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Re: [PPLetterpress] Letterpress

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  • Cory Rockliff
    The passage would appear to have been adapted from an essay entitled The value of precedent in printing, by Lindsay Swift:
    Message 1 of 51 , Feb 9, 2012
      The passage would appear to have been adapted from an essay entitled 'The value of precedent in printing,' by Lindsay Swift: http://books.google.com/books?id=Rv0gAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA32

      On Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 1:50 PM, typetom@... wrote:


      Thanks Graham Moss and John Henry for more measured comments.
      Despair over the lack of craft and knowledge is not new in printing history. Consider the following passage from the 1922 Monotype Specimen Book of Type Faces (used to display various sizes of a text face - at the height of an era of fine typography). I underlined a couple of spots. Printers have often lamented the ignorance of the young. I don't know who wrote this passage but his finger-wagging is kin to Gerald's contemporary epitaph for the book arts.
      The best kind of originality is that which comes after a

      sound apprenticeship; that which shall prove itself to be

      the blending of a firm conception of useful precedent and

      the progressive tendencies of an able mind. For, let a man

      be as able and original as he may, he cannot afford to discard

      knowledge of what has gone before or what is now

      going on in his own trade and profession. If the printers

      of today do not wish to be esteemed arrogant when they

      term this calling of theirs an art, they must be willing, and

      show that they are willing, to subject it to such laws as

      have made its sister arts so free. All those concerned in

      what are accepted as the fine arts, the learned sciences and

      professions surround themselves with the history, literature,

      and concrete examples of work with which they are particularly

      engaged. Yet it is only in very rare instances that

      such an atmosphere, with its material appurtenances, is to

      be found in the printing office. Art does not flourish in

      hidden places, nor under restraint, nor in ignorance of what

      talent and genius have accomplished and are accomplishing

      throughout the world. For to follow precedent wisely does

      not mean to imitate slavishly one great exemplar, but to

      study all the masters faithfully, letting their great achievements

      sink slowly into the mind in order that we may patiently

      derive from the richness of our acquired knowledge

      and organized system an attitude of our own. The sprightly

      minded young man, who with his first business breath projects

      the new and startling, inevitably becomes tiresome,

      and is driven to an early disappearance; while the slower

      and more solidly endowed student will at least spend as much

      of his time in avoiding mistakes as in evolving brilliant schemes . . .

    • 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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