Printing Finished and Binding Begun

I’ll have more to say about this soon, of course, but I finished printing the book’s last piece—the cover, naturally—on Wednesday. Everything is in the hands of the bookbinder, and she’s started to work.

Once the letterpress book starts shipping to backers, I’ll talk about next steps: the ebook release, an offset edition, and some elements of the letterpress book that will be available separately, since I wound up with a bit more than I needed to fulfill the numbered edition. (No other copies will be numbered, but I will have some artist’s proofs.)

This week was also busy because the School of Visual Concepts screened the movie Pressing On, an emotionally fulfilling and deep film about the end of an era of letterpress paired with handing off the torch, as much as feasible. I moderated a panel with four of our local letterpress community of note, but about half the audience could also have been on the panel—we have a great bunch of people here.

(We had a lot of positive feelings about the movie. One thing noted, however: the film was shot almost entirely in the Midwest, and featured a number of typecasters, people who either ran or still run hot-metal typesetting systems. This is a specialty of letterpress, and it’s necessary to keep it going, because it’s the only way that new metal type can be produced. However, most letterpress work doesn’t involve casting type—most of us are working with existing foundry type and cast type, wood type, wood and linoleum and other engraving, photopolymer, and other kinds of relief material. 2D and 3D printing also offer amazing potential. So the film seems a little sadder than the overall reality of the state of letterpress, because it’s true that knowledge and equipment continues to be lost in the ever-dwindling art of making fresh type. When 3D metal printing catches up in a few years, we should be able to print new type and new plates! I may be optimistic about how soon.)

Then on Saturday, SVC threw its annual Wayzgoose, traditionally a celebration when apprenticeship ends for one group and a big feast happens. For us, it was an open house in the letterpress studio, an exchange of letterpress goods (I bought some matrices for Linotype and Ludlow casters just to have some!), and a marketplace. I had a table—first time I’ve ever done that—and sold a modest amount of stuff. But my intent was to chat with people about my project and about what they’re working on.

I’ve just put up a lanyard I designed for type geeks that I had made for the Wayzgoose, and I’ll have some other items for sale in the near future, too.

My type-geek lanyard with rulers and gauges.

My type-geek lanyard with rulers and gauges.

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I've set up this hidden blog on my site to keep you up to date on Hands On: the Original Digital as the project proceeds. I'll post updates, photos, and videos here for backers; some of this material will appear elsewhere in different form, but you'll get the full inside skinny.

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