25 December 2012

A vintage little Christmas

I'm sure with all of my obsessing over typewriters, you would imagine my Christmas list to look something like this:

Sadly, it's actually much more like this:

I am a 26-year old woman, it is 2012, and, yes, I really want a good vacuum cleaner for Christmas this year. Thanks, Santa.

18 December 2012

There and back again: a type-in tale

One of our pretty display tables before the wild rumpus started.
No, I have not been out to see the new movie adaptation of The Hobbit yet. I have been busy recovering from my own adventure. Did I tell you about it? Maybe you read about it all on Scribbling Glue or the Literary House blog. Thread Lock Press's first-ever event, a collaboration with Annie of Scribbling Glue, called "Type-In Type-Out": Chestertown's first type-in and letter-writing social, finally happened! If you were unlucky enough to have missed this crazy night, let me share some of it with you now.

Hannelore is ready to party. And she brought stationery.
After months of preparation, the big day arrived and we were ready. Annie and I showed up at Evergrain Bread Company at 4:00pm--our cars full to overflowing with typewriters, mailart supplies, typewriter and letter-writing ephemera, books about typewriters and famous correspondences and mailart, custom letterpress type-in stationery, and everything else we could think of--to begin setting up for the big event. It took us a little maneuvering to settle in to our space, but the helpful people at the bakery were ready to oblige and assist us however we needed. At about quarter to five, we had finished arranging (and rearranging) and were breathing deep, nervous sighs waiting for 5:00pm. Very soon, our first (intentional!) participants arrived and wasted no time sitting down at their stations to commune with their chosen machines.

Doug and Dave talk typewriters over an Evergrain cappuccino.
To start off, there were four typewriters: my girls Hildegard (Remington Rand), Hermione (Royal Futura), Hannelore (Olympia SM9 De Luxe), and Heloise (Underwood, older model). Then some new typewriters started arriving with their owners: Joan brought her Smith Corona Galaxie, Joe his Sears Achiever, Judi her Royal Quiet DeLuxe, Jehanne and Jeremy their Smith Corona Super named Pedasos, and Sofia her Royal Safari. One of the best parts was that everyone was willing to share their typewriters, let perfect strangers have a go on their beautiful machines. At the end of the night, there were nine different typewriters in action around this table and excited typists rotating in and out of the seats, some anxiously awaiting their turn at the keys.

The party in full-swing.
Don't think all of the action was at the typewriter table, though. Once finished typing their letter or poem or whatever else they wanted to type, participants made their way over to the mailart table with Annie where they could embellish their ephemera to their heart's content. People even got to make their own envelopes out of pages recycled from discarded children's books, among other things. Annie also created helpful worksheets regarding postal FAQs and things you need to know about sending your one-of-a-kind epistolary artwork out into the wide world via letter-carrier. 

Annie's tidy mailart table before all the hubbub began.
Are you familiar with Chronicle Books' Griffin and Sabine trilogy? THAT is mailart. Those are just a few of the books we brought along for people to look at while getting their feet wet. I also made sure to bring Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (the book that first inspired me to go get a typewriter) and Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer (a book of literary correspondence, envelope art, and typewritten letters, of course!) I highly recommend them all. A friend even asked to borrow Floating Worlds after seeing it at this event.

Some of my favorite books chronicling famous and fictional correspondences.
Although we lost count during all of the busyness, we estimate that at least 75 people came out to our event, which far exceeded my expectations. One thing I failed to anticipate with this much use was how quickly brand-new ink ribbons would reach the end of their spools! I rewound at least four ink ribbons during the evening to get more life out of them--there is always plenty of ink left for another round of typing when the ribbon runs out, I've found. And of course, the typewriters did not work perfectly the entire time. There were many, many times I had to rush to the aid of a stumped typist who couldn't figure out why the carriage suddenly stopped advancing or the entire keyboard locked and refused to reach the platen. Most of the time I could fix the problem, but being only a practiced amateur myself, it would take me a minute or two to remember how I had overcome that problem at home before. "Margin release" was a revelation for many new to the typewriting scene, as was the lack of a delete key (although Annie is brilliant and remembered to bring a bottle of white-out!).

