Today was a busy day at WNYBAC - the Ron Hawkins gig poster was completed:
And we wrapped up a specimen sheet for Arcadian No. 1, a typeface made by Wm. Page & Co. The typeface dates from earlier, but our specimen is from 1872. Almost 140 years old! Printed in two colorways: olive green and flint blue, mustard/brown and flint blue.
The spec sheet is available now on Etsy and in our shop!
Check out two of the mock-ups for our latest gig poster, Ron Hawkins - singer/songwriter, frontman of The Lowest of the Low - the show is at Mohawk Place on October 23rd. It's in a traditional style with a great tri-color background (reminiscent of the colors on a Gibson Les Paul starburst guitar - deep red, yellow, and beige). Finished product coming soon!
A career in design or graphic arts brings with it a continuum of advances on process and technology. The tools we use to exercise our crafts are always changing. But I remember when we talked more about the people who helped us with the crafts than the tools. The tools came second. It was the craftsmen - and women - who brought to the table finely honed skill and discipline. The pressmen, dot-etchers, engravers, and the suppliers who kept them going - like the roller companies, ink mixers and the type suppliers - both metal and photo. When I started as a designer I was - and continue to be - in awe of these people. Their careers - and lives - were handed over to the pursuit and exercise of perfection. Their role in the greater sequence of artful steps was critical. There would be no allowance for “good enough.”
All of this said, it was these crafts people that we all took for granted. They knew their “stuff” - we didn’t have to. Bout how did they learn? How did they refine their respective crafts? Well, as like much in the early days of printing, they looked to “The Guild” - the collective that allowed these artists to share their stories - their passions - and knock back a few beers and prime rib now and then. Today I am thinking about the Printing House Craftsmen.
Last night I enjoyed a special, rare evening at The Western New York Book Arts Center, where we - the Board of Directors - and the membership - hosted what might very well have been the last gathering of the Buffalo area chapter of the Printing House Craftsmen Club. Along with a sizable archive of photographs and event programs to be reposed at The Center, members of the local club came together to share more stories and revel in the Center’s museum and “The Art of the Broadside” exhibit. For me this was a special gathering. Ever since my Graphic Arts Technology classes at Mohawk Valley Community College, I have been fascinated by the tools, techniques - and people - who make such a technologically exacting process seem like simple art. For us first adopters of the Apple Macinotsh tools, these men and women are the like the Mercury Astronauts The went first. They helped mold the processes and standards the rest of us would lean on for years. They were the ones who made the magic happen without Photoshop, InDesign drop shadows and special filters. The Space Shuttle couldn’t have gotten off the ground without the contributions of the talents and lives of those who came before them.
As an educator I find myself lamenting what today’s "kids" don’t know about what came before my generation. But, I suppose, for every Mercury Astronaut - or plate maker or typesetter I revere - and tell countless stories about, they will have a craftsman of their own who reminds them of where they came from. I guess I can only hope.
So here’s to the astronauts - and everything they did to lay a foundation for me - for us. It goes without saying, really, that they have my unending respect. None of us are in this alone - unless we think we are.
A new fundraising initiative to help WNYBAC printshop become even more accessible:
While we work on ADA compliance for the building with foundation funding for our elevator project to connect all 3 floors, the lack of public funding has given us impetus to use the online funding facilitation source, Kickstarter, to help bring out printshop up to comfortable standards for all visitors. We hope to use this funding to implement an appropriate ventilation and heating system for our basement print studio. With this initiative, you also get great rewards for helping out. Rewards at various levels include hand-printed goods, yearly memberships, a letterpress workshop, and custom posters. Any level of support which involved membership as a reward will be added to your existing membership for full benefit.
We appreciate any support you are able to offer as we work to make our studio as accessible, comfortable, and healthy as possible.
Check out the finished version of the gig poster for Broken Social Scene and The Sea and Cake. Hand-carved by Kat Delfosse and hand-printed, the poster works well on its own or side by side with another to create the full circle.
Printed in a limited edition, signed and numbered. Posters are available in the WNYBAC shop and Etsy shop for $20 each.
This past Tuesday, we had the opportunity to host Peter and Donna Thomas, otherwise known as the Wandering Book Artists. Peter offered a free talk on artist books and his own experience making one of a kind books, complete with a few tunes played on a ukulele (that was also a book!) After the talk, Donna offered tours of their "gypsy wagon" and Peter led the group of 11 students through the process of making a scrolling book, a binding technique the Thomas' created. Also on view at the event was the Thomas' impressive collection of miniature books they had made, as well as other works they had for sale. Peter and Donna offered an interesting perspective on the process and value of artist books, and those who took their workshop have added an inventive technique to their bookbinding skills. Take a peek at the talk, workshop, and some of the class's results: