Monday, 4 August 2014

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Missing U

Following on from the January 18th post: With an Illustrator eps file of the U, I had the letter (314 mm tall) outline engraved in lino by laser, & cut away the excess by hand. It was very satisfying to have the precise line of the engraved line to cut up to. This lino-cut U will stand out as being very smooth in contrast to the wood grain textures of the other wooden letters in this font.
I next got 22mm deep off-cuts of hard wood (afromosia & sapele) from a joinery workshop and booked a session with the UWE CNC (computer numerical control) router. This used the same illustrator file as the laser machine.
We used a 4mm routing cutter. This size was determined by the width of the gap between the 2 serifs. The cut depth was set at 5mm, and this was done in 3 steps: 2 + 2 + 1mm to avoid stress on the cutter & possible over-heating. The wood was fixed on the cutting bed in a block of MDF. At the first attempt, the wood moved in the block, so the first and second cuttings became mis-aligned.
At the second attempt (using the other side) the wood was fixed much more tightly in a block of MDF. It took about 45 minutes to cut.
There are no sharp corners in the U, so no finishing issues. I want to cut an A next, so the interior pointed apex will have to be cut by hand.
I made a first (OK) print of the U without having varnished the print surface with shellac, but I plan to shellac finish all the other letters.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Damaged fruit salvaged

Following on from the previous post: The digital print & letterpress combination initially went wrong because having worked out how to centre the digital printed orange, I left far too much newsprint packing under the printing paper, so the rollers on the Vandercook jammed half-way through printing. In pulling the paper back out, the top print surface of the orange was scuffed & marked. Playing around with a lino-cut type-high lower case 'a', I overprinted on the orange to hide the scuffs.
I finished by printing a large red 'o' (for orange) over the whole lot.

I like the fact that the wooden type, having been pushed too tightly into the paper to print, has made an embossing effect high-lighted by the overprinting.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Fruit Number 1

Triggered by finding this block (roughly 3cm square) in the archives of a printing business that thrived in Byker, I remembered the coloured tissue paper that fruit used to be wrapped in.

I had also just visited the Matisse paper-cuts exhibition, Drawing with Scissors at Stroud Museum, where I saw the lithographic print of his 1953 Nu aux Oranges.

This gave me the idea to make a letterpress fruit salad, starting with this reference to Jeanette Winterson's 1985 book.

The circle between the type is a digital print on coated archival 300gsm photographic paper which takes up the letterpress ink really well. The intention was that the circle sit centred with the type, but having messed up on the first attempt, I decided to make a print with the circle off-centre. This gave the happy accident of the top of the t just touching the bottom of the fruit & the dot on the i making the stalk mark. More fruit to come...

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Printing Colour

The project is to print & play with the word "colour" using large wooden type. The largest letters (C & U) are about 38 cm tall. I don't have complete alphabets.

Once I've decided which size to use, I will draw the missing letters at the required size in Illustrator for use with a laser-cutter.
Wooden type was traditionally made from end-grain maple. I will need to decide whether to use wood (other than maple), MDF, lino or another material.
For printing, the beds of the 2 Vandercook proofing presses at UWE are too small to print the whole word. I can get 3 letters at a time on a Colombian press bed, or I could hand-burnish the letters.
I can split the word into 2 lines:
I want to print on the same large sheet of paper, so need to investigate the largest paper sizes, or experiment with joining sheets together by sewing or folding (rather than just sticking).