13 Jun
2012
Posted in: Craft
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Hard Pressed

Santa Claus! This plate was probably 50+ years old.

If someone asks what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a photographer and designer. This is typically met with some interest and excitement. I admit it – it does sound exciting! But if someone were to ask what I day doing my job looked like, I would explain that it’s maybe 15% actually taking photographs or designing, and the rest of the time is spent at my desk. Scheduling meetings, sending e-mails, invoicing, editing, layout out pages, more editing, taxes, etc.

While I do really enjoy my work, I miss having any sort of physical hands-on aspect. Yes, with photography and design there are tangible products at the end of the process, but I don’t actually bind the books or print the photo or crank out the brochures. I just send in an electronic file and a few days later these things appear at my doorstep. Wizardry.

I’ve long been interested in the printing process, and with letterpress in particular. The lush, thick paper, the tactile feel of the ink pressed in, the vivid colors, the imperfections that accompany such am imprecise method. Through a random series of events nearly two years ago, I came into contact with Austin Jones, who has so graciously been apprenticing me at Heritage Farm Museum & Village in Huntington.

This one made me laugh.

In my spare time (ha!) I’ve designed a couple note cards, with plans to develop more. But the best part is that when I step into the museum (or even when I get out the small press Mr. Jones let me borrow for use at home), it’s like time stands still. I love the smell of the ink, the heaviness of the metal, the varying shades of ink-stained and worn wood. I love how every step of the process is under my control and at the end, I have something useful, tangible, beautiful.

The images in this post are some blocks I found while rummaging through a box of plates at the museum. Some are from my hometown, and some just made me laugh.

I have a few hobbies (as this site demonstrates) but I don’t think I’ve yet mentioned this one. I feel like I’ve been holding out on you

 

Border material – too cute.

 

A dept. store in my hometown. Still in business. Still using this logo. My brother bought a suit there a couple weeks ago.

 

Penny’s Drive In – now closed, but the location of my parent’s first date. Without with I would not be here.

So, what do you think?