Annie (Scribbling Glue), Doug (owner of Evergrain), and me.
Thank you to everyone for such a lovely and memorable evening. Annie and I hope to take this program on the road in the near future. If anyone out there is interested in bringing us out, let me know! We do love a good adventure. But for now, we'll do our best to bask in the glory of the holidays and a job well done.

11 December 2012

A History in Six Couplets

Another fabulous perk of my new job? Getting to assist in designing (and even printing) the famous Literary House Press letterpress-printed broadsides commemorating visiting writers. Last Tuesday, December 4, the lovely poet and translator Idra Novey came to give a poetry reading at the Lit House as part of our Jewish Voices series. Her most recent poetry collection is Exit, Civilian (2012). We chose to create a broadside of her poem "A History in Six Couplets" from her book The Next Country (2008). 

For her broadside, I was hands-on in the design process. How hands-on? I got to carve the linoleum block of this broken city skyline! To say, I love my job, seems an understatement at this point.

For more details about the process (and a few pictures by my wonderful co-worker, Owen Bailey), here's a post I wrote for the Lit House blog: "Behind the Scenes: Creating a Lit House Press broadside."

04 December 2012

Type-In Type-Out: Chestertown's first type-in & letter-writing social

Smith Corona portable electric typewriter ad
It's finally here! In just three days, Annie and I will be throwing our big party and you are all invited. 

Presenting . . .

Chestertown's first type-in
& letter-writing social

First Friday,
7 December 2012

 Evergrain Bread Company
201-203 High Street
Chestertown, Maryland

A flock of typewriters (Hildegard, Hermione, Hannelore, and Heloise) will be on hand and open for use. Anyone who owns a typewriter is warmly invited to bring it along to this social typing event.

Letterpress-printed stationery created especially for this event will be provided, as well as envelopes and mailart supplies.

Bring your curiosity and be ready to laugh. Make art, play with words, meet people, and enjoy. Walk away with a renewed sense of community and connection, as well as typewritten and handmade creations. 

So, if all of that was not convincing enough, "it's the in thing" according to this vintage Smith Corona advertisement for portable electric typewriters. See you there!

Presented by Thread Lock Press and Scribbling Glue.

27 November 2012

Christmas for the letter-writer: an idea list

Spreading the word about my upcoming collaborative event has taught me quite a bit about the people in and around my small town: there are lots of typewriter and letter-writing enthusiasts out there! More than I would have thought in this small population set. I guess not everyone is as loud or obsessive as I am (or Annie is), but that doesn't mean they enjoy these things any less. 

With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a Christmas gift idea list for the letter-writer in your life:

1. Oversize envelope clutch 
    (from Pansy Bag)

I adore the colors and design of this perfectly simple, large clutch purse from Pansy Bag. You can never have too many envelopes.

2. Postcup, postcard mug
    (from Bailey Doesn't Bark)

What letter-writer doesn't enjoy a hot cup of tea? Especially this time of year. This mug from Bailey Doesn't Bark comes with a porcelain pen that you use to fill in the postcard template. Just inscribe, bake, and put the kettle the on.

3. Simple typewriter calling cards
    (from Michelle Brusegaard)

If letter-writing and typewriters aren't old-fashioned enough, how about calling cards from Michelle Brusegaard? Not a business card, just a formal "So-and-so was here" calling card. And this one uses a typewriter-inspired font.

4. Leather envelope card wallet
     (from Mariposa Handmade   

And how about an envelope-shaped wallet from Mariposa Handmade Handbag to keep those calling cards in?

5. Felt typewriter brooch
     (from Green Accordion)

I would wear this brooch from Green Accordion to every fancy get-together that I could. Get them in multiple colors so that you always have one to match! 

6. Exquisite dark stationery
     (from The 1900 Letter)

And even more of that old-fashioned taste. I think the gothic embellishments on every stationery design from The 1900 Letter add a large dose of atmosphere to letter-writing and letter-reading. Don't you?

7. Address labels
    (from The Little Fox)

Another added touch is the illustrated address label. Try "The Lovely Letter" theme of address labels from The Little Fox.

