As I mentioned in my last post, I've recently relocated the press from a rented studio in Wimbledon to a workshop shed in the back garden. [I will apologize in advance for the quality of many of the photos. They were taken on my mobile phone in bad lighting.]
Giles from Antique Machinery Removal did an amazing job (all on his own!) with my fiddly move. The main problem was that the only access to my back garden is through the house, which involves going up a couple of steps, through some narrow doorways, out some sliding patio doors and then finally outside. Giles had to disassemble the press quite a bit to be able to get it through all the doorways but he left the main body and the platen assembled and used this small crane to lift it onto a dolly to push around. It took him about 4 hours to disassemble the press and load everything into his van. The following morning he showed up and started the process all over again. To get the press up the front steps he had to build this crazy ramp. Then he set up blankets and metal (steel?) sheets to roll the dolly on so that he wouldn't damage the floor. I didn't get many pictures of the rest of the process because I didn't want to get in his way too much. Basically he built another ramp to get out the back door and then laid a bunch more metal sheets in the grass to push the dolly back to the workshop. Once it was out to the workshop he maneuvered it into place, levelled it up and then reassembled the whole press. As you can see in this picture, we had to build a little platform for the press to sit on. We tried to get the floor of the shed level while we were building it but were not 100% successful so a few days before the press move my husband used these pieces of MDF and hardboard to create a more level surface for the press. Even then Giles had to add a couple more pieces of wood under the left-hand side. It's definitely not the most elegant solution in the world but it works. I'll have to build a platform for me to stand on because now the press is a bit too tall for me to comfortably use the treadle, but that's another project for another day. The workshop is 6ft x 10ft which is much smaller than the studio in Wimbledon but should give me plenty of space to work. I haven't had the opportunity to print in there yet but I'm really looking forward to having a couple of free hours to play around. I think it will be so lovely to print in there with the doors thrown open looking at my garden and mr. robin to keep me company.
Little Matthew turned four months on 7 Sept.
He's getting SO big, starting to roll over, shoving things in his mouth, "talking" to me all the time. What he's not doing is sleeping much, or consistently, during the day so I haven't had any time to start working on Cerulean Press things. For the first few months I didn't have the desire to print or do much with the business. Slowly but surely the desire is returning, now I just need to find some time! One thing that should make printing a bit easier is that my press has finally come home!
The workshop is still just a shell with a huge hunk of metal stuck in the middle, but we're going to insulate it, add some kind of wall cover and paint the inside so that it feels more like a garden workshop and less like a shed for garden tools. I took a bunch of pictures of the moving process which I'll share in another post. I'll also be sure to keep everyone updated on the workshop upgrades.
A couple of months ago I printed some custom letterpress notecards for myself and as gifts for friends and family.
Each card is A6 size (148mm x 105mm). I printed 10 of each card and paired them with 10 recycled envelopes, tied up with coordinating yarn. I think I would like to get some baker's twine (maybe Divine Twine, although that stuff is pretty pricey) since it was really coincidence that I had yarn that matched the ink colour I used.
I played around with a variety of fonts and pretty ornaments to flank each name. I think my favourite combinations are the top and bottom examples in the picture above.
Once I get the studio back up and running I will be offering custom notecards in my Etsy shop.
I'd like to introduce the newest member of the Cerulean Press family, baby Matthew, born 7 May 2012!
We're beyond thrilled (and a little tired) and I can't believe he's already one month old. It both seems like he was born yesterday and that we've had him with us forever.
Needless to say it's taking awhile to get adjusted to having a new little person in our life so I'm taking a break from printing for a couple of months. During this time I will also be moving my press from the studio space that I currently rent to a brand new workshop that my husband built for me at the bottom of the garden. I'm hoping that having my equipment so close will make it easy to get out there for short bursts of printing while the baby naps (or while my husband is home to watch him).
Anyway, hope that explains the radio silence for most of the past 10 or so months (exhaustion + desire to not expose my growing baby to some of the chemicals I use for cleanup means I didn't do much printing during the pregnancy). I have been doing lots of scheming during this time so once we're a little more settled I'll have lots of things to print and share. I can't wait!
I first heard about the movie over 2 years ago, while I was still living in San Francisco. There was a little blurb about the documentary in one of the free newspapers, which I excitedly read and even cut out (I probably still have the clipping somewhere). I've been following along with the screening schedule for the past couple of years so I was really excited a couple of weeks ago to see that it was finally coming to London, to the St. Bride Library to be more specific. The film wasn't really about letterpress printing, per se, but about art, what it means to be an artist, race in the United States and, most inspiring to me, following your dreams. Like Kennedy, I spent many years working in "Corporate America" before discovering printing and it was really inspiring to see somebody who gave that up to follow their passion. Kennedy doesn't consider himself an artist, but I would have to disagree... It's clear he loves the act of printing, but it seemed very obvious in the film that he uses printing as a means to spread his message, to provoke, to make people think, to share his interpretation of how the world is or should be. To me that's art. I, on the other hand, love getting my hands dirty and printing, but am hoping to turn this love into a more commercial venture, printing for others. He does sell his posters, but that almost seems beside the point for him. There was a question and answer session with the man himself after the screening, and he was just as engaging as the movie depicts. My husband asked a question (about whether he had any regrets about leaving corporate life) but after we left he said that he had a couple more questions but didn't want to seem like he was taking over the session. His questions were about how much time Kennedy spends printing, and is it the finished product or the printing process itself that he finds most compelling about what he does. Both great questions that I wish he would have asked! So, aside from a couple of technical difficulties with the movie, it was a great way to spend an evening. AND, best of all, free goodies!
This past week has been a bit hectic, with appointments and work being done on the house, so I'm afraid the designing slipped to the bottom of the To Do list. I feel a bit guilty about abandoning the project, so I thought I would try to end on a bang and I designed four new pieces to show you today! One of the wedding invitations I printed samples of a couple of months ago is this tree design:
I decided that today I would take that invitation and design some sample companion pieces to go along with it.
I've used a different font to indicate that the design would be printed but the names would be handwritten at a later point. Finally there is a thank you card: All fonts and colours can be personalised to suit the couple, and additional pieces could be designed as well. So, that ends my month of designing. Overall I'll give myself a B- (designs are ok, but I skipped quite a few days). I need a couple of days to digest the month and I'll be back with some parting thoughts on the project.
I have another wedding invitation for you today. It's a bit of a departure from what I normally do (not as much colour for a start), but I wanted to see if I could design something for a more classic wedding. This design features a monogram of the couple's initials and a simple black and white design. It could of course be printed in any colour (or mix of colours), but I wanted to keep it as uncomplicated as possible and I am quite pleased.
And here is a corresponding RSVP card.
Today's design is inspired by a baby announcement I saw on Oh So Beautiful Paper a few months ago. The design, from Sideshow Press, has pennants with hand-lettering with baby's name and details. I took a couple of elements (hand lettering, knockout printing of the names) and designed this birth announcement with balloons.