Archives for the month of: May, 2005

view workshop photos.

this weekend i attended the STA‘s woodtype workshop at the hamilton wood type and printing museum. dawn gave me the workshop (plus car rental) as a gift and i can honestly say that it was the best gift i have ever received. i had a lot of reservations about going – driving up there on my own, meeting new people, being creative on demand – but it was one of the best experiences i’ve ever had.

i left for two rivers, wisconsin on friday morning. traffic was light and i made excellent time; the drive only took 3 hours and i was the first one to get to the museum. hamilton is much larger than it appears in the photographs on its website. i actually drove past it twice before i realized that giant factory/warehouse was it. i walked in and dennis (the teacher), michael (newly-matriculated workshop assistant), david (newly-mfa’ed) and norbert (pantographer) were the only ones there. i introduced myself but was so early that i went to the hotel to check in and change. when i got back to the museum most of the other participants had arrived. everyone was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. dennis and michael had prepared some posters for the workshop and set up one of the presses so we could print the word ‘welcome’ on the posters. we each got to have a go…it’s mind-blowing to think about how awkward we all were that first time compared to how natural the movement became by the end of the workshop. we went over the basic format of the weekend and norbert gave a pantograph demonstration.

the rest of the weekend we got up early for a group breakfast then printed all day. we looked at examples of each others’ work and dennis brought a lot of his prints for us to view. we had lunch at a local sandwich shop and the hospital cafeteria, ate dinner at a 100 year old german place and had chinese buffet twice. the fellowship was fun but the printing and the museum itself were incredible. the atmosphere was so inviting. two rivers is a great little city – everything feels like it moves nice and slow. everything felt simpler and clearer while i was there.

the museum is huge – a lot of the type isn’t even on display. there is just so much that there hasn’t been enough time to sort and categorize it all. i didn’t print on sunday morning – instead i devoted that time to looking around and deciding how to complete my edition. i was in need of inspiration, so michael took me to the back room (which was as big as the main museum floor) to show me the type that wasn’t on display.

the first half of the back room holds a lot of different kinds of presses, the folding machine and the perforating machine. past these is another storeroom holding rows and rows of cabinets of type. some are wood and similar to the type in the main room. a lot of the cabinets hold job cases of metal type in various sizes.

while we were back there, david and greg, the museum’s director, stumbled across us and showed us how some of the presses and the perforating machine work. michael had to go back to help with the printing but i talked to greg and david for quite awhile. david helped me find the metal type i used for my edition and explained how job cases are laid out (if there is a logical pattern to this it escaped me). he also showed me some of his letterpress work, including his thesis (awesome).

by the time i got on a press to do my last layer everyone else was done and ready to leave for dinner. greg was nice enough to stay with me and help me finish my edition so it would dry by morning. after some press problems and a lot of rearranging furniture, we managed to do the actual printing of the edition in about 7 minutes. then we drove back to the hotel so i could change out of my work clothes, picked up david and hurried to the restaurant to meet everyone else. that night andy (last year’s program director for STA and the other printing assistant for the workshop), david and i stayed up until midnight talking about all kinds of stuff, including guessing each other’s ages. i proved once again that i am the world’s worst estimator while andy guessed david and my ages on the first try.

today after the critique almost everyone left. it was strange to be in the press room and not hear motors whirring and presses thunking. i lost count of how many times i washed my hands over the weekend with that orange soap but it had to be at least 10 times each day. i stuck around because i wanted to eat before my long drive. dennis, michael, david, greg, andy and i went back to the chinese buffet for lunch. dennis did his dollar bill origami trick (met by much sniggering from andy, david and michael – i guess they’ve seen this many times) and i made some more cat stairs.

i can’t wait to go back to two rivers. greg has invited me back whenever i can make it up and david has a couple of workshops in the next few months that i might attend. i look forward to seeing everyone again and hope to keep in touch via email. i made some new friends, learned a lot of new things and most importantly got to break my usual work-eat-sleep routine and do something for the right side of my brain. look for a new design for hyperbolation in the coming months if i can weasel david into the proposed design-for-code trade and a lot of new photographs once i have time to get them processed. maybe michael will got a job in chicago and maybe i’ll see kayanna and nancy in atlanta – best wishes to everyone who attended and a huge thank you to dawn for this incredible experience!


edition details: on saturday michael and i picked out punctuation marks in a variety of typefaces. i wanted them to be scattered randomly across the paper so setting the type and furniture was rather time-consuming; we spent 30-40 minutes working on the layout. i printed this layer in a bright lime green. to make this color i experimented with a few different combinations but finally michael ended up mixing pure green ink with transparency medium and a little day-glo yellow to make the green pop. the next day, after the ink had dried and several aborted attempts to get the color i wanted (very light and very transparent), i ran my prints through a press without ink to emboss the paper. i used two pieces of type (large sans-serif s and large serif d) from the job cases in the back that, judging by the thickness of the dust on them and the time it took to clean them, probably hadn’t been printed in decades. i also used a perfect circle zero from david’s own collection. finally, i set 12 pt. metal type (tons of tiny metal furniture…wish i had had tweezers) in 5 different typefaces and completed my edition with a fairly opaque dark blue.

new people have moved in upstairs i think. lots of banging around and slamming doors and really loud footsteps and stuff – things i was spared of during my first year in this apartment.

from what was i also spared last year?

being woken up at 1am by the rhythmic thumping of overhead copulation.

great.

you only get part one:

k is for kite-flying
a is for ardor for gusto and life
r is for running through my mind all day (eric)
a is for angst with hot tea
l is for lima beans for you and me
e is for egrets, my favorite bird
e is for elephants, my favorite herd

got my new (used) game boy sp and it’s super-neat. the guy i bought it from included the ac adapter/charger, case and 2 games! so far i’m totally sucking at mario 3 (to be expected…did i mention i’m really not that good at video games?) but loving the backlit screen and rechargable battery. i’m also enjoying the case of beer henry gave me for my old game boy advance.

hooray for gadgets!

