It Takes a Village

There's a fantastic organization known as Ladies of Letterpress, and they host an annual conference in August. This year, I was asked to contribute to a portfolio project that will be shared with a group of other printers at the conference in a few weeks. The theme was Expanding Communities, to be taken as each printer saw fit, with the only limitation being the 9x12" size. I'd been wanting to explore the idea of greater community involvement in education, and this was a great opportunity. After thinking through a few ideas about typographically creating a school building, I narrowed the concept to the easily recognizable image of a chalkboard, which could be achieved by layering both wood type and linoleum cuts.

Here are a few sorts of our 30-line (5") wood type. This is actually the back side of both number 1's and punctuation. These would serve to give texture to the frame.

I was able to print two-up on each sheet of paper, which was kindly donated by Mohawk. In this image, the first frame shows just the print of the wood type, while the one on the right shows the frame with a transparent overlay created by linoleum blocks cut to size. This gave the frame a richer and more solid feel while maintaining the wood grain.

I chose gothic wood type that was reminiscent of the basic style of lettering that our little printer's devil is learning in school. Each letter is slightly offset to avoid looking too 'perfect' when printed.

For the bottom text, the type is set in Monoline Script and Futura, also mimicking the cursive and lettering styles popular in school (note: there is currently a debate on the loss of teaching cursive in grade school. We fully support keeping it in the curriculum. Great handwriting is always classy!).

And this is the final print. The green is printed with a linoleum block trimmed to size, while the text is printed in opaque white on top of it. Opaque white isn't quite that, fortunately, so it resembles the look of chalk on a chalkboard.

The required 9x12" size felt a bit cramped as I like to have a little more breathing room for the art on my prints. So I added a short run of copies for sale on a muted, speckled stock at 11x14".

You can see the texture of the back of the wood type here, as well as the mottled texture of the linoleum blocks and white type.

Hopefully it will serve to remind everyone that great schools do indeed begin with EVERYONE. Looking forward to seeing what the other talented printers come up with!