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Dec 18 / Scott

Winter excursions lead to Holiday cards.

On a very cold Winter trip to Dave Churchman’s warehouse in Indianapolis last year, I was lucky enough to acquire an old showcard press. He and his wife were nice enough to wait at the shop while I drove in from a Ft. Wayne printer road trip. At Dave’s I picked up a reglet cabinet for my daughter and some items I needed for one of the type cutting machines I was building. I had been watching Ebay for a showcard press after seeing them print with one at Two Rivers.

On the way out, I mentioned I was looking for one so I could proof off the new type I was cutting. Of course, Dave had just gotten one in. He said they don’t stay around very long and were in high demand, it would be gone the next day. I dug out my emergency money and went home with one extra item. (Don’t tell my wife!)

It took over a week to clean, lubricate, repaint, and by relocating the stop bar, I doubled the printing area. Even if it wasn’t a Vandercook, I was now able to print. I have wanted a printing press for over 35 years, ever since I used them when I worked in the Printing Lab at Miami University. For those of you old enough to remember, printing education was part of Industrial Arts back in the 60’s and 70’s.

The refurbished showcard press sat on its cart in the corner of my type shop. Over the next year I saw beautiful prints and posters from many creative printers who used wood type characters and ornaments in new ways. The Farmers Market poster by Starshaped Press in Chicago particularly inspired me (and includes a MWT heart).

I decided to make my own holiday card using my showcard press this year. It is my first print project on my own press. With help from my daughter, we worked out a design using a font I had purchased from Don Black and new MWT ornaments I had on hand. I needed 15 three line flat diamonds for the Christmas tree. When you have your own pantograph type cutter that is no problem, I just made a pattern and cut them.

The card design required three colors, which I had to hand brayer. Erin shared her ink and over two late evenings, I produced my 2011 Holiday cards. Everything I try in setting-up and running my shop has had a very big learning curve. The cards turned out fine, but I have decided that when you have access to a Vandercook, why hand brayer a very involved printing job? Next year I plan to make a trip to my daughter’s Inky Winke shop and not have to deal with over and under inking. Now I just have to mail them all out.

For any of you who don’t get one of the cards in the mail, Happy Holidays from Moore Wood Type!


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