I used to deny it when my friends call me the "Overachieving OCD'er".
You know, some people collect coins, other collect purses- I'd love to if I have the dough, but I don't- so I collect skills. I know that sounds super geeky, I suppose I'm just hooked on that rush when you master a new skill and you feel all smart and pleased with yourself. And who knows, maybe some day I'll fight off an intruder with my superb Japanese stab-binding skill (ha!). Fine, I am an overachieving OCD'er.
With that, I'll admit to one of my latest obsession- which considering the development in my Paper Elixir business, makes perfect sense.
I've started taking letterpress classes. Yep, I admit, I'm jumping on the letterpress bandwagon as it's gaining popularity in the greeting card business. I mean, the quality is amazing (with the right skills), the potential is tremendous, and I'll be behind the times if I don't at least check it out.
So what's letterpress and why is letterpressed work creeping up everywhere recently? I don't have an accurate answer, but this brief intro of letterpress on wikipedia kinda attempts to answer the question.
I'm currently taking a class offered by Kim Vanderheiden of Painted Tongue Studios, whose class I sort of stumble upon, and what a nice surprise! Not only is she so much closer geographically than where I intended to go (SF Center for the Books, where the classes are always full), her classes are much smaller (I have a personalized week-by-week syllabus, how cool is that), and she takes the time to teach you other elements of good graphic work- Photoshop skill, sketching skill, etc. Oooh... the prospect of learning even more skills make me tremble with excitement. *shudder*
I'm currently working on a project where I'm designing and printing business card for Paper Elixir. Trust me, they're not your run-of-the-mill business card, they will be the coolest business card in the world coz I designed them and I personally printed them. Just wait and see. (Mwah ha ha...)
The picture above shows Kim's letterpress studio. I learned that that's an Intaglio press in the foreground with the wheel handle. And in the picture below, that's the Vandercook in the foreground (which I'll be printing on), and the Heidelberg in the background (same as the one pictured in detail above, which I was told amateurs like us wouldn't be touching for a while).
I'm 4 classes in and even though I've barely touched the press (lots of prep work), I'm fascinated with the whole process. From the humming (or more like cranking on the ancient Vandercook) of the antique presses to the whole art of putting the right amount of ink with the right pressure on the right piece of paper. It should keep my obsessive energy occupied for a while.
In the meantime, while I'm still accquiring this new skill, I'm falling back on some existing skill to create the 20 Christmas cards my husband ordered. These are 2 of the "oriental-themed" cards he requested (he works for Mandarin Oriental and he needs cards for their clients/vendors).
I should have my letterpressed business cards by this weekend (if all goes well), stay tuned!