8. Stationery & letter organizer
     (from downstairsDesigns)

I've had my eye on these In Touch clutches from downstairsDesigns for quite a while now. Organization is crucial when you have so many obligations and projects up in the air at the same time. It may even spare you enough time to write a letter or two. Another nice design element at work here: when you snap the clutch closed, it looks like an envelope!

Good luck with your gift-giving! Now to get started on my own...

22 November 2012

Holiday sale (er, sell-out?)

So, I guess I'm participating in this Black Friday-Cyber Monday hoopla. I've decided to offer FREE SHIPPING on all items in my Etsy shop from Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26. Just use the coupon code TLPXMAS12.

In addition, I will be listing "The Girls Friday," Typewriter Trading Card Set sooner than previously promised. To have them available in time for holiday shoppers, these limited edition artist trading cards will be available to purchase starting Friday!

Do you have any special writers (or readers) in your life that are difficult to shop for? Have they exhibited an appreciation for obsolete technologies? If they do not yet have a working typewriter, get them one! There has been quite the typewriter renaissance over the past couple of years, and supplies such as ink ribbons are not as hard to find as you might think. 

Once they are equipped with their very own working typewriter, come see me for some great typewriter stocking gifts! Get them a custom-fitted, kitsch fabric typewriter cozy to keep the dust and pet hair out. My typewriter trading cards will fit great in that stocking too! Trust me, if I didn't already have this stuff, I would love to get it for Christmas.

REMEMBER: FREE SHIPPING with coupon code TLPXMAS12 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday!

The Type-In is coming soon! Check out this blog post from Scribbling Glue's Annie to see the beautiful mail-art invitations (typed on letterpress-printed stationery) that we made last weekend for a smaller target audience. Flyers went up around the area yesterday. Just two weeks and counting.

20 November 2012

Acceptable reasons to cry in public

I contributed a measly $10 to this Kickstarter project called "Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public," a public grassroots letterpress broadside art installation, and in return I got these four gorgeous posters, complete with letterpress-printed QR codes--one to keep, three to post in public spaces. Working at a college, I feel I am in a place full of people--students and faculty--who are forever on the verge of emotional breakdown; and these people seem especially in need of the consolation that we all cry in public sometimes. My own life this past four or five years has been littered with these glittering moments. It's genuine  and tragic and kind, and in the end, it's also funny. I loved being able to be a tiny part of this project. 

After brainstorming with a few friends, I decided my chosen venues would be public bathrooms around the Washington College campus--ladies' bathrooms in particular. Isn't that where all of us girls prefer to do our public crying?

My first location was the first-floor bathroom of The Rose O'Neill Literary House (my home base on campus):

It fits in perfectly among the walls covered in framed letterpress posters printed right here in our Print Shop.

Second, the door on the last stall in the women's bathroom in the Casey Academic Center (home of the mail room, college bookstore, a few classrooms, and the financial aid office upstairs--the last of which seems a perfectly acceptable reason to cry in public):

Last, near the window in the women's bathroom on the first floor of William Smith Hall (populated by numerous classrooms, English faculty offices, and a small theatre):

At this last location, I was finally caught in the act by a fellow staff member. So I got to explain about the project and hope that these posters won't go unnoticed. Who knows how long they will be allowed to remain in their hallowed places. For a few months, at the least, I would hope. Mine will be framed and hung in my office.

The instruction letter they mailed along with the posters was typed up on a blue Sears Citation typewriter. That made me happy too. (But I didn't cry about it)

13 November 2012

Cozy Christmas for a Typewriter

"Question: What is the one Christmas present designed for use by every member of the family except infants, which can be used daily the whole year round and which will last a lifetime with a minimum of care? Answer: A typewriter."

"Typewriter Sales Offers Perfect Christmas Gift," The Victoria Advocate, 26 November 1962.

Yes, this ad is 50 years old. But over the past few years, typewriter ownership has been on the rise once again. Have you noticed? 

So my question is: Do you know someone who's getting a typewriter for Christmas this year? Maybe you are getting someone a typewriter for Christmas. You know what that typewriter is probably missing? A kitschy fabric typewriter cozy from Thread Lock Press. I make custom typewriter covers for every typewriter, starting at $40. And you won't be able to find these anywhere else!

