Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marbled and Paste Papers In Action!

 This show is currently up in the gallery at BookWorks, and will be up through August 31st.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, final Day 6

The best news of day six is that I finished printing the book! Well, everything I could finish while in Gordo. I still have to make a new plate for the colophon and create an image for the foldout, then print the title and maybe an image on the cover. I didn't quite have the materials prepared in time, but it's so nice to have most of the book done, and all done by lunchtime, too!

Since I had some extra time for the rest of the day, we decided to take a trip to the House family cemetery. It was full of good inspiration for this book project.

We had another fantastic home-made meal of spaghetti and eggplant parmesan made from fresh garden veggies. We got punchy and came up with our own gang sign, which I got Glen and Jessica to demonstrate.

After dinner I headed back to the print shop to have some fun with their type collection and work on my Gordo Project, inspired by an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode but meant for the chicken feed processing plant across the street. We made sure to hang a few up in the windows this morning before I left.

Around midnight I just couldn't stop and moved on to a second project, a postcard for an exchange with the Ladies of Letterpress. I was originally going to print postcards for Asheville, but I guess I just got inspired, mainly by Cousin Jimmy's watermelons (I'm gonna print watermelons on these before I call them done).

Overall, I'd call this residency a success! I'm back home in Asheville now, but I miss Gordo already and am already making plans for going back. If you're looking for a place to go where you can print and  enjoy good food and good company, I'd definitely recommend it. (contact Jessica Peterson at for all the details).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, Day 5

I convinced Glen House to to go on a Kozo Expedition with me yesterday. He didn't need much convincing, so after a delicious lunch of biscuits and sorghum-molasses-butter, we packed up a few necessities and headed off in search of Alabama Kozo. First, we went to a patch just down the street from downtown Gordo, practically a small kozo forest. He pointed out the ways to recognize the plant: fuzzy branches near the leaves, leaves that are fuzzy on one side and scratchy on the other, and striations in the bark. It also has a tendency to camouflage itself because the leaves change shape, even on a single tree. The leaves of the Japanese kozo, Broussonetia kazinoki, have very irregular edges with a distinct shape, but this kozo plant, Broussonetia papyrifera, has some leaves with irregular edges, slightly irregular edges, and some that are smooth and rounded.

Hmm, I think I got all of that right. I need to download a copy of Glen's book to double check my facts.

After we got a few different cuttings, we headed off on another expedition to find the marsh mallow plant. Glen heard that this plant can be used to make formation aid, what we usually make from the mucilage of the root of the tororo aoi. He wanted to collect some seeds to grow his own marsh mallows and test out this theory, and I got some seeds as well.

On our way back to the print studio, Glen showed me the oldest kozo tree I'd ever seen:

Back at the studio, I put the kozo cuttings in water and spread out the marsh mallow seeds. These will go back with me to Asheville where I hope they'll grow into a nice little kozo garden.

I got in a few hours of printing in the afternoon, and ended the day with a potluck and artist talk with a fantastic group of book artists and bibliophiles from around this area.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, Day 4

Yesterday was another productive printing day. It actually got off to a slow start while I made changes to my pressure print matrix (I ended up using the original design after changing it around for three hours). I've finished what I can on the broadsides and foldouts, and printed a similar image on the pages of the book. I still have one more run to print on the pages, but the rest of the images will have to be finalized and printed once I return to Asheville.

While I've been printing from polymer plates and linoleum, Jessica P. has been having fun with type on the press next to mine:

I took a break in the afternoon and set a little type for a Gordo Project. I'll post more on that tomorrow. Here are a few more discoveries in the shop.
Kathy watering plants outside the museum and work space she shares with Glen House.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, Day 3

I went out for a walk around the town of Gordo last night once the sun set and it started to cool off a little outside. It only took about 10 minutes. Here's downtown, two views of the same street. I think most of these buildings are empty, even though old signs are still posted.

It's definitely a good place to get work done, with few distractions. Here's the building that houses the print shop where I'm working, down a side street off of the main street. It's one building (one big room) with two entrances. the left side is where Amos works, and the right side is where everyone else works. By the way, I just found out that Amos has officially inducted me into the Amalgamated Printers of Some Color, woohoo!

