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Re: Letterpress

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  • Barbara Hauser
    Cheer up, Gerald. I just finished reading the article, and while I appreciate the work of academicians, I doubt that their pronouncements and characterizations
    Message 1 of 51 , Feb 6, 2012
      Cheer up, Gerald. I just finished reading the article, and while I appreciate the work of academicians, I doubt that their pronouncements and characterizations have anything to do with something a printer might be working on. It even bothers me that any book printed letterpress these days, particularly a book with illustrations, is called an "artists' book" and is thus subject to such exegesis. Can we not simply print books? And if we see ourselves as simply printing books, then isn't craft a given -- something we don't dwell on, as we don't dwell on breathing? Certainly we seek out teachers, we study the work of our forebears, we consult references -- but these activities are driven by craft, not toward it.

      Letterpress is just a technique -- a procedure using specific tools and materials -- and as such you should not be sad that while some people use it to punch out cheesy cards and grunge posters, others produce books that are attentive to all the things you care about. There's a place for both in this world, and there has always been more demand for the former than the latter. This should not cause us to lament or to hesitate in the least in continuing on with projects that satisfy our hands, hearts, and minds. Honestly, it does not bother me one whit to think that my letterpress œuvre will end up in some descendant's trash bin. It's up to the pieces to save themselves.



      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Gerald Lange" <Bieler@...> wrote:
      > I had reason to refer a forum correspondent to an article I wrote that was published a decade ago regarding a historical reference to a typeface. It occurred to me as I did so that no one else would really care. I have felt that way for quite some time; ever since, as someone once posted on another forum, "Boxcar invented letterpress" (she meant that literally, not tongue in cheek).
      > Twenty-first century letterpress is decidedly atypographic and extraordinarily populist and anti-hierachical. Its history is of little concern to its myriad practitioners. Which is why when I read, and reread, and reread Betty Bright's article, "History as Fable, Helix, and Aperture," in the recent issue of Printing History, I was even more dismayed, and quite perplexed. There is some kind of attempt to champion "letterpress" at play here, I think, but this is something no historian or critical writer on the artists' book would have done in the later years of the twentieth century, when "kraft," and specifically letterpress, which supposedly entailed craft, was the perceived enemy (e.g., remember JAB?).
      > Unfortunately, in her attempt to work letterpress (and associated craft or not) into that structure she doesn't really seem to grasp that the very popular revival of letterpress in the last decade (and likely why she embraces the term) has nothing whatsoever to do with the book arts. I eventually came to the realization that the article was an epitaph.
      > Gerald
      > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
    • Silber MaiKätzchen
      To tell the truth, I really enjoy the planning, prepress, and bindery of complex jobs more than the presswork. Right now I have a case bound, (Smythe Sewen,)
      Message 51 of 51 , Feb 12, 2012
        To tell the truth, I really enjoy the planning, prepress,
        and bindery of complex jobs more than the presswork.
        Right now I have a case bound, (Smythe Sewen,)
        project in house that includes eleven gatfold illustrations,
        one six pages long. After a lot of careful planning
        I am looking for fun on the folder.
        Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Aetas:
        Carpe diem!
        quam minimum credula postero!

        Odes Book I

        From: Austin Jones <austin@...>
        To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, February 12, 2012 4:39:39 AM
        Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress

        With regard to communities - Lets add a couple more distinctions. There are great technicians and there are great designers. I once had an art teacher who was a great technician on the litho stone. she could print from a stone with a technique like no other, but couldn't create a design if her life depended on it. I know others who can design some very interesting layouts, but their ability to execute left lots to be desired. I also know a printer who once told me he loved to get the first two or three prints off the press then it was all work and boring from that point on.
        So, it is all in the details. I recall from a workshop I attended several years ago on the jurying process. The issues raised were design, function, and execution. Every piece can be looked at with these elements in mind. How well is the piece designed; How well does it do its job; and how well was the design executed.
        While we may choose to see a work as a whole, I think it is more fair and complete to look at the various elements.  This way we are likely to see the work for its true value.
        Just one more thought on how we can choose to see a printed item.

        Austin Jones
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:50 AM
        Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress


        Aye, and there’s two communities, the makers and the buyers. To a large extent the makers can take care of themselves so far as process goes – that is if they have enough wit to find and open a few books, and maybe visit a few existing makers. It’s the buyers I think we need to be more concerned about, thus the value of the bibliophile clubs, the FPBA, the book Fairs, the newspaper/magazine/journal articles, and of course our own well printed ephemera. Personally I still think there would be a great value in forming, very specifically,  a society of letterpress book makers, whose members would be committed to making good publicity for the process, to explain it to potential new buyers, but I think I’m in a minority of one, at least as far as any response indicates. The FPBA has gone in a quite different direction, and as good as it is, it’s too inward looking for any growth in educated patrons of the book makers. So it’s head down and into the wind.

        Hey ho!

        Graham Moss
        Incline Press
        36 Bow Street
        Oldham OL1 1SJ  England



        I'd agree with this, isn't "push back against ignorance" what education is all about? or should be? This forum (and others like it) wouldn't exist if we all just quietly ignored the community.


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