Category: Process

The Process

CONCEPT

sketches for David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

I began the creative process by doodling some ideas exploring the deconstruction of the supplied letterforms. I saw promise in the repetition of the straight and curved letter strokes.

marking up a proof of the David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

For nearly 10 years I’ve wanted to figure out a technique for safely masking and editioning wood type, and the concept I decided on for this print demanded it. While marking up a proof of the type it occurred to me how I could isolate the central strokes of the letterforms and mask them without creating additional pressure and possibly damaging the type.

FIRST RUN & EXPLANATION OF TECHNIQUE

first run lock-up for David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

I made a custom cylinder packing using strips of tympan paper (with a Mylar draw sheet) cut only as wide as the parts of the letters I wanted to print.

frisket used to mask wood type for the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

The second crucial component was making a frisket to protect the prints from picking up stray marks from the inked form.

printing David Wolske's first run for the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

There’s no pressure from the custom cylinder packing at the tops and bottoms of the letters. My experience printing on a hand press (for which a frisket is necessary) for the Red Butte Press edition of Wallace Stegner’s To a Young Writer provided the answer to a decade long riddle. I’m calling this technique  “plus-minus printing,” where the packing is the “plus” and the frisket is the “minus.” “isotype printing.”

the first print run of David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project on the drying rack

SECOND RUN

preparing the linoleum block for David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

For the second run, I wanted to print the counterforms (see the initial sketch). I scanned the original black proof (see image 2) and traced the counters in Adobe Illustrator and made them filled shapes. To get the now solid counterforms onto a linoleum block I printed the shapes with a laser printer, then traced the perimeter of each with a pencil. The pencil lines were placed against the linoleum and rubbed from the back of the sheet with a bone folder to transfer the outlines for cutting.

cutting the linoleum block for David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

mixing ink for the second run of David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

All three colors for the print use fluorescent, oil-based inks from Gans.

David Wolske's second print run for the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

The smooth, solid, pink, linoleum-cut counterforms contrast nicely with the open grain of the unshellacked wood type.

THIRD RUN

third run lock-up for David Wolske's contribution the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

Running the third color of David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

detail of the third print run from David Wolske's contribution to the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

I used brass, type-high rule to imply the missing ascenders (t, h), cross stroke (t), and spur (u), and to suggest an exploded view of the letters.

FINAL PRINT

David Wolske's final print, "(un)touch(ed)" for the Vista Sans Wood Type Project

(un)touch(ed)
2012
3 color letterpress
17.25 × 24 inches

(un)touch(ed)

Having experimented with the characters touching each other, our latest prints focus on the impression of the type upon the paper- from touch to ouch.

I was first struck by the size of the type and remembered Tricia asking if I had gotten the 5 inch type– yes indeed!

I have been working with old rulers and measurements in my current prints, so immediately got out the pica ruler and sized the type up.
Then I spotted a proof from my last print hanging on the wall of my studio. The O fit on there perfectly… The direction is already becoming clear…
Right now I am considering a series of prints along the theme of measurements- one for each letter. I’ll see if time allows.

macy chadwick—measuring up

Our initial explorations with the wood type focus on relating the content to the form. A literal approach was taken during a day on the press, experimenting with letter-spacing, and negative letter-spacing. This is the antithesis of how we usually work. The limitations of letterpress, due to the physical body of the type, mean that if type is to be printed in one run then it is most straightforward to letter-space the type out.

There is slightly too much impression, which was necessary in achieving an even print due to the varying wood used for the different characters. This will inform the basis of further explorations examining the ‘kiss’ of the type with the paper.

Press: Vandercoock Universal I in home studio.

Ink: Graphic Chemical’s Senefelder’s Crayon Black

Paper: Studio Scrap. Probably Mohawk Superfine Cover Weight

What was supposed to be our first attempt (just a simple print so we could cut out the letters and play with them), yielded our concept.

Daniel's finger touches the camera lens.

After making a mistake on the tympan, we tried to rub off the ink with mag and a paper towel. It was our inspirational moment.

We’re looking forward to developing techniques for getting repeatable, but unique and attractive results.

 

 

final layer of type on surface with chine colle type hidden and found..ghost type made with layer of grey then fresh type on top

metallic litho ink ... well used!!


decided to cover the type with another layer of grey

Adjustments..new layers

Today was my third pass working with the type. Third pass, third color, third thought.

ouch. and what might that have to do with the price of tea in Ceylon?

Time Lapse

Rick Griffith

Final Edition.. almost there

Detail of one of the variable edition

first layer of type

Update from Belfast