Livingston, printed on handmade paper:

Dawn Hershberger's design, printed on wheat-colored Canson Edition:

A really interesting design, also printed on wheat Canson Edition. I didn't catch the name of the artist:

Clare Winslow's space-inspired print, on handmade paper:

Gary Arlen's print on champagne Canford card:

Bonnie Lee Holland's print on French Muscletone Kraft paper next to her scratched negative:

A photo showing the three stages of Juraj Mihalik's design:

Marj Hollis's turtle. Originally, two of the flippers didn't show up because the lines were scratched too thinly on the negative. Luckily, Marj had time to go back and scratch a little more into the negative and make a second plate:

Morgan Ward's self-portrait on Stonehenge:
Here's the same plate printed on bright red Canford cardstock (though the photo doesn't really do it justice!)

Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to get everyone's prints before they left. But overall, I think everyone had a great time and came away with some pretty amazing prints!

More workshops:
  • To be attend these free monthly workshops, you must be a Pyramid Atlantic member. Sign up here! The next Members Only workshop will be on Friday, February 25 (topic TBA).
  • Check out the schedule of our other letterpress workshops here!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tip #4

Question: How many sides does an ink knife have?

If you answered "2," sorry, you're wrong! The answer is 5!*

This week's tip is dedicated to those printers who've dipped a clean-looking knife into a can of ink only to find that they've created a streak of a new color in the ink can.

Please remember that the studio is a shared space and you want to leave everything in as good (or better) shape after renting. When cleaning the ink knives, please remember to clean the side and top edges as well as the two flat sides. This will help keep the insides of our ink cans clean and single-colored! Next goal: keeping the outsides of our ink cans clean!

*This little question/answer bit was recently shared with me by someone in the studio. My memory is foggy, but I think it can be attributed to one of our intern's former professors.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In the studio...

Amelia Smith of Amelia Irene Design usually prints on her tabletop at home but sometimes comes to Pyramid to print larger things on the Vandercooks. I bumped into her today as she was preparing for her bridal showcase this coming Sunday.

A poster she printed:

And below are photos of some pieces of a set of wedding stationery that she's featuring.

The invitation:

A table number (still needs to be trimmed):

The thank you card:

I love the color she used. It makes me think of drizzled chocolatey swirls! Come to think of it, it'd look great on a cake as well!

For more info about Amelia and her showcase, check out her website:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maintenance Day photos!

Huge thanks to all the volunteers that braved the 20 degree weather and came out to our maintenance day:

Beth Schaible, Steve Cole, Aly Hurt, Beck Levy, Bob Cmarik, Jamillah Abdullah, Angelica Temoche, Bea Jackson, Robin Childers, Elizabeth Levenson, Marty Ittner, Daniel Zadorozhnny and Morgan Ward. 

Apologies for the poor photo quality... I forgot my camera and was stuck taking pictures with my phone!

Here's Aly and Elizabeth working at cleaning the bed and bearings of the Universal 1:

Look at the gunk they scraped off:

Here's Steve and Beck cleaning the 4T's lockbar's disassembled parts:

Nice and shiny! Wish I'd taken a "before" shot...

Former Letterpress Associate Beth Schaible working with Bob and Jamillah on the 4T:

Screenprinting Associate Marty Ittner swept and mopped the floor between and behind the presses:

Thanks, Marty!!

It's hard to believe that with all the hours and elbow grease we put in today, the presses could still use a lot more! We hope to have another maintenance day in six months or so to really get these guys in tip-top shape. Melanie, Leslie and I hope to see you at the next one!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tip #3

Sorry it's taken a while to get a new tip up!

When printing small cards (it gets difficult to print things shorter than 6" on the Vandercooks), try to work-and-turn. A few days ago, letterpress regular Carina Herman was printing A2-sized reply cards (4.25" x 5.5"). When printing cards that small, you have to make sure you grab the card quickly after it's been printed so it doesn't go too far around the cylinder. This can be a bit tricky and result in injury - I admit I've gotten a bad scrape doing this! So instead of printing them individually, try printing on paper that is double the size! As you can see below, Carina printed the reply card at the top half of the card, then turned the paper 180 degrees and printed on the bottom half. All she needs to do is cut down the middle and she has 2 cards!

This technique can also be helpful if you are printing something but do not want the half inch margin that is built into the press. You can set your plate up to print the bottom half first, then turn 180 degrees to print the top half.

And just for fun, here's a shot of the invitation that goes along with those reply cards:

Friday, January 21, 2011

In the studio...

One of our letterpress regulars, Morgan Ward, has been in the studio a lot lately as a part of The Artclash Collective's Fun-a-day program. The idea is to make a piece of art or do some other type of project each day in January and then display the results in February. Morgan will be submitting hers to be displayed in Philadelphia. More info on the program can be found here:

And now for some photos! Here's what she currently has up at the bulletin board at Pyramid:

Morgan was particularly excited about this piece, which features Pyramid's largest typeface with our smallest:

And here was yesterday's work of the day, printed on tracing paper:

I can't wait to see all 31 pieces!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Hour 1.19.11

Another batch of photos from Happy Hour!

Heather dropped by to do some test prints to decide what color to use when printing her wedding stationery. Some test prints on her kraft paper envelopes:

And some test prints on white scrap paper:

Aly came to print some type she'd set at the last happy hour:

Meanwhile, Leslie, Melanie and I tried to make some homemade photopolymer plates made by scratching out an image on a negative. Here's Leslie's plate after inking:

And her print:

We're really excited that it worked!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maintenance Day!

We are planning a press and studio maintenance day for this coming Saturday, January 22 from noon-4pm. We would love for you to join us! Please email us at if you plan on coming.

A to-do list for Saturday:
-Fix the lockup bar on the Vandercook 4T (using this diagram above!)
-Fix the grippers on the Vandercook Universal
-Clean all the surfaces on the Vandercooks so that they run more smoothly
-Adjust the alignment on the C&P press
-Sort through and distribute some new typefaces into drawers
-Sort through the scrap bins
-Organize the studio space

Your efforts will be rewarded with volunteer hours (= free studio time) and pizza! Again, email us if you would like to come and help out at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Hour 1.5.11

First Happy Hour of the New Year!

Aly started off the new year by setting some type for a set of personalized stationery for a family member. Look for the final print on the bulletin board in the near future!

Steve came to print the second color on the poster he's been working on.

Here's a shot of just the first color:
I love the mixed wood typefaces and the ornaments!

A test print of the second color:

After the second run:

Unfortunately, the typeface he used for the rightmost quote didn't have enough e's for the last word, so he had to do a third run to get in that last word.

Hope to see you at the next happy hour! (Didn't you make a new year's resolution to letterpress more?)