Re: [PPLetterpress] caution: RANT (was The End of Heavy Metal Madness)
- I reread this and came away a second time with an unpleasant feeling about
Gabel's experience and about him, based on his comments and from the fact of no
magazines appearing on the Linotype or any effort to go beyond the one poster,
or making any effort towards his idea at all. The spark was never there, and he
dwelled more on the fate of his pets than he did on his choice of a new
hobby/venture. I spent part of today with a printer who shared the same
excitement that I did as we poked through numerous piles and cases and boxes of
letterpress junk--the discovery of a pinmark from a foundry in Leipseig Germany
was a signal event. I doubt that Gabel ever could achieve that level of
excitement about his collection regardless of investment, expected income, or
anything else--it just wasn't there to start with, and what ever motivated him
to buy all that stuff is perplexing--and maybe mentioned in the earlier
Quoting Gerald Lange <bieler@...>:
> I can appreciate your rant. However, I would caution anyone from jumping
> into the fray. It is extremely difficult to make a living from
> letterpress activities, especially if you are considering bookwork. I
> know any cautions I put before you won't stop you, and if you are
> determined, they should not.
> Some thoughts though in this regard: You have to want and need to do it,
> you have to have survival skills (think you already have those,
> voluntary poverty has its experiential benefits), you have to embrace
> the struggle as despairing as it can get, you have to have something to
> offer (skills/services/products) that folks will want/need (yeah,
> amazingly, you do). You need to be very open and aware, and willing to
> shift direction if need be. Everything else is luck and circumstance
> (which, fortunately or unfortunately, counts the most). I was going to
> say that outside money doesn't hurt, but I don't think that to be the
> case. The money thing may actually be the one element that prevents most
> folks from achieving their dream. The very vivid fear of no security.
> William Faulkner wrote that the artist need be willing to kill his own
> grandmother to create something as significant as Sir Thomas Browne's
> Urn Burial. Something to remember as you go down that road. You will
> forever not be a "normal person."
> All the best
> alex brooks wrote:
> >Apologies for bringing up this thread again, but i recently went
> >through a lot of unread posts, getting more and more frustrated as i
> >went. Mr. Gable's refrain: with this important thing going on in my
> >life, "it was difficult to retreat to the garage and tinker with a
> >bunch of old type." Of course this guy failed. What did he expect?
> >ok everyone. I'm going to buy an old sailboat, wooden, and I'm going to
> >sail it around the world (and somehow make a little money with it as i
> >go along). I think it will be relaxing and old-timey. I don't know how
> >to sail, navigate, dock, rig a sailboat, splice a line, anchor, weather
> >a storm, repair a line, repair a leak, repair a sail, raise a sail, or
> >use an outboard motor. I don't know any of the points of sail, have
> >never used a naval radio or radar, and figure i can go without a life
> >vest for the first few months or so. I don't know how to cook or make
> >tea. I would be interested in buying maps if anyone has them. Anyone
> >have any advice?
> >Would you be surprised if I quit before leaving dock?
> >A letterpress is good because it allows you to make things. If you need
> >to make things with your hands, letterpress might be for you. If you
> >don't need to make things yourself, find something else to do because,
> >surprise, IT'S DIFFICULT. It's also relaxing and joyful and rewarding.
> >But it's not a good way to make money. I like setting type, printing
> >books, binding, printing. I was an unpaid apprentice for five years
> >before i decided to start my own press. For the past two years I've
> >worked 3 or 4 nights a week as a waiter as I accumulated experience and
> >clients, printing during the day and waiting tables at night. Now i'm
> >on the verge of quitting this and running my business full time.
> >Recently Gerald wrote:
> > "On the other hand I know what it costs to be a leaf on the tree. I'd
> > say, with studio rental, capital outlay, ongoing investment, etc., one
> > needs to generate about $100,000 minimum gross per year to live like a
> > relatively normal person in this country, dependent upon where you
> > live. Assuming of course there is no other financing."
> >The way I figure my costs, I need minumum $10,000 a year. I accomplish
> >this by 1) buying a house(lower rent) 2)giving over 75% of my living
> >space to the press 3) owning a 14 year old car and using a bike most of
> >the time anyway, and 4) not buying anything ever. (i guess i'm not a
> >relatively normal person). Sure I have to give up a lot, but i'm doing
> >what I love.
> >It's a privilege and joy to tinker with that old type. It's not
> >frivolous, as Mr. Gable implies. It's not an escape, as he implies.
> >Letterpress is a modern means to a modern goal - to make something with
> >the mark of the human hand. It's not special because it's old, it's
> >special because a human hand made it. I do it because it is good to use
> >my hands and my brain. And after seven years i still make really stupid
> >mistakes and have an avalanche more to learn.
> >"I had hoped this would be a new path -- a simplifying of life and a
> >return to the values of publishing that got me interested in the first
> >place. I thought the romance of the past combined with my appreciation
> >for modern tools would put my life's work in perspective. Or that I
> >would at least be able to move from the ranks of "technology hack" to
> >This may be obvious, but.... A press is not a tool for finding new
> >paths or perspective or simplifying your life; it's a tool to put ink
> >onto paper.
> >Please, if you want to print cards for fun or to make a lot of money,
> >by all means go for it. But don't complain and act like it's the
> >press's fault when it won't make things for you. And for the love of
> >God, the first step is not buying a press, much less an entire
> >printshop! From the look of it, this guy had a C&P, a linotype, and
> >some other complicated press (kelly?), along with lots of wood & metal
> >type. The only thing he ever printed was a one-color poster, using
> >mostly wooden type, and printed on a hand operated vandercook table-top
> >proof press. Instead of buying a complete printshop he knew nothing
> >about, he could have bought the same proof press for $50, along with a
> >drawer of wooden type, and printed the same poster on his kitchen
> >table, then he could have decided that letterpress was too much work,
> >even if it was cool, and get rid of everything without even having to
> >use a forklift (I know, that takes all the fun out of it)...
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