Monday, August 29, 2011

Type Truck coming to DC!

Kyle Durrie and her mobile letterpress studio, the Type Truck, will be coming to DC in November! We're working with Kyle on her DC stop to spread the word about letterpress, the Type Truck and Pyramid Atlantic. She'll be in DC on November 4, specific location TBD.We're hoping that this'll be a fun event for everyone. Newbies can get their first taste (and of course, sign up for more workshops/Happy Hours at Pyramid). And veterans will get to check out her set up and her presses!

Stay tuned for more info!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Printer Profile: Melanie Karlins

This is the first of a new series of posts! I thought it would be nice for everyone to get to know their fellow studio sharers a little better. (I was inspired by Marty's interview of Annie Albagli over on the Screenprint Society blog). I'll start by posting profiles of the three Letterpress Associates (Melanie, Leslie and myself) and hopefully move on to profiling other regular faces in the studio! Here goes....

Meet Melanie
Melanie Karlins is one of the three Letterpress Associates at Pyramid. Being 9 months pregnant, she's finally slowed down enough to have some time to answer some questions!

How did you get started with letterpress?
Melanie at a recent Letterpress Happy Hour.
During my second year of law school, I really needed a creative outlet. I've always loved stationery and started playing around with paper at home in my free time (or in the time that I should have been studying). I did folding, cutting, rubber stamps, made mini-books, wrote letters, but I wanted something more. I'd heard of Pyramid a few years prior and knew I wanted to take letterpress classes there. The day after my last exam that semester I was at Pyramid for a letterpress lesson with Karen Hardy who was the Letterpress Associate at the time. I fell in love with the process. I learned how to print on the Vandercook that first day, but I soon started printing almost exclusively with Pyramid's Chandler & Price Pilot Press. I continued printing throughout the summer and the following school year, then I started volunteering in the letterpress studio. I've been teaching letterpress classes at Pyramid since 2009 and I've been a Letterpress Associate there since 2010.

Melanie's DC Flag print (printed with photopolymer).

What do you like to print?
I started off using type exclusively. Pyramid has a great collection of metal (and now wood) type, which gave me lots to explore when I first got into letterpress. Then, I got a couple wood type alphabets as gifts and I was really hooked on wood for a few months. When I participated in the 2010 Letterpress Calendar project, I decided to use photopolymer for my design which opened up a whole new world of possibilities.  Since then I've taken a couple of graphic design classes and now that I'm more comfortable with design software, I use photopolymer for most of my letterpress work.

Melanie's 2012 etiquette calendar.

What inspires your print work?
I love reading old etiquette books and I have a whole line (Etiquette for the Post-Emily World) of items based on funny things I read in those books and how I think etiquette should be updated for modern, urban living. I've printed bookmarks with etiquette tips and coasters with dinner party etiquette, and I'm introducing a 2012 calendar this fall featuring a whole year of etiquette tips. I'm also inspired by life in DC, particularly urban neighborhood living, and I have a number of prints inspired by DC neighborhoods.

Melanie's favorite piece.

What’s your favorite piece that you've printed?
A couple years ago I printed engagement party invitations for friends of mine. I handset all the type in Margery from Pyramid's collection. And I printed the invitations on handmade paper I picked up at New York Central Art Supply. There was such a sense of accomplishment after setting all that type and whenever I see the invitations now I'm reminded of a sweet engagement party for dear friends and the amazing paper-shopping excursion to New York.


What is your favorite paper for printing?
It depends on the project. For prints, I like to use Legion's Eco-Rag or Bamboo paper. For personal stationery I typically use Arturo, a soft Italian paper. And for general greeting cards and other stationery, I often print on Lettra, French Paper, or Mohawk.

More on Melanie: Melanie sells her stationery and prints under the press name Grey Moggie Press. See her website here and see her at Crafty Bastards in October!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Hour 8.22.11

Photos from Monday night's Happy Hour!

Chase Clement, who took one of my workshops back in March, stopped by to check out the studio. He brought a copy of his book that he'd printed on an SP-20 with all handset type at Smith College back in 1972. Here are some photos. Amazing...

Alyson Hurt came to play around with some type to get ideas for the January page of the 2012 Letterpress Calendar:

Kathryn Hoeppel set some type to print onto watercolored cards:
She didn't really get to printing but I'm sure they'll look great when she's done.

Erin Brophy played around with making a pattern of ornaments. Maybe inspired by Chase's book?

Molly Moran printed the type she'd set at the last Happy Hour:
Curious to see what she ends up doing with these? Folded cards?

Lauren Emeritz also set some type for a birthday card (also serving as a prototype for her April page of the 2012 calendar):
I love how everything is all planned out on the graph paper.

Alison Whitty also came by to play around with some type for the July page of the calendar and to share some design ideas (sadly, I didn't get photos of these!)