If you want me to make you a custom typewriter cozy for Christmas, just send me a message with your typewriter's dimensions and I'll get started! 

Remember: an essential part of caring for your typewriter is protecting it from the collection of dust, pet hair, and other debris that can jam up those tiny intricate parts. That's why, if you have a typewriter, it needs a typewriter cozy from Thread Lock Press.

06 November 2012

NaNoWriMo: Poetry Edition

Yes, I do know that there is an established NaPoWriMo during the month of April to give poets a share in the longstanding November tradition of National Novel Writing Month. But I was too distracted, exhausted, and (yes) lazy this past April to do my poetic duties of writing a poem a day for 30 days. So, to make up for it, I am observing this marathon alongside the novelists right now

One of our many adventures, this one with cheesecake-on-a-stick.  Photo by Olivia Mirot

Since I am very eager to get myself back firmly-saddled on the poetry-writing-horse, I will do my very best to stick to this strict regimen. A good way to go about this? Rope a friend into doing it with you and you've got accountability. Emma and I are sending our daily poem attempts back and forth. So far, so good.

31 October 2012

The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review

Gorgeous cover illustration for issue #17.
My two poems "Women and Children First" and "Red market" are in the Fall 2012 issue of The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review! These two were accepted just about a year ago, when this literary magazine was still known as Moon Milk Review. This is my second magazine publication. Keep writing and submitting and writing and submitting.

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Eckleburg Issue #17!!!

30 October 2012

Thinking and driving

One of the fabulous perks of my new job: meeting contemporary writers on a regular basis as we host them for readings or lectures at the Literary House. A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting Dylan Landis, author of the novel-in-stories Normal People Don't Live Like This. As tends to happen when a successful writer comes to visit an undergrad Creative Writing program, during the Q&A following the reading, a student asked the dreaded what-advice-would-you-give-to-aspiring-writers question.  

Is it mean that I always cringe a little on the inside when this question is asked? I mean how many different ways can a writer be expected to iterate the same basic principles? Write early and often. But Dylan offered up something refreshing on that same theme. Her advice was very specific and addressed that most nagging problem: time management. 

1. Set your alarm an hour earlier in the morning, and use that hour to write before the obligations of the day ahead begin. 

As sound as that advice is, I have a hard enough time as it is dragging myself out of bed an hour after my alarm goes off. Which is why I already set my alarm an hour before I need to get out of bed in order to get to work on time. I don't think this piece of advice will survive my body's natural inclination to early morning lethargy. But I certainly recommend that other, stronger-willed persons give that a try.

Dylan Landis did not advocate writing while driving. That's dangerous.
2. Turn off the radio in the car, and use that driving time to think about whatever draft you are currently working on. Sort out the things that have you stuck.

Eureka! Here is time I am already wasting. It's already built into my daily routine, so why not utilize it? While driving 45 minutes to my eye exam one morning, I propped my little notebook up in the dashboard (I drive an automatic, do I really need to stay on top of RPM?--utilizing waste of dash space!), and had that open as a reminder of the poem fragment I had been trying to complete. With the radio off, I had enough quiet to think and work through the possibilities. And because I'm also concentrating on driving, I don't suffer from that blank-page-fright--the same way taking a break and working on chores may help you reach that eureka moment.

3. Turn off the television in the evenings, and WRITE!

To be honest, I came to that conclusion on my own a few years ago. When the national switch to digital was mandated in 2009 by the FCC, I made the conscious decision not to upgrade my hand-me-down analog set or even grab a discounted conversion box. I decided this was a great time to cut that time-suck out my life. Because the thing is, even if there is nothing on, if I was bored, I would still channel surf and settle on something just to pass the time. If I don't have that option, it follows that I would be more likely to do something more productive with my time: read a book, WRITE, or move forward on some other creative project. How liberating! I must confess, I still spend a bit of time catching up on certain shows on Hulu, but it is taking up far less of my time. It was a lifestyle change that has been nothing but positive.

23 October 2012

A festivus for the press(ed) of us

Because I no longer have to work weekends (thanks to my new job), I was able to make an excursion to Oak Knoll Fest XVII in New Castle, Delaware. Here are a few of my favorite things from the exhibition on Saturday, October 6, 2012.

