2 sisters 2 cities

February 24, 2010

Night School

Filed under: Letterpress, M's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 11:55 am

The other night,  I took a class at the BCAE to help learn Adobe Illustrator.  A couple of weeks ago, I had downloaded a trial run of the Adobe Creative Suite to create digital photopolymer plates to make letterpress prints.  After a few minutes of playing around with Illustrator, I quickly realized I had no idea of what I was doing.  While I pretty much know every Excel trick in the book after 8 years in Corporate Finance, I have never used any type of graphic design program.

After doing a few on-line searches, I realized the least expensive classroom option to learn Illustrator would be at the Boston Center for Adult Education.  In the past, Husband M and I have taken wine classes there.  I also took a beginning sewing class there as well two summers ago.  The facility is pretty close to my work so it’s really easy to take evening classes there.

The class turned out to be just what I needed.  The teacher, who I thought was really funny throughout the class, was really good at going over the basics of Illustrator.  Not surprisingly, she told us at the end of the class that she was a stand-up comedian when she wasn’t doing graphic design.  Her personality really kept the class interesting because three hours of software training can sometimes become boring quickly.  When I had initially been playing around with the software at home, there were a few things that had I had no idea what was going on…I was able to quickly learn what I had been doing wrong and found new tools to help create what I was hoping to.

Overall, I thought the class was definitely worth my time and I plan on utilizing my new skills over the next couple of weeks to design the letterpress plates.  It’s kind of funny how interesting it is to head back to a classroom setting to learn new things once you are no longer in school on a daily basis.  Over the next month, I’m signed up for classes about blogging,  kitchen knives skills, and  digital photography.  I’ll definitely keep you posted on how they go…

-m

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December 28, 2009

My new hobby- letterpress

Filed under: Crafting, M's post — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:38 pm

While I was planning my wedding a few years ago and picking out invitations, I became introduced to the concept of letterpress.  I quickly fell in love with it and have since done much research on this very old form of printing.  I read the on-line letterpress community Briar Press daily and have purchased several books on printing and typography from Amazon.  This past summer, I took a letterpress class through the Mass College of Art…the minute I passed my first notecard through the Vandercook press, I was hooked.

Shortly before returning to my parent’s home in upstate NY this past Thanksgiving, I was perusing the Briar Press classifieds and saw that there was a press for sale in my home town.  What luck!  I did some Google searches on the press and e-mailed a few individuals who owned a similar press and everyone had good words about this particular press.  It is called a Poco Proof Press No. 0 and was originally manufactured in Chicago in either the 1910s or 1920s.  The general feedback I received on the press was that it was a pretty rare press, a good beginner press, made a strong impression (onto the paper), and that it was generally lightweight (compared to other presses…more on that story later).   Most importantly, it is a small enough press that it will fit into my condo in Boston…I decided to go for it!

I contacted the seller and asked to set up a time to see the press.  My husband was away traveling at the time so I asked my mom if she would go with me to see the press and possibly pick it up if it looked good.  Off we went to the artist’s studio…

Upon arriving there, the man showed us into his studio that he was just moving into.  I was hoping he had a few other presses just to look at and show my mom, but he just had the Poco Proof Press that he was selling.  I gave the handle a few cranks and looked at a few other things, and decided to buy it!  It came with its original wooden shelving, but it comes right off for “easy” moving.  The owner’s son and another artist in the building helped move it to the car…despite the press being 210 pounds of cast-iron steel, this 14 year old boy and wirey artist made the move appear effortless.  Our only challenge was fitting in the press and the wooden case both in the car due to their awkward shapes.  Our two movers were in my car, bending at every angle, and somehow balancing this heavy press on their laps- it was quite a scene.  Finally, after finding a way to remove the divider in the back, we were able to get both pieces in.  I was now a proud owner of a poco proof press!

-M

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