The APA Goose 2014

It's always a treat to drive up to Hamilton for a visit, especially when it involves seeing our print and type friends from the Amalgamated Printers Association, a group I've been a part of for 10+ years. After cutting school early, Jo and I hit the road. If this shot doesn't ring a bell, maybe this image from a favorite album will hint at our inspiration. Our little fiat is well traveled. hamiltonorbustAfter checking in (and yes, Jo gets a pretty special badge), we found our friend Scott from Moore Wood Type already at it, cutting type and doing demos for onlookers. He also brought a lot of his patterns for people to see so they could learn about the process of pantograph cut wood type.



patterns2Love these star patterns. You can see the 6 pointed Chicago style star (which Scott named 'Jo's star') down in the corner.

patterns3We found our friend Jason of Genghis Kern trying his hand at the pantograph.

jasonpantographAnother workshop about wood engraving was also going on, and everyone there carved into blocks that were ultimately cut as letters for Wayzgoose 2014.

woodengravingFriday I finally got the opportunity to teach a workshop with a longtime friend and talented printer, Jessica Spring of Springtide Press. We worked with our class on two projects: the first was to contribute a page to a meander book and the second was to print type as pattern to then cut and weave. Jessica led the way on the book, setting up the form on press and then demonstrating how to cut and fold the single sheet into a book.


ws2Here are a few of the serious ladies pulling type for the print and paper weaving.

ws7Here's our good friend Erin of Inky Winke trying her hand at a little opaque white ink.

ws5Our prints were a bit wet, but we were able to trim them down to start weaving together. This creates an entirely new kind of print that can be trimmed to a smaller, square size, functioning as a piece of art in its own right.

ws1Mary Alice used a few different sheets of paper for her prints (and some attendees swapped with each other), and ended up with a very patriotic weave.

ws6Rich from P22 (and also responsible for spearheading the digitization of Hamilton's type for the HWTF) was there, showcasing his latest project. Borrowing the Cloister Initial matrices from RIT's Cary Collection, he worked with Greg Walters in Ohio to cast whopping 120 point versions of the beautiful initials. Bringing a set to Hamilton to share, he also printed a broadside with all of them; you can see a snippet of it below with the S and P we came home with.


cloisterFriday night, Greg Walters (who cast the above initials) gave a talk about foreign type specimen books and brought a large selection from his personal collection. Below are just a few shots of the pages I found incredibly inspiring, including these magnificent brass rules printed in multiple colors.

spec1Greg mentioned many trends, including the predominance of art nouveau faces, which all but escaped American type founders. There were also many thick and heavy, multi-color patterns and borders.



spec5After the conference, I realized I didn't get any full shots of the group. Luckily, an APA group photo is always taken, and hopefully we'll see that soon. There's been a sea change in the APA. Can you guess what it is?

husbandcalledBefore checking out for the weekend, we got a little sneak peek at Tom Walker's incredible series of baseball-inspired pennant prints. Incredible and detailed work, with a hand built box to boot.

tomwalkerAs always, we had a great weekend in Two Rivers, and look forward to November when we're back again. And next year the APA Goose will be in Chicago, and it'll be incredible so mark your calendars.

Matching type nerds!


Mecca of the North

Of all the wonderful things that Fall brings, one of the most endearing is the annual gathering of printers and type enthusiasts that flock to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I've written about the museum here many times, and it was a treat to attend our second Wayzgoose there. The museum has had one hell of year, having to move from their location in the original Hamilton building to a new spot overlooking Lake Michigan. And they've done it up in style, with this classy sign painted with the humbling talent of John Downer. hamiltonoutsideLet's face it. The best thing about getting to Hamilton is the folks we meet. This is the only time during the year that I get to see some of the printers and type enthusiasts I admire from around the world, as well as meet new, up-and-coming craftspeople. One of those I greatly admire is Tracy Honn, from Silver Buckle Press in Madison, who provided this year's incredible poster:

hamiltonposterMore on that later. After first arriving at Hamilton, we had a lovely dinner with old and new friends. One of the old friends was Scott Moore of Moore Wood Type, along with new friend Phil Moorhouse, all the way from Australia. Here they are enjoying dessert and sketching details of wood type production.