1. Sherwin Beach Press (Chicago, Illinois) :

The first table to stop me in my tracks. In particular their limited edition fine press book Poisonous Plants at Table: an artistic compilation of two pre-existing texts and an exclusive third text. It includes selections from a 1901 text called Poisonous Plants in Field and Garden by the Reverend Professor G. Henslow, along with creatively inserted party menus from a previous Poisonous Plants at Table by Dr. E. Coffin (pun intended?), that use the aforementioned poisonous plants in the serving of meals to guests. 

Even stopping here, this book absolutely reflects my own dark, Edward Gorey-esque sense of humor. But then there was the exclusive third text written specifically for this book project by the author, illustrator, and book artist, Audrey Niffenegger! This book includes a new short story from Niffenegger called "Prudence: The Cautionary Tale of a Picky Eater," complete with full-color, fold-out illustrations painted by Niffenegger. My jaw dropped. I was in love. 

Although I first discovered her after stumbling upon The Time Traveler's Wife (long, long before the movie came out, I assure you), I then dug a bit deeper and found her two previously published "novels in pictures:" The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress, and then later, The Night Bookmobile. I would describe those first two as also possessing that same Edward Gorey-esque sense of dark whimsy that had me captivated. They were so strange and so beautiful. Have you read them? You must. 

Lucky for me, this gorgeous art book from Sherwin Beach Press was already sold out. Otherwise, I would be $1200 in the hole right now. But I now have a new press to keep my eye on.

2. The Lone Oak Press (Petersham, Massachusetts) :

Mimpish Squinnies!!! Another beautiful art book that I have been lusting after that is also long sold out. I did not realize before browsing the exhibition tables that The Lone Oak Press was to be at Oak Knoll Fest. What a wonderful surprise! So even though I could not take a copy home with me, I could see it up close, touch the pages, and look inside at all of the beautiful and odd engravings by Abigail Rorer. 

If you are not already familiar with this wonder of the book arts world, allow me to introduce to you: Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants, with engravings by Abigail Rorer (The Lone Oak Press) and introduction by Maureen Sanderson. Are you also noticing a pattern here in my fine press book attractions? Why plants? I cannot tell you, but strange, dangerous, anthropomorphized (even worthless) plants have my undivided attention. I'm sure it also has much to do with the artistry and craftsmanship of these spectacular literary objects.

3. Ladies of Letterpress (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) :

Kseniya Thomas (and over her right shoulder, Abigail Rorer)
I have been a Lady of Letterpress for about four years now, but I was finally able to meet one of THE two Ladies behind the fabulous social network/international trade organization, Kseniya Thomas. I have been sad not to have been able to attend the LoLP Letterpress Conference the last two years, but I hope to make it to the third one coming up June 27-29, 2013 in Iowa! They are already advertising for this next conference with beautiful "Type on the Cob" postcards, letterpressed on extra heavy card. It was really great to see them in person while they were so nearby!

4. The stuff I bought to take home (Chestertown, Maryland)

Type was in the air, and I couldn't help but be swept off my feet. My two take-home books? A Typographical Romance from Harsimus Press (Jersey City, New Jersey) and Pantone Love from Bowe House Press, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia). I also bought a new LoLP T-shirt (charcoal and blue).

This was my first time visiting the famous (and rather prestigious) Oak Knoll Festival, and I will definitely be going to the next one.

16 October 2012

Stationery for your portable (typewriter)

My next mini-project in preparing for my Type-In & Letter-Writing Social co-hosted with Scribbling Glue, was to letterpress some type-able special-event stationery. I had some great paper scraps from a previous broadside printing that were begging to be used. I mean, these are decently-sized Rives BFK scraps I'm talking about here. Plus, whatever other paper bits I could find.

Annie (of Scribbling Glue) came by this weekend to try her hand at some printing, so we got going on this project. I set a line of text to commemorate the event alongside a kitschy little typist block (in the picture above). 

I think she had fun, don't you? I am very pleased with how the stationery turned out. I even gave it a little typing test, the morning after. 

We are getting really, really, really excited for "Type-In Type-Out." Are you?

