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Panic & Progress

Assignments Calligraphy Digital Work Letterpress Polymer Plates

hushOne of my goals for the book I'm currently printing was to give myself space and time to further experiment with printing calligraphy.  I knew at the outset that meant that I wouldn't be able to precisely envision the final product, but because I have a lot to learn, that was my aim, pure and simple.  It seemed like a wise and liberating approach:  don't worry too much about the end result!  Just try new things and learn! Well, it turns out that if you begin by setting and printing a 180 line poem plus a brief afterword and colophon -- all of which you're happy with -- and leave the experimenting for last, you have backed yourself into a tight little corner.  I neglected in setting my goal for this project to remember how attached I become to something over time, how invested.  Well-intentioned as I may have been, I admit now that enlightenment doesn't feel satisfying enough.  I want to love the final product, too. Unfortunately, I am woefully behind schedule.  Just today, I sent away for film negatives for my digital files, and we have three teensy weeks left in the semester.  Three!  I may not make it, I'm sad to say.  Taking an Incomplete won't be the end of the world; I should be able to finish up in the weeks following the semester.  But I have an unbound chapbook from last year that is still waiting for a binding and plenty of other projects lined up to boot, so I am hesitant to let this spill out into time I had reserved for other things. The bright side?  I am learning.  I am by no means quick about any of this, but I use Photoshop and Illustrator now with far more speed and understanding.  I  also feel much more confident about the actual printing process than I did last year at this time, especially with book projects that require consistent inking.  I made some crazy decisions with my first book that I am so glad I did not repeat this time around.  Growing pains, you know?  But also enlightenment. So at least I can cross that off my list for the moment.


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  • simonhlilly on

    Good luck. I’m sure it will be worth it. The bookness of books is so real!

  • Plates! « Pentameter Press Studio on

    […] base.And from there, you can pull a proof! This is the letterpress-printed version of the same lettering I pictured in my last post.  I did proofs on tracing paper so that I can cut them down to size and get a […]

  • Laura on

    Thank you, Simon! I hope so… there’s always a dark passage involved in these processes. But yes: having a bound, handprinted book at the end of the road will feel really good, I imagine. I’ll let you know when I make it!


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