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New Student of an Old Technique

December 16, 2008


This winter I’ve started learning the nearly-lost art of typesetting and letterpress printing with friend and cohort Artnoose. I have a lot of ideas relative to my current video work that I’m hoping to flesh out on paper in the coming months, and these old printing techniques are really exciting me. I like the idea of trying to work in similar themes, but using very different media.

Below is my first letterpress print – the background layer is a quick dust of matte spraypaint. Inspired in part by a recent article in the New York Times about the overpopulation of white-tailed deer.


I guess that, technically, this isn’t really my first letterpress image. I did do the covers for the latest Pittsburgh Directory Action resource guide last year, but that was using a polymer plate made from a drawing I did, and we had to rig the chase with a hefty amount of duct tape. It was a tad ridiculous. This time around, I’m trying to learn the whole process, including setting the type – although learning with Artnoose, I’ve found that there is a ton of packing tape involved in lining up the paper itself… what did they do before packing tape?


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2 comments on “New Student of an Old Technique”

We were using it on the area that holds the paper (I haven’t learned all the names of the components yet). So there’s these little clips that hold each sheet in place, and mostly the packing tape is to hold those clips in place but they get moved around a bit. They’re old clips, and I think they are actually supposed to stay in place by being stabbed into a sheet of paper behind them, but that seems more cumbersome than packing tape.

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