09 October 2012

Nesting (again)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post titled "Nesting" when I was preparing the space in my living room for the printing press that would soon be arriving. Since then, my press has moved-in and moved across the room (which required the assistance of two able-bodied men). Now, I find myself nesting once again, but this time the space is for me--in my new lavender office on the second floor of The Rose O'Neill Literary House.

My first day I brought Hermione (my baby blue Royal Futura) and a small potted succulent (a kalanchoe--that should be relatively difficult to kill) in with me. Both Hermione and the invincible, unnamed office plant live on a small window-side end table. But there are still lavender walls to be decorated. So I did a little shopping...

1. "Creative & Curious" screenprinted felt pennant
I discovered Uppercase magazine a couple months ago and fell in love with it almost immediately. I adore their motto: "a magazine for the creative and curious." So, when I decided I could afford to treat myself to a subscription (because of my new job), I threw beautiful teal and orange, limited edition Uppercase pennant in the virtual shopping cart as well.

2. Pride and Prejudice alternative book cover illustration
I have admired Nan Lawson's illustrations & prints for a couple years now. They've just got so much character (excuse the pun). This seemed like the perfect excuse to indulge in some of my Etsy temptations.

2. Franny and Zooey alternative
book cover illustration
And then I thought, "Wouldn't these be better as a pair?" Two of my favorite books (granted I have quite a few of those). I like their stark contrast in atmosphere and personalities while sharing the same style and playful design sense.

I'm sure I'm still missing something absolutely essential for literary office happiness, but I don't know what it is yet. What else do I need here?

05 October 2012

Interrupting your regularly scheduled program

My new favorite discovery in the independent publishing world, hands down, is UPPERCASE magazine. Their tagline--"the magazine for the creative & curious"--grabbed me by the gut right away (that may not sound like a pleasant sensation, but it was). It is one of those objects that is so much more an idea (but still so tangible) that I don't know how else to describe it properly except to point you right back to their tagline. Today, I am excited and flattered and humbled and proud to be given the spotlight on the UPPERCASE magazine blog for their typewriter-themed Friday series, "Girl Friday." Read it!

02 October 2012

Printer's Devils, Apprentices, Journeymen

That's me in green at top right (c. 2008)
I have often wondered about what the appropriate title would be for someone like me, in regards to letterpress printing. To ever become a Master Printer (like my wonderful teacher, Mike Kaylor), you have to complete a full-on apprenticeship of about seven years under another Master Printer, and that's just the beginning. 

I completed the free workshops offered at my alma mater, Washington College, and continued working in the Print Shop just for fun my last year of undergrad. I even occasionally came back to work on projects of my own or to help with what ever Lit House Press printing projects I happened to walk in on (that sounds a bit more scandalous than it ever actually was). Then, I got my own press at home and have been operating that for a year now as Thread Lock Press (for which I've had two commissions thus far, and another in the works).

So, during my first real day at the new job, settling into my well-windowed office in The Rose O'Neill Literary House, I was looking through the files in the file cabinets, trying to make myself better acquainted with the lay of the paperwork. I stumbled upon a manila folder labeled "History." In this folder I found a packet of square photos of the first Print Shop move-in day, featuring dark-haired versions of professors and teachers whom I had only ever known with gray and silvered heads. Behind this group of pictures, I found an old, much-folded piece of paper laying out the hierarchy of the Literary House Press. Here it is in its entirety:

