Thursday, July 29, 2010

Green greeting

After the high of seeing Fuji from the plane I was delighted by the heat and green of being on the ground. I took the Skyliner to Tokyo, which has a slightly different route from the Narita express, my departure route,  passing first through rice fields before hitting the city. It’s nice to compare the UFO landing spots with how they looked in Spring.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finished Chapzine- Printing, pick ups and nature strips


I am amazed that I managed to get the chapzines done. It wouldn't have happened without Louise from Poppy Letterpress and Caren. Thank you ladies of movable type!

I am now wrapping some of them up to send to Melbourne and some to take as gifts to Japan. Less than 24 hours now before I fly.

ok now I feel like a real iidiiot- just got down some packets of paper to freight down to the show in Melbourne and discovered a stack of anonymously stamped paper- more than the stack I have printed- derr!
Just as well I kept my chases intact- and now I get to correct the spelling mistakes - namely mine and Andrew's names.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

paper birds

the beginning of the Black Kite body.

to scale model finished

detail of the wings

to scale Varied Tit.
Made from the paper bags of all the things I bought in Japan.
A Black Kite and Varied Tit- they are the props for an animation that I am now editing with Abi. The works title is "Feeders" and it picks up on some of my encounters with birds- including the Black Kite that stole my lunch.

Getting it ready for the Aichi Triennale.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Procrastinating- Berlin alphabet

I bought this set of type 10 years ago in Berlin. At the time I thought they where rubber stamps- and it might turn out that they are in fact rubber stamps, but lately my theory is that they are some hybrid letterpress. They seem to be a very hard rubber that has been glued onto some pine bases. For the arguments pro and contra them being letterpress:-


The rubber is too hard for rubber stamps and it seems to reject water based inks. The ink tends to separate on the surface of the letter making it hard to get good coverage and a dark print (in next post). As I bought them in Berlin from someone selling various pillaged things from the former East, it could have just been bad quality rubber.


The bases seem to be some kind of pine or other soft wood. Pine is not usually used in moveable type as it gets dented too easily. I have been wondering though whether the rubber tops have been removed from their original bases and remounted as the bases have no ink stains and x heights are also not consistent. The other fact that counts against these being moveable type is that the profile is too high for moveable type.

I can’t remember what the standard measurement is for type, Caren has it pasted helpfully on the wall opposite from where you would stand in order to set the pressure of the press: the beast (I’m not sure whether it has a nickname or gender- for me it is gender neutral). My memory says .987 but maybe that’s from an inch? All the measurements for type and furniture we have in the Book Studio are in inches (is all moveable type like this?), which make all the measurements really abstract for me.

However whatever the original use of these letters, I am going to cut the bases and use them as moveable type. And as there is only one alphabet I have started to make several sets of letters in polymer by filling up some of the negative spaces on the films I set to get the centre of the Nature Strip chapzine made.

Of course I have absolutely no spare time to be doing this or writing this entry- I am filming part of the Aichi work tomorrow and have things to do before then- but I find myself being quiet fascinated by this little project.

Along with the questions above my main question is: What is the type font? And what would the capitals look like? Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I’m still working on the chap-zine that re-uses the discarded stamped prints from the installation of ‘Varied, noisy’ at Artspace last year. Chapzine is Caren’s term for a zine – like artist book that been produced using letterpress, and is usually printed on one piece of paper and folded (like the orginal chapbooks). The one piece of paper makes the setting up and printing time more manageable.

When you do a search on the term chapzine you mostly get links to Caren’s chapzine pr0n c0k-tales, but I also found references on this dead Art School blog in Vancouver. I gleaned from the detailed entry about Chapbooks on Wiki, that chapbooks where still a common form in the States in the early 1900’s, so not surprising that the term still has resonance there. Although I also found this interesting little poetry press in Berry, NSW, using the term.

The wiki entry also provided the wonderful term ‘bum folder’:

Because of their flimsy nature such ephemera rarely survive as individual items. They were aimed at buyers without formal libraries, and, in an era when paper was expensive, were used for wrapping or baking. Paper has also always had hygienic uses and there are contemporary references to the use of chapbooks as bum fodder

I don’t recommend that you use the Nature Strip chapzine as toilet paper as it is over 120gsm: not very soft or absorbent.

I have now printed two colours on the outside and am getting ready the plate to print on the inside. The top picture gives you an idea of how the long pieces of paper will be folded into a zine.

Here is a detail of the whole image that will be on the inside. It’s a reworking of the drawing that Andrew McQualter and I did on the walls at Artspace.

At the moment as well as working on a deadline for Aichi Triennale, (this website has a very helpful counter telling me it's only 37days to go) I’m also trying to get things ready for a show with Andrew in Melbourne at VCA’s Margaret Lawrence Gallery (when you see this link you have to wonder why Universities, like local councils, can't get the importance of a good website for a gallery). Busy? Too much on my plate? Yes well…