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Printshop – Or, where “Bizarre Injuries” are made.

December 21, 2011

Before leaving for France, I had one thing to do: print more of my letterpress baseball cards.  I have been running Left Field Cards for a few months now and business was picking up.  I had sold out of my “Bizarre Injuries” series during the Brooklyn Night Bazaar and I had to renew my stocks before going away.

I have been printing my cards on an old Washington hand press in the basement of a church in Greenpoint.  I have no idea how they carried that beautiful monster down the church’s tiny stairs when they moved it there three years ago.  The printer who owns the press was running out of space in his studio and the pastor offered to host the press for him and let people use it.  I am one of these people.  In exchange for free use of the press, I give back a dollar off each sale to their soup kitchen.

Lately I have been spending a lot of time in that basement, cranking and pulling and inking, all by hand, accompanied by strong coffee and podcasts of This American Life (buy their iPhone app!  It’s the best.  You can listen to any show ever made, for the price of a hot dog and a half! Or $2.99.)

I love printing. Being a painter, I find printing relaxing.  Yes, it is slow and physical and repetitive, but all the decisions have been made at that point.  You can focus on small technical things like rolling out the ink perfectly and adjusting the pressure to get the perfect balance between crisp lines and vibrant color.  It’s always unclear when a painting is done.  It comes slowly, painfully, doubtfully, until it’s there and it makes sense.  That’s when you stop painting.  Printing these cards is the opposite of that.  It’s fun, silly and joyful.  No afterthoughts.  Just mechanical precision and lightness of heart.

If you like these, you can pick up a pack or two here or at WORD or BookCourt, the two most amazing bookstores in Brooklyn.  And while you’re at it, buy some books!  I recently picked up Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami, C by Tom McCarthy and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.  Yes, playing it safe here.  Devoured the Murakami and half way through the Mitchell.  Really excited about C.

Oh and yes, I’m in France! Will post about my trip tomorrow.

Bonne nuit les amis.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2011 9:04 pm

    Yay for the letterpress! That thing is a beast {as I learned today!} I think Clint Barmes is my new fave! I was admiring him today, or rather admiring that deer with his awesome tiny legs and awesome almond eye. I love him.

    I want to see France! Hurry up and be antisocial for an hour so you can post about it!

    • Amelie permalink*
      December 21, 2011 9:26 pm

      Oh yes, you have tamed the beast too! Did I tell ever you that once one of the big bolts got loose and the whole arm thing just collapsed and came crashing down on the floor? I managed to put it back together but it was really scary. But nothing broke! This beast is basically held together by one screw and yet it is solid as a rock (well, when the screw doesn’t accidentally slide out of its hole). Incredible.

      • December 21, 2011 10:43 pm

        I heard about that! Some random guy told me today {he wants to buy two packs of your card, btw}. I’m surprised but happy that cast iron monstrosity didn’t break your foot! Oh, uh, I’m “sewing” right now. So. Tired. Want. Sleep…

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