 The system of promotion for Washington College students who are interested in working on the O'Neill Literary House Press is taken from the ancient Printers Guild. Although in the printing profession it would often take as many as seven years to go from Printers Devil to Journeyman, good students of the press can earn their key to the press (by which it can be operated) in a year. Not that you'll be a great printer in that time, but at least you'll be a safe printer; and, with some patience on your part, a decent job printer. Our procedure is as follows:
1. Beginning students (Printers Devils) enroll in The Press Workshop taught by a Master Printer where they learn something about the history and craft of letterpress printing. Typically workshops start two weeks after the semester begins and last until two weeks before final week. Workshops meet twice a week for two hours in the evening. The workshop demands dependable attendance and requires patience with tedious tasks, but for interested students is it great fun.[sic]
2. Printers Devils become Apprentices when they successfully complete the Press Workshop. Apprentices are then expected to complete a second semester of job printing--assisting the Master Printer with such Writers Union projects as chapbooks, Broadsides, and posters. Normally, the Master Printer will assign one or two apprentices for each job, and the Apprentice will see the job through to completion. In general, Printers Devils are expected to complete their Apprenticeship in the semester following the Press Workshop.
3. On the recommendation of the Master Printer, Apprentices become Journeymen Printers, and as such have full rights and privileges and obligations pertaining to the Literary House press, including a key to press.[sic] Journeymen are expected to run specified jobs for the Writers Union and in doing so earn the right to run approved job work for their own pleasure or profit. Journeymen printers will be paid a modest wage for all their work. They are also expected to assist the Master Printer in training the Apprentices.
Such is the system of Printing and Press Workshops at the O'Neill Literary House at Washington College. Students who are interested--and they need not be writers or members of the Writers Union--should contact Kathy Wagner, Director of the Washington College Press at her office in the O'Neill Literary House." 
Cool, huh? So I think, by such standards, I can call myself a Journeyman. Makes me feel like I should dust off my passport and just go. Anywhere.

25 September 2012

The Girls Friday

Because packaging is the first impression, I spent my free time this week creating some attractive (and book-like) envelopes for my typewriter trading card sets. I wasn't sure what sort of packaging I wanted for them at first, so I did some looking around at different options. I settled on a template for an Artist Trading Card Envelope that I found on Mirkwood Designs (they have great templates for all sorts of paper-folding projects, including one for a Library Card Book Pocket). I had to adjust the measurements to fit my cards because I made them a little bit larger than the standard 2.5 x 3.5" trading cards.

I measured out the envelope template on a manila folder because it would give the envelope sturdiness, and then cut it out. Then, I glued the envelope to the back of some beautiful printed papers from Paper Mojo. After the envelope template was covered with the decorative paper, I folded the tabs down, creased them well with my bone folder, and glued them in place.

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940)
Then I had to pick out a sort of title for this trading card set. I decided on "The Girls Friday" after watching the 1940 Cary Grant film His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell as reporter ace Hildegard "Hildy" Johnson. To be truthful, I first got the idea after reading this blog post from Uppercase Magazine. But I didn't feel I'd be truly qualified to use the name unless I at least watched the movie first (which I ended up enjoying very much). It just felt perfect. I wanted something that evoked the idea of office girls, secretaries, etc. I took the fact of the main character's name being identical to the name I gave to my first typewriter as a sign that this was definitely the right title for my project.

18 September 2012

Collect 'em all

Limited-edition typewriter trading cards from Thread Lock Press! 

So far there are three different typewriter characters for this card series, and each has two color variations. And, yes these are all my own typewriters (and, yes, I really do call them by name). Each card is equipped with a photo of the typewriter, categorized "Stats" text typed on the same machine named on the card, and a vintage advertisement. So far, we have:

1. Hildegard

2. Hermione

3. Hannelore

This was a very fun project. Because of the research and tinkering I had to do, I feel like I know my machines so much better than I did before. One neat thing I noticed was how much the typeface varies from machine to machine. Did you see that too? These typewriters certainly have their own personalities.

I will debut these cards and sets at my type-in and letter-writing social on December 7 in Chestertown. After that, I plan to put them up in my Etsy shop.

11 September 2012

So long and thanks for all the fish

Soon, I leave the grueling 7-day work-week library-assistant-bakery-girl life behind me. On September 20, I will be the new Assistant Director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College. Working under and alongside Director (and poet) Jehanne Dubrow, I will be helping to plan and execute a series of literary events for each semester (including the summer), as well as keeping the house itself (which includes a fully-operational letterpress print shop) in shape. There will be writers' readings, conversations on craft, lectures on academic literary ventures. I can't wait. I will miss my library and bakery friends deeply, but I can't think of any place I'd rather work than the Lit House. I am still attempting to suspend my disbelief.

The photo above is the gift of congratulations I received from my dear friend (and fellow co-worker of 6+ years) Annie of Scribbling Glue, with whom I am planning an event called "Type-In Type-Out": Chestertown's first Type-In and Letter-Writing Social. She always gives the best gifts.