(read part 1 here)

In those days the river of blood flowed quite slowly. Which means that it really was not fast, except when it was fast, which wasn’t often, but it normally wasn’t and when it was normal, like now for instance, it flowed quite slowly, which means not quickly.

Not quickly means, for those who aren’t following as quickly as they probably should be (which means fast, or rather, not slow), quite slowly.

My family didn’t own, but rented, inasmuch as they occupied it but didn’t physically possess the deed to either the lot, the building on it, or the possessions inside it (all sorts of ratty furniture, the restroom fixtures (a toilet which was consistently, like my hair and eyeball, rather brown), creaky stairways and other dandy accoutrement, as well as a small dog (his/her (we were never quite sure) name was Sandy) which always despite all circumstances to the contrary managed to reek of garlic); the piece of property that lay next to the aforementioned river of blood.

As it was the only plot of land in this area of the country (rural and rather overgrown with all sorts of nasty herbage like 30 foot long venus fly traps and poison oak which habitually managed to sneak into windows, beneath covers and between my then-five year old legs as I slept) I found my youth a dreary and exhausting existence with little to nothing to do on a daily basis except for staring wearily into the river of blood as it flowed past not quickly at all and stolid in its well-established redness.

The river was red, like blood. And from time to time the venus fly trap would sneak to the brink of the river to lap up the water’s pale redness into it’s carnivorous plant bowels only to realize that the river (as aforementioned) was really not bloody at all, it was just mostly red (except my grampa couldn’t see it), and it would huff and puff angrily and unexcitedly and quite enthusiastically (as only venus fly traps do) and stomp (by stomp, I mean stomp in plant terms, which, in human terms is much slower, more like quietly and slowly paced) back to its place beneath my windows where it would continue to wreak havoc nightly. You might wonder why, after days and days of walking towards the river, the venus fly trap (Pat, I called it, it reproduces asexually so I could never really assign a gender) wouldn’t just learn from his mistakes and not trudge the distance…

Something you probably don’t know about venus fly traps is that they have quite short term memories. And this poor fatal flaw resulted in most of its weeping misery as it could only remember what was written on it’s inner leaves. I had written (in Venus Fly Trapeze) that the river wasn’t actually bloody but the leave had apparently withered long ago and since Pat had been sneaking into my room nightly to nibble on my private parts while I slept I didn’t feel bad as it sobbed down there by the river of blood. Which was actually not a river of blood at all, it was just red.

[engraving of a boy waking up to a plant nibbling on its private parts. but you don't SEE anything, just a boy half-sitting up in bed with a confused/horrified look on his face. a vine is coming in through the window and disappearing under the blanket. subtle suggestion of movement in the crotchal area.]

caption: Pat had been sneaking into my room nightly to nibble on my private parts while I slept

written by mark
illustrated by kara (old-fashioned woodcuts)

[book opens and starts speaking]

[cue british accent]

On the first day of February, in my fifth year, it was a Sunday, the sky was a perfectly ordinary blue, my hair was brown, we lived by a river. It was a river of blood. I did not know why it was a river of blood but it was just that, a river of blood. It was red. It was really red.

It was really, really red.

And as I said before, it was the first day of February. And again, it was my fifth year, which means I was five years old. And the sky was blue the way a sky is always blue, I said that already too. And my hair was brown like the color of brown things and like I said already, it was brown. The river was red, mostly. Really, really red.

[pages turn...engravings of really mundane things, like a picture of the sky. but black and white.]

caption: And like I said already, the sky was blue.

But it wasn’t really a river of blood, it only just looked like it, because it was red. And red is the color of blood. So when I was five and the sky was blue, I called it the ‘iver of Blood.’ And I thought my mom would laugh or say how clever I was, but she didn’t she just nodded and said, ‘Hmmph, well it is red, mostly.’

And my father said, “Red it is indeed.”
And my sister said, “Red, yes.”
And my brother said, “Not even crimson, just red.”
And my grampa said, “I’m color blind.” So I didn’t believe a word he said from then on.

But it was red, like a river of blood.

[Picture: A single brown eyeball.]

caption: Like my hair, my eyeball was brown too.

[except it too, is black and white, and this sentence is nowhere to be found in the text]

more to come…

any guesses as to what is happening here?

antonio: gently, nigel. gently!

nigel: i don’t think this is going to work

antonio: just keep tapping

antonio: no – gently nigel. you don’t want them to explode!

seriously people, help me out. maybe post a link to sites you like the looks of or just tell me your favorite colors. anything about the site you think is clunky? anything you particularly like? any input (as long as it’s constructive) is desired – no, BEGGED for. aaaaand: go.

i’m getting tired of the current site layout and i need to tear it down and redo all of the css anyway.

if you have any ideas or comments about how you’d like hyperbolation to look, leave a comment to let me know. i’m hoping to integrate the photo gallery a bit more…i don’t know how or where but….yeah. so – suggestions! i am not an idea person; i need creative advice!

kara: look! another gray hair! geez, where are these all coming from?! you used to have like, two and now they’re everywhere!!

*pluck*

*pluck*

*failed pluck*

*failed pluck*

eric: ow!

kara: sorry! i’ll get it this time…

…*failed pluck*

eric: [twists away] i can’t hear ‘family guy’!

kara: i’msorryi’msorry!

eric: HEY – i probably got some down in my pants too – why don’t you go paw around in there?! huh? …TAKE A GOOD LOOK!