The next Happy Hour will also be a critique of everyone's preliminary calendar page designs. Can't wait to see everyone's ideas!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photos from BookWorks!

This past weekend, I went down to Asheville, NC for the Ladies of Letterpress Conference. Half the conference events took place at BookWorks, a print and book arts center.  I was blown away. Everything was so clean and organized and the space had a great open layout. Here are a bunch of photos!

Here's me, with a whole lot of book presses:

Gretchen and Steve chatting in the letterpress area:

Another view of those great Hatch Show Prints on display (with fancy track lighting!):

Steve was drooling over the awesome inventory of wood type:

And here's a shot of Gretchen taking a peek inside the nice little gallery area (with conference organizers Kseniya Thomas and Jessica White in the foreground):

Some more shots of the studio space, equipment and materials:

A some photos of the gallery and the work on display (work by various members of Ladies of Letterpress):

I'm feeling really inspired to make some improvements to our studio!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fall Classes!

We've finalized our workshop schedule for the fall. Here's a list of what's coming up... note that we've got a couple new cross-studio classes coming up! As always, register at Pyramid's Workshop page and/or contact us with any questions!

Using Photopolymer for Letterpress  
Date: Saturday September 17, 10am-4pm
Instructor: Julia Louie
image credit: Alyson Hurt
Tuition: $130, Enrollment: 5-8
Description: Are you a graphic designer that loves letterpress? Learn how to print your own designs using photopolymer plates! They are a great way to do letterpress printing with digitally created designs. The workshop will cover basic press operation, printing with photopolymer plates, designing for letterpress printing and how to create the appropriate files to order plates. You will use the Vandercook press to print a handy information sheet and have the opportunity to show the instructor any specific project ideas. Familiarity with Adobe Illustrator is preferred but not required. No letterpress experience required. 

Introduction to the Vandercook Letterpress
Date: October 8, 10am-4pm
Instructor: Leslie Smith
Tuition: $130 + $5 materials fee payable to the instructor
Enrollment: 5-8
Description: Get started with letterpress! This workshop will cover the basics of letterpress printing antique lead type on a Vandercook flatbed cylinder press. You will learn how to set type, operate a Vandercook press and clean and maintain the press. Each participant will set a few lines of text of their own choosing and print a small edition (10-15 prints).

Meet the Press (Tabletop Session)
Date: Wednesday October 12, 6pm-9pm
Instructor: Julia Louie
Tuition: $70 + $5 materials fee payable to the instructor
Enrollment: 3-6
Description: Already acquainted with the Vandercook? Get to know our other type of press, the tabletop platen press! This short workshop is for students who’ve already taken Introduction to the Vandercook Letterpress and are interested in learning what the tabletop press has to offer. Students should be familiar with setting type. You’ll set 1-2 lines of type independently, then learn how to lock up, print with and clean up the tabletop press. Each participant will print a small edition (5-10 prints). Also serves as a good refresher for students who took workshops or lessons long ago.

image credit: Gretchen Schermerhorn

Make Your Own Journals - Letterpress & Bookbinding
Date: Two Mondays, October 17 & 24, 6pm-9pm
Instructors: Julia Louie & Patricia Lee
Tuition: $220 + $20 materials fee payable to the instructors
Enrollment: 4-8
Description: Make your own journals in this two-part class! In the first session, you will print three customize-able journal cover designs on the Vandercook letterpress. In the second, you’ll bind the journals using three different pamphlet binding methods.  You’ll be able to experiment with various binding materials, including wire, beads and natural elements. No experience in letterpress or bookbinding required.

image credit: Jim Kuhn

Introduction to the Tabletop Letterpress
Date: Saturday November 12, 10am-4pm
Instructor: Melanie Karlins
Tuition: $130 + $5 materials fee payable to the instructor
Enrollment: 3-8
Description: Have you ever fantasized about having a small letterpress in your home? This workshop will cover the basics of letterpress printing antique lead type on a Chandler & Price Pilot tabletop platen press. Students will learn how to set lead type, operate the tabletop press, troubleshoot and clean and maintain the press. Each participant will hand set a few lines of text of their own choosing and print a small edition (10-15 prints).

Letterpress Your Own Personal Stationery
Date: Two Thursdays, November 17 & December 1, 6pm-9pm
Instructor: Melanie Karlins
Tuition: $250+ $20 materials fee payable to instructor
Enrollment: 3-4
Description: Do you love handwritten notes? Are you looking for an excuse to send more mail? Then join us to letterpress print your own personal stationery and learn more about the letterpress studio at Pyramid Atlantic. In this two-part class, you will learn how to use two presses, a Chandler & Price tabletop press and a Vandercook press. In the first session, we will use photopolymer plates on a Vandercook to print a background design. In the second session, you will learn to set your name in type and print it using the tabletop press. You’ll take away your own set of 30 flat cards and envelopes.