scottphilFriday was workshop day, and I taught Mastering Metal and Wood Type Composition, hoping to help the attendees improve their game with typesetting, really look at spacing issues and work with various typefaces in one piece. The museum's new space is incredible, and a better fit for the direction in which they want to go. There are distinct areas set up as 'classrooms', and this was our area, outfitted with a number of sign presses and a substantial run of wood and metal type:


workshopspace2Here are a few of the happy printers and prints from the day. The first print immortalizes one of the statements I made while introducing the concepts we'd be covering in the workshop.



workshop9Talented and all around great guy, Brad Vetter, helped out in the morning. Here he is assisting with hand burnishing some of the peskier type from Arlene's form.

workshop1Clint and Tahlia made the trek all the way from Australia so they could use this giant quoin key.

clinttahliaAmy took on a simple form in the afternoon and it was very successful. She nitpicked the justification for some time and the result really paid off.


workshop6Which one is a 'P' and which is a 'd'? We printed a handful before catching it!

workshop4A print that takes my 'establish a visual hierarchy' rule to heart:


Saturday was lecture day! This time around, I was speaking about Documenting Type Forms in the studio. Here's one of the three enthusiastic groups that sat in on the discussion. Notice anyone intimidating in this crowd? Yep, I was sweating.

lectureThree of those intimidating people are right here. David Shields from Virginia Commonwealth, Paul Brown from Indiana University and Erin Beckloff from Miami University. Too much typographic knowledge for one photo. I'm surprised the camera didn't pop a spring.

lecture1Erin also brought this energetic crew of Miami students with her, in all their matching t-shirt glory.

lecture2While I was talking and answering questions, Jo was busy in the back printing up a storm! We packed her little homemade press and she created a number of pieces (hand illuminated, of course) for the Sunday print swap.


joprinting2I had the pleasure of meeting Geri from Virgin Wood Type... finally. You know you're in the right place when a little gem like this ends up in your apron pocket.

virginwoodtypeSunday morning presented one of the more thrilling moments of the weekend. The incomparable Dave Peat brought a large number of items to be given away as door prizes. You can see the crowd here, anticipating his talk about how different type forms can be created and the following giveaway.

davepeatThis entire table was set up with prize items. Books, presses, type, mystery boxes and candy... If these items were 'throwaway' to Dave Peat, imagine what his personal collection looks like.


doorprize2Greg Walters, another fine APA member, was on hand, along with Bill Moran and Stephanie Carpenter, to call names for the prizes. It was agreed that this was the best form of The Price Is Right. Come On Down without having to guess at pricing!


doorprize3Our new friend Tammy of Red Door Press from Iowa scored some large wood type.

tammyJudith Poirier also scored some lovely type. And looks who's looking on... it's John Risseeuw, an incredible papermaker and printer. I was delighted to meet him back in June at the Phoenix Wayzgoose.

judithpoirierLook who else scored something great! Jo picked out a small card press and couldn't have been happier. The dolphin was also a 'prize', so it was a good morning to be six years old.

jopressFollowing Dave Peat (though it's hard to do so), was the annual print swap. All participants grabbed a table on which to spread their wares and got an opportunity to talk about print projects, techniques and interesting tidbits related to the craft. Here's our friend Lorraine with a growing bundle of awesome samples.

printswap2The Miami students had a number of fun things to share, besides just smiles.

printswap1And here's Andy, the other half of Red Door Press, with some awesome prints and bookmarks to coordinate with his dapper printer's cap.

andyJo always has a keen eye for art that's worth investing in, and she didn't disappoint this time around. Here she is with her first Dafi Kuhne print. And of course, Dafi himself, who led experimental chipboard type workshops on Friday.

