Saturday, May 17, 2008

Set that type

People have been asking, so I thought I'd say a little bit about letterpress class.

It was fantastic!

I thought about bringing my camera to class and taking pictures, but I was afraid that people would think I was not a serious student.

I signed up because I wanted to set type and learn more about printing, especially the kind of quality checks and tweaks that you do after you proof the type the first time.

When I arrived, I immediately recognized someone who went to my high school, and my middle school! (I wasn't positive, so I didn't say anything until after we did introductions.) I wandered around the studio and looked at the presses, including the giant Iron Hand that our class will print on.

Class began, and our instructor, Carl Montford, outlined our class project: a button-hole book. Then he started to talk about designing it.

I would love to think of myself as an artist, but I do not have that design sense. I do not have that eye. I do not have that visual imagination. I'm so much more about words. I kind of doodled on my notepad and pretended to be getting ideas until Carl split us into two groups: the people who wanted to design graphic elements and carve them in wood or linoleum cuts and the people who wanted to set the type. I exhaled and knew exactly where I belonged.

Next, we typesetters looked at different options for type, and we discussed different ways we could add emphasis (yikes, more design!). We set up single words to run through the proofing press so that we could see what the typefaces looked like when printed.

We made a decision, and then we talked about measurements with the designers, and then we began to set type in earnest. For me, earnest means three lines before we ran out of time. I have five left to do. But it was so much fun. I love the place I go when I'm picking up type from the tray and building words on my composing stick. It's the same way I feel when I bike or when I ice skate. I'm not particularly fast or good, but I'm so happy!

Then class was over, and now I'm trying to figure out how I can arrange my schedule to get back into the studio before the next class. And maybe I will take some pictures.

1 comment:

Premium T. said...

This sounds like a blast. Tell me more!