Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cards: Behind The Scenes

Hey! Did you find this site because you just happened to get a really cool handmade Christmas card this year? If so, you might be wondering how that thing was made. You might be wondering, what exactly is a letterpress, and why would you not just use a computer? Wouldn't that be way easier?

First I chose the wood type and arranged it in the tray (backwards of course), using bits of metal spacing to create a nice even layout. Next, I mixed up some red ink and used a small brayer to apply the ink to the type lock-up. The type is packed tightly and secured with magnets.

Then I put the paper in place and ran it through the press. Most of these cards went through the press 3 times. If you happened to get the "Christmas time in the city" card, it went through the press twice. That one was made from a linocut I did that took about 4 days to cut out with carving tools (see below). And that one had a line of hand set metal type, which accounted for the second run through on the press. 

And yes, it would have been way easier to make a Christmas card on the computer. Too easy, in fact. But there's just something inexplicably cool about handmade items, something that didn't take an hour to make, but rather was created by a long process. A long process involving sharp tools and really cool old machines. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Good Design: Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light is one poster in a series of seven. The series acts as advertisement for Gruppo Cordenons Paper, an Italian paper manufacturer. Since the client is selling specialty paper, I feel this design was an excellent choice to show off the product. It was put to use in the best way possible, with prints of beautifully engraved hand lettering.

The text on the posters comes from the first chapter of Genesis, which is all about the creation, therefore suggesting the infinite possibilities to create using this product. This particular print is on Moondream, a paper that becomes transparent when it is heat stamped. The type is custom hand lettering, combined with the typefaces Escorial and Brothers. Of course I love all types of hand lettering, and I also really enjoyed seeing it in its engraved form and pressed into quality paper.

Kevin Cantrell, art director at Hint Creative, was the designer behind this poster series. In an interview with Communication Arts from December 3, he discussed this project explaining his inspiration, “I have a love for the Bible, particularly the language of the King James Version.”  He said he liked that this project allowed him to create something with meaning and value, and along the way he “learned that if you follow your passions, they light the way through doubt and uncertainty.” The posters were produced with the help of Gottschall Engraving. You can even buy the metal die plate for $1200.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shop Updates

Look at all the new and exciting stuff now available for purchase in the Art House Press store! Sketchbooks! Small prints! Large prints! Oh yeah and finally the Christmas cards are listed too. Plus more stuff is coming soon, because we're just that awesome.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In The Works

It's already November? So many exciting projects are in progress right now! I can't wait to update you guys on what I've been working on, so check back soon kids.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yes, More Sketchbooks

Yesterday I stopped by Bluebird to pick up my payment from some of my books that have already sold and I took these new books to put out for sale. I have been surprised and overjoyed to find out that people are willing to give me money for these things.
And here is a little peek inside the books I make for my own personal use. I hope this might inspire or give ideas to those of you who maybe don’t sketch or don't consider yourselves artists.

 Below are some of my favorite covers. I hope anyone who has bought one of my books will feel free to customize and make it your own. And I would love to see the awesome stuff you put in it too, so email me photos or links, leave comments, or tweets, or send carrier pigeons, and whatever else you can think of



Friday, October 25, 2013

Art House Press + Bluebird Arthouse

For those of you who didn’t know, I have been selling my small handmade books at Bluebird ArtHouse here in Wichita. Since starting our little shop on storenvy we have received a lot of likes, gained a few followers, but have sold absolutely nothing. Thanks to one of our good friends who works at Bluebird, we found out that the awesome people of Bluebird Arthouse were interested in my books so I took all of them to the store. That was two months ago and by now most all of those books have sold.
Since then I’ve made a few more, so those of you not in the area can still purchase a book from our storenvy site.  And if you are in the area, you should definitely visit Bluebird to buy supplies, to support local artists, to support small businesses, and to pet the animals.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Show Updates

I found out that two prints that I had submitted for a letterpress show in Alabama were accepted for the show. This is the first juried show I have entered and it’s kind of like my first real art show since so far I’ve only been in a couple of student shows, and even those were a long time ago. The .918 Letterpress Ephemera Show is now on view at Samford Art Gallery in Birmingham. The opening reception was last Friday, but the show will be up through November 29. Click here for gallery info and hours

 .918 is a reference to the exact height (in inches) a piece of type must be in order to print correctly, this is called type high. I’m somewhat ashamed that I didn’t know that already, I’ve used the term “type high” plenty of times and always thought it was about an inch. 
My professor/boss/letterpress mentor also had 3 of his prints in the show and he received an honorable mention for one of them. The people at Samford sent this letterpress show poster (left) to everyone who had work accepted for display.

