Monday, December 1, 2014

Aboard the Letterpress Experience

To print is, in the most basic concept, to make our random thoughts become visible to others, and our ideas be preserved on a piece of something for an extended period of time. And what a myriad ways to do so. Since dawn of men, thoughts have been represented on every available surface, stone walls, clay tablets, textiles and garments, papers. History of printing, in fact, has been tied up with history of paper making for the last thousand years, and the development of printing presses has being part of the evolution of humanity for the last six centuries.

In modern times printing is a highly specialized science and there are plenty of digital ways to produce highly refined and precise pieces of printed material. Highly automated and every part of the process governed by computers, these systems no longer promote the friendly relationship between an artist and his prints, where personal touch was a signature on the final printed pieces in the past.

However, and probably just because of all that automation, there’s being a recent reborn of antique processes, and not just with elders and outdated craftsmen, young generations are avidly looking for learning these techniques and put hands to work, brains to process, senses to perceive and get in touch with dust and ink stains, putting away, even for a while, the world of electronic keypads. And it’s right here where movements like the Englewood Letterpress Depot are attaining great importance in our communities.

The Depot is a living museum of letterpress printing, typography, design, poetry and art; a working vintage letterpress printshop with space for exhibits, demonstrations, workshops, events and meetings. Located in Englewood, Colorado, in the Denver metropolitan area, it is housed in an original mission style railroad depot built in 1915 as the stop for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Designed by the Santa Fe Railways Company, the building was in use until the late 1970's and then moved, from it's original location at Hampden and Santa Fe to South Galapago and Dartmouth in 1994.

The Depot. Tintype by German Murillo ©2014
Just a few of these beautiful, filled with history buildings are still standing, after serving as passengers, freight, and other commodities stations along the railroad lines between the late 1800's and most of the twentieth century. Now, a handful of guys and gals got together to come aboard the first Depot Traveling Letterpress Workshop experience, a journey dedicated to explore the science of printing thoughts on paper using several kinds of letterpresses and movable types.

Aboard this loco-motive (crazy-motif in old latin) came Victoria Adams-Kotsch, Megan Duffy, Cristy Fernandez, Emily Lennon, German Murillo, Bradley Wajcman and Jen Wisler, along with Tom Parson, Ray Tomasso, David Ashley and Peter Bergman as conductors who, as a creative collective, worked together in the creation of a series of printed pieces evolving a Pro-Con concept. They designed several thoughts to be printed on papers; went through hundreds of type faces, managed different styles of type drawers, organized lines of text using composing sticks, set out pages on galleys, did hand set lockups with wood and metal type, mixed many ink colors, made tests on proof presses, and printed on Vandercook, Chandler & Price, and some other letterpresses.

The result of this four months, four sessions journey was a multi page portfolio, assembled on folders printed in metallic grey, and enclosing almost 20 printed multi sized pieces.

The Blue-Blast concept:
As inseparable as Pro & Con, opposites can’t exist without each other. As different as they are, day and night complement each other to the point where they coexist, covering each one a portion of the globe, and even getting melded every time that one transforms into the other. Blue and Blast are opposites at first sight, but emotions generated in blue are usually more powerful than the most powerful blast. In the same way, it is not rare to have a blast just in the blue. Euphoria and melancholia, rolling together and complementing each other. Each one wearing its own colors and playing its own music. It’s up to us to balance them, to live with them to harmonize them, and to be passionate for them.

Half size and Full size spreads expanding the Blue-Blast concept. The top one is perforated in the middle axis, the second one -at center- is perforated and threaded, as expressing individuality and conjunction.
Bottom: sewed spreads -left- and photopolymer plate used to print some of the pieces.  

For info about the Englewood Depot click here.
These are News from the Antique Photography Studio.

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