Wood block letterpress at ECA

I told you about learning letterpress the other day - well, that was the metal letters. We also learned how to use the wood block letters, which are like working with marvelous antiques. Truly, many of them are hundreds of years old. Printing them reveals wood grains, nicks and scratches. They are organic and beautiful! They're also a little easier than the metal letters. Steve quickly put together some wooden letters directly onto the Eagle press.
The plate was metal, so he used magnets to hold the letters in place.
      Just like in the relief printing I did for my linocut project, we inked the blocks, placed paper on top, pulled the arm of the ancient press, and came up with this.
     But how could I apply this to my work?
     One of the projects I assigned myself was to create handmade labels for all my almanac books and boxes, using a different method for every one. So, the next day, I went back down to the print lab and created the label for my Almanac box.
      First I selected the gorgeous wood block letters (there were no lower case e's), then placed them on the press the way Steve had. Aren't they gorgeous?
I inked the letters, put paper on top, pulled the printer arm and...
     Then I did it again onto my caramel paper, which has become a color theme for these books. The paper was thicker, so I had to use a piece of felt to increase the tension. It turned out great.
     I can't show you all the labels yet, because there was one more I had to do... next is collograph!


Robyn Hood Black said...

I want to come live with you for a while and learn/play in this shop - LOVE what you're learning & making!!! (Miss you!)

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Robyn - Truly! This was SO your thing!!! Hugs, e

Unknown said...

In this age of high tech, it is wonderful that letterpress still has a calling. I've seen a few notices of letter press shops; one in Iowa, another is Bayside WI.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Yes, it's become an art done by dedicated craftsmen. Of course, some of those letters have gotten quite worn down over the years - you have to put a little paper behind them to bump them up high enough! :)