jodafiA gratuitous shot for me, it's Matthew Carter holding one of our type specimen prints. Fuzzy photo? Sure. But you'd shake, too, if a MacArthur Genius was holding something you made.

matthewcarterTwo of my favorite ladies in print, Martha Chiplis (who co-authored this informative book), and Jessica Spring of Springtide Press. Personal heroines.

marthajessicaLoved these little punch out kits for building letterforms!

solidtypeAmos Kennedy Jr. (don't let the tag fool you) and Rich Kegler take a print break to visit that new-fangled technology.

amosrickMore APA members! Bob Piontkowski and Rick Von Holdt dressed for success on Sunday.

bobrickIt's always hard to say goodbye and head home. Jo had a great time hanging out with my two helpers for the weekend, Brad Vetter and Dan Elliot. And yes, Richard Zeid photobombed the second image. But we're sure glad he did.


danjoAnd of course, the brains and heart behind the entire operation, Stephanie and Jim. The pure love for what they do coupled with a breakneck schedule for opening the museum cements the fact that this place is around to stay.

stephjimBy the end of the weekend, this was the Wayzgoose poster.

posterH. A little remnant of the old building, now living in the new. Yet another reminder that the building may change, but the spirit of preservation and good old-fashioned midwestern gumption will guarantee the success of a project, no matter how far fetched it might seem. While I like to think that we'll be at the museum again before the next Wayzgoose, that may not be the case. But the wait is made easier by the now constant connection to the friends we made while there, and that shared aspiration to become better printers, designers, typographers and teachers will sustain us all. Until next November.


The Hamilton Wayzgoose 2012

This weekend we attended the annual Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum's Wayzgoose, or printers gathering. It was an unbelievable experience chock full of some of the greatest printers, designers, bookbinders and enthusiasts from around the world. While Chicago has always had a supportive printmaking community, much of it revolves around screenprinting, which leaves us letterpress folks a bit off to the side. The wayzgoose presented the opportunity to be completely in our element, talking about the intricacies of metal and wood type as opposed to screens and rubylith!

Many of our old friends were in attendance, including these two: Celene, recently transplanted from Chicago to Nashville to work at Hatch Show Print (many alumni of Hatch were in attendance), and Rich of P22/WNYBAC fame.

Rebecca from Rar Rar Press right here in Chicago (showing her killer new pennants):

And Erin of Inky Winke alongside Dave Peat, a man with one of the most incredible collections of type I've ever seen in print:

Sunday morning we had the privilege to hear about the Globe Collection that Hamilton now houses. This was a job shop located in Chicago (with sister shops in Baltimore and St. Louis), that created some of the hardest working posters in show business. The last was a real treat to see, as it was printed for a carnival 5 minutes away from where I grew up.

Here's Erin demonstrating what happens when your husband is out of the country... you cozy up to a vintage halftone image of Marvin Gaye!

The event also featured a print swap which was a fantastic way to see what everyone's been up to this year. We took our new self promotional packs and open house posters (more on those later this week...), and Printers Devil Jo took our collaborative Family Canning posters. The man with the camera is none other than Scott from Moore Wood Type, one of the few folks in the country creating new wood type.

Amos Kennedy Jr. was there to get folks on press, and lots of esoteric prints were floating around everywhere...

As the youngest participant, Jo met a lot of new friends, including Bill Moran, the Artistic Director at Hamilton. Here they are discussing the Press Bike and how they could create a stationary bike that prints stationery at the museum. She also autographed prints during the swap and got a picture with Brad Vetter, her new favorite printer.

What a whirlwind of a weekend, and an honor to be involved with so much talent and creativity in one room. Hoping that inspiration translates into some new awesomeness in the Starshaped studio. And on a slightly downer note, Hamilton's future isn't clear; the building in which the museum is housed is now empty and for sale, and they will most likely need to move in the Spring. Please help them out... spread the word, donate time or money, do what you can. This is an American treasure that needs to survive.

And in conclusion, would any trip to Wisconsin be complete without this?

Thanks to all the entertaining Packers fans in our hotel!