Meet the Press (Vandercook Session)
Date: Saturday November 19, 10am-1pm
Instructor: Melanie Karlins
Tuition: $70 + $5 materials fee payable to the instructor
Enrollment: 3-6
Description: Already acquainted with the tabletop press? Get to know our other type of press, the Vandercook flatbed cylinder proof press! This short workshop is for students who’ve already taken Introduction to the Tabletop Letterpress and are interested in learning what the Vandercook press has to offer. Students should be familiar with setting type. You’ll set 1-2 lines of type independently, then learn how to lock up, print with and clean up the Vandercook. Each participant will print a small edition (5-10 prints). Also serves as a good refresher for students who took workshops or lessons long ago.

Make Your Own Holiday Cards - (Papermaking + Letterpress)
image credit: Gretchen Schermerhorn
Date: Two Saturdays, Nov. 12 & Dec. 3, 10am-4pm
Instructor: Laura Kinneberg & Melanie Karlins
Tuition: $250 for both session + $20 materials fee payable to the instructors
Enrollment: 3-6
Description: Completely customize your holiday cards
this year in this two-session workshop that will get your hands dirty in both the papermaking and letterpress studios!
First Session: You will learn basic sheet-forming techniques to make postcard or note card sized cotton paper. You will be able to further customize your paper using pigments and inclusions. Make and take as many sheets as we have time for. No papermaking experience required. Bring waterproof shoes or galoshes and expect to get wet. Second Session: After the paper dries at Pyramid, you will return to print your holiday cards on your handmade paper. You will learn how to set type and how to print using a Vandercook proof press. You will then choose matching envelopes to send your holiday greetings in style! No letterpress experience required.
Note: There is the option to register for both sessions together or for either session as a single workshop.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Hour 08.08.11 (Featuring Handmade Photopolymer)

Fun Happy Hour last night! Erica came to print a linocut she'd carved:

Meanwhile, everyone else decided to experiment with making their own photopolymer plates. Here's everyone scratching away at their negatives:

Molly's project:

Erin hand-inking her plate (everyone inked by hand to save on clean up time):

Her negative and the print:

Laura planning out what she wanted to do for her design:

A cute heart in a speech bubble (in dusty pink):

Loved Erika's trees:

Great job everyone! See you in two weeks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ladies of Letterpress Conference!

The Ladies of Letterpress conference is this weekend! Gretchen (Pyramid's Artistic Director) and I will be presenting at the Community Print Shop Panel on Sunday to talk about the challenges of running a studio such as ours and some of the solutions we've come up with. Stop by if you're coming to the conference!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Call for Volunteers: 2012 PA Letterpress Calendar!

We're getting ready to start planning out our annual fundraising project, the PA Letterpress Calendar! We're going to need 13-14 volunteers to design and print a page (one for each month + the front/back covers) . See info below:

In 2010, former Letterpress Associate Moira McCauley started this calendar fundraising project. Each month (plus the cover) was designed and printed by a different Pyramid letterpresser. The assembled calendars were then sold with all proceeds going directly to Pyramid. It was such a great project that we've started doing it annually! Photos of the previous calendars:

2011 Calendar (photos courtesy of Alyson Hurt):

2010 Calendar (photos courtesy of Melanie Karlins):

Now we're putting out the call for volunteers for the 2012 calendar! Please see the info below:
-Sign up: Friday August 12.
See instructions to sign up below. If we have more than 14 people volunteer, we'll use a weighted lottery system to determine who will be participating (giving preference to people who haven't done the calendar before and/or active volunteers). Shortly after this date, I'll email you your assigned months and specs.

-Critique: Wednesday September 7 (tentative).

This year, we're requiring that all participants take part in an informal critique. It's not necessary to have a final design at this point--just enough to show what you're planning on doing and how (via setting type/photopolymer/linocut etc.) Sketches/computer printouts are fine.

-Final due date: Friday October 14.

All printing should be done by this date. We'll take the following week to assemble all the calendars.

Other info:
-Print run: TBD (in the range of 100-125)
-# colors: Due to the crunch on the studio, we're limiting all pages to 2 colors.
-Size: TBD
-Studio time for this project will be free.
-Pyramid will provide the paper and ink.
-Any other materials (photopolymer plates, linoleum blocks) will not be covered.
-Each participant will receive 2 copies of the final calendar to keep + volunteer hours.

-You must be certified to print in the letterpress studio independently. If you are not currently certified - you still have time!
-You must be willing/available to meet the deadlines for the critique and the final print deadline.

Sign up:

-To sign up, email Julia by August 12.
-Include your first and second choice for which page you'd like to do (which month and/or cover)

Please let us know if you have any questions! I hope you'll all consider participating!