Thursday, February 5, 2009

Letterpress Class at the Armory

So I started taking a Letterpress class at the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts a few weeks ago. It's a great non-profit that has all kinds of art classes for kids, teenagers, families and adults. My teacher Denise, is like a Letterpress god. She started apprenticing in high school and now teaches in addition to having her own company. She is extremely knowledgable and patient, a good person to learn from. I have made a set of stationary and envelopes and hope to make another set this coming weekend.

The front of the building located on Raymond Avenue.

The building itself has an art-deco feel which I really like.

There are several galleries in addition to the classrooms in the building.

The main classroom.

These type drawers are no joke! Some of them weigh hundreds of pounds.

Dingbats. No really, they're called dingbats.

We have a good selection of type, all of which has been donated over the years.

The Vandercook, a rotary machine we use. Vandercook is considered one of the best machines to work on.

The CPM, our other main machine and the only one I've printed on thus far. The type case to the right of it was donated by a Japanese American newspaper that had to hid their machinery in World War II to keep from having it sent to the scrap yard for supplies.
Overall, I am really enjoying this class and my teacher has told me I am very good at it. I never knew why Letterpress was so damn expensive and now I do! For one, they do not make machinery or type any more so everything is vintage, difficult to find and expensive. The last machines were made in the 1970's and most of them were scrapped for their metal. Almost everything we have today was from a former newspaper as it was the original form of printing. And finally, everything is meticulously measured and takes a lot of time to produce. Every letter has to be mathematically spaced and each line of type must be set up and printed individually. It is a lost art form but I am hoping that won't always be the case. I'll post some of the final products later on down the line.

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