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Re: Letterpress

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  • brettrcrockett
    Gerald, Barb, Austin, Peter, et al- This thread had been one of the best discussions of letterpress I ve ever read. I thought it important to point out that
    Message 1 of 51 , Feb 8, 2012
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      Gerald, Barb, Austin, Peter, et al-

      This thread had been one of the best discussions of letterpress I've ever read. I thought it important to point out that the issues and feelings, frustration and situation you see now don't apply solely to letterpress—it's a common experience in any artistic area, and probably any industry at all.

      Reminds me of the many years I was a disc jockey, and proud to call myself one. With the advent of MP3s, iPods and personal computers (not to mention the constant onslaught of other cheap equipment any professional wouldn't consider appropriate), came a wave of people who thought they could DJ their own events with their cracker jack equipment and MP3 libraries stolen off Napster. People began to ask why they needed a DJ at all, to sneer at the prices we were asking, and generally look down on the profession as a whole. Even more irritating to the rest of us were the kids with low-quality digital music libraries and home stereo equipment had the gall to call themselves DJs.

      It was a frustrating time in the industry, and probably still is for many. In the end though, I realized that I didn't want the kind of clients who wanted that sort of DJ. We continued to conduct ourselves like professionals with the experience, and yes, even a little skill that set us apart from the others. I eventually learned that the pack of amateurs we were up in arms over weren't our competitors at all.

      Back to the topic at hand-

      To this day, my favorite smell in the wold is the smell of my dad coming home—he smelled like the print shop, and the print shop smelled like my dad. I can't separate the two. I grew up watching him thumb through brochures, books, and other printed material at home or on a vacation and commenting on the quality of the printing (or lack thereof). At a young age, I learned to tell the difference on my own. Now my wife has learned, and hopefully someday my kids will too.

      Just because some can't tell the difference between good or poor printing, or typography, or wine or music—that won't diminish the joy I feel when I see, hear, taste, or practice it.

      What I'm thankful for is that I know how to enjoy it—in large part, because my father or someone like you taught me how to enjoy it—whether on this discussion board, on Briar Press, or in person.

      I hope that you'll all be proud of your craft (or art or metier or skill or love or whatever you want to call it), and that you'll realize you are recognized and respected for it. But even if you weren't—whether because people didn't understand or appreciate it—I'd hope that you'd still do it because you want to preserve that piece of yourself and those who came before you.

      Thanks again for the great discussion.

      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Gerald Lange" <Bieler@...> wrote:
      > Peter
      > I keep hearing this sentiment over and over again:
      > "Nonetheless, the unyielding nature of steel and iron will eventually raise questions in those minds about the origins and best practices of the art."
      > That ain't happening brother. Just the opposite, hatred for anyone who even attempts to discuss "best practices." Have you been over to Briar Press Discussions lately?
      > Gerald
      > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
      > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Peter Fraterdeus <peterf@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Bravo.
      > >
      > > Thanks for the good thoughts and observations.
      > >
      > > It's true that the press has a history and a craft which has largely slipped under (or is it arched over) the nano-second awareness of contemporary culture, including those young folks who see letterpress as the natural extension of rubberstamping ;-) (Which, in a way, it is!)
      > >
      > > Nonetheless, the unyielding nature of steel and iron will eventually raise questions in those minds about the origins and best practices of the art.
      > >
      > > At least there's some love for the physical material involved...
      > > (iPad apps notwithstanding ;-)
      > >
      > > PF
      > >
      > > Peter Fraterdeus
      > > Exquisite letterpress takes time™
      > > http://slowprint.com/
      > > tweet: @slowprint
      > >
      > > IdeasWords : Idea Swords
      > > Communication Strategy
      > > Semiotx.com @ideaswords
      > >
      > >
      > > On 6 Feb 2012, at 7:29 PM, Austin Jones wrote:
      > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Gerald and Barbara
      > > >
      > > > I can hear you. I also share your concern. I would like to suggest that we need to consider history. In 1776 John Dunlap printed approx 120 copies of the Declaration of Independence for the expressed purpose of posting on the broadside of buildings up and down the east coast. Today there are 20 of those broadsides in existence. They are highly prized to the point that the last one to come up for auction brought over 7 million dollars.
      > > >
      > > > I do not think we can control how history will view our efforts. We do - knowing the effort will make its own place in history. John Dunlap had no thought as to how history would view the efforts of his shop on the night of July 4, 1776. He was just doing a job. He was working to get the word out to the masses. Nothing more, nothing less.
      > > >
      > > > I see worrying about how our efforts will survive makes about as much sense as trying to write a will telling how the benefactor is to use the proceeds.
      > > >
      > > > Just print and let the work stand on its own merits.
      > > >
      > > > tks
      > > >
      > > > Austin Jones
      > > > austin@
      > >
    • 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
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        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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