Rare Book School Days 3 & 4
Printing letterpress can feel a bit like the ascent up the steepest grade of an old-school roller coaster. A slow ratcheting up and up, until finally, the momentum of printing itself takes over. I find myself needing to encourage and reassure through what can seem like painfully slow steps: typesetting, proofing, correcting, proofing again.
This weather hasn’t helped. A week-long swelter, it’s hollow humour to suggest that it adds to the 19th century ambience of the enterprise. A thoughtful someone at the State Library arranged a tab for us at Journal Café and their lemon granita hit the spot this afternoon.
Yesterday and this morning saw us proofing the type and making corrections. Page formes have been assembled. Rosalind Atkins, well-known for her exquisite engravings, is in the class and offered to cut a block for us. The chapbook will be bound in a soft wrapper imprinted with the title. This involved a certain amount of gerry-rigging to print a 70cm long sheet on a 10×15 platen, but was possible with a team of five.
The storm started in earnest in the midst of this critical activity, a perfect time to discuss printing damp. Tomorrow is expected to be a welcome 22ºC, perfect weather for handling paper.