You can see all the work in the catalog here

A few weeks ago I spent all of a Friday in the design studio photographing prints for another letterpress show, which I helped organize and name, Printeraction. Last week the prints made it to Australia where the show will be set up. Hopefully once it is done in Australia and our prints come back, we can send the show to other places, or maybe even have a show here, too. I have four prints in the show and many of the other prints were made by my friends and classmates as the show is made up of student work from the past few years.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Let's Catch Up: Christmas Cards and Workspace

Lately it's been tough to find even 10 minutes of free time. We’ve all been busy designing fake re-brands of businesses, fake iPad apps, fake postage stamps, and fake websites. Since I just finished the fake stamps last week and now my second fake website, I have almost a whole hour free and thought I would take a moment to update you guys on what’s going on at the art house press. And when I say you guys I mean you, one of probably two people (at most) who have ever visited this blog.

A few weeks back, I finally printed that linocut illustration for the second Christmas card design. I also finished up details on the prints from the first design. So far I have a total of 58 Christmas cards printed and still have the trays set up to print more if needed.

New organization projects are also happening in our letterpress studio. We had to give up some storage space and now have several half cases of type (like the ones below) that need to be combined into the proper California job cases, as well as a bunch of spacing that needs sorting. Stay tuned for letterpress art show updates!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hammer & Forge (& Cupcakes)

While I was setting up the press for these posters, someone came into the studio and gave me a cupcake, therefore it was probably the best printing day of my life. Below you can see how the final posters turned out. My favorite are the ones printed in gold ink, but I also did black on grays/neutrals and black on brown chipboard. Some of these might be listed in the shop soon, depending on whether or not they get picked up for yet another letterpress show I have entered. I only have two of each color, and the gold series will be in Australia for a show pretty soon! …but more on that later.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Christmas Card Update

Just a quick Christmas card update: Some of the first cards are nearly finished! The second card design is a linocut city illustration (the type below it will say “it’s Christmas time in the city” because the cards are all based on Christmas song lyrics). I finished carving the image and now I’m ready to proof it to see what the print will look like.  Now I just need some free time to spend in the print shop! What are your favorite Christmas songs? Do they have lyrics that would make good cards? Let me know, I might consider making another card for the series…

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sneak Peek: Christmas Cards

Perhaps it is a bit early, but we're already thinking about Christmas here at the Art House Press! These cards printed with wood type are still in the early stages of production. Eventually they will be for sale in our shop. We are also planning to make other Christmas cards with fun linocut illustrations and various patterns, so consider this a small sneak peek and be on the lookout for some exciting holiday letterpress stuff in the coming months.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shop Update

 We've listed several new items in the Art House Press shop! We now have some more small Hammer & Forge posters in a variety of new neutral colors. There are also new greeting cards and posters designed and printed by Francis. The Attractive poster comes in a variety of attractive colors. Which color is your favorite?
We also just listed some limited edition intaglio prints: etchings of tandem bicycles!
I made these over a year ago in my intermediate printmaking class, and I'm not printing any more as I will probably never again have access to an intaglio printing room.

Friday, August 9, 2013

What's New: Sketchbooks

All of these little handmade books are now up for sale in the Art House Press shop!
Their blank pages are ideal for sketching, writing, and keeping track of brilliant ideas. 
Plus, many of them have fun patterns inside!
In other news, we just started experimenting with letterpress printing onto bags using wood type. These ampersand bags are also for available to purchase from our store.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today In The Studio

We just started working on a fun new project for an event with our local AIGA group, so we spent today in the studio pulling some proofs of wood type.