 This is Luna, the Studio Cat.

I finished printing all of the text for the books by lunchtime and moved on to working on the images, which will be printed in a combination of pressure prints and woodcuts or linocuts, and possible some more polymer plates. The images aren't totally worked out yet, so I don't plan on finishing everything while I'm here, but it's nice to get so much of it done, and to get motivated to get this project off the ground. This book has 21 poems, and will be made in an edition of 30.

I'm also making a corresponding broadside that works as both an independent print as well as a fold-out that's a part of the book. I got this far last night, but I'm not convinced that it's quite right, so there are only three that look like this. I decided to stop, sleep on it, and see where it goes today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, Day 2

Yesterday was definitely more adventure than I was expecting while at this residency. I suppose I should have been a good, hard-working artist and stayed at the print shop making prints, but I volunteered to go with the the gang to pick up "a little type from the preacher". This preacher had originally lived in Gordo many many years ago, where he bought the print shop from a local printer, and proceeded to use it for printing religious tracts to hand out, and to print posters for his revivals. Like most people, he's discovered digital printing and no longer has any use for the letterpress printing supplies in his barn, so invited Glen House to come by and pick it up, gratis.

His instructions for finding his warehouse was simple enough: drive to Forkland (where he now lives), take a right, go about 3 miles and you'll see the gate on the left. Needless to say, it wasn't that simple and we ended up driving down a slew of county roads and gravel driveways, entering every gate that was left open. Along the way we saw some beautiful old abandoned houses and churches, a shrimp farm, a catfish processing plant, and a shiny new oil rig. Even though I knew I was in capable hands, while we were driving around lost in the woods I got little nervous and thought I heard a couple of dueling banjos off in the distance. Such a relief to finally find the Preacher's Warehouse.

One press and five type cabinets later, we were on our way back to Gordo. This is what Kathy called the "Clampett Truck."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Gordo Adventure, Day 1

I'm sitting with my feet propped up after a full day of printing. To tell you more about what I'm up to this week: I'm doing a week-long residency at The Fetters Book and Print Center at Studio 150 in Gordo, Alabama, where Jessica Peterson and Amos Kennedy share a large print studio and separate living quarters. While Amos is away for the summer, I'm staying in his apartment and Jessica has prepared a Vandercook SP-20 for me to print on as much as I want to, along with plenty of table spaces to spread out.

Kathy Fetters spent part of the day with us, distributing type:

Today, I printed one side of all of the pages in my 24-page book. They'll dry a bit overnight, then I'll print the other sides tomorrow. More about the book later this week. I took a break in the evening to pick some blueberries and have delicious veggie gumbo and tomato sandwiches at a neighbor's, all homemade with veggies from the garden. Oh, and then we topped it off with 6 different flavors of homemade gelato! Yes, six and they were all so good.

Printing has gone well, with problems found in only two plates (one typo, another damaged). I'm adjusting to printing on handmade cotton rag, which tends to have lumps and strings and knots which affect printing, but not as much as I had expected. I'm also using a typeface that's forgiving, so that helps. After printing a book that's very tight and controlled, I'm enjoying loosening up a bit and letting the materials just be how they want to be. It's hard to let go, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Monday, July 19, 2010

well that's a crazy week

It all started with the Big Crafty last Sunday (I guess the craziness also includes the week before, when I was prepping stuff for it). Had a great time, and met some new (and old) friends, including these favorites: Sew Ono, Monkey & Squirrel, Beth Schaible, and Margaret Couch Cogswell.

Then I spent the rest of the week finishing a new commission binding, a bound book of letters written to the patriarch of a family for his 100th birthday. It includes silver birch bark (on the cover) and leaf prints (on the endsheets) from an area in western NC where the family often gathers at a summer cottage, plus custom calligraphy by Cheryl Jacobsen. The cover is handmade paper by me, dyed a rich dark brown with natural walnut dye.

Along with this book, I was also prepping like crazy for my week-long residency at Studio 150 in Gordo Alabama, where Jessica Peterson and Amos Kennedy live and work. I'm here now, and gonna go set up a press as soon as I finish this post! I'll post more during this week.