You probably know that I'm still taking my weekly letterpress class, even though I'm not horribly productive lately due to my grim prognosis from Blackberry-itis.
So, I was relieved that for last weekend's class, instead of having to call in sick again since I can barely hold a pen, that we're going on a "field trip" to one of our teacher's fellow printers in Berkeley.
But since I've missed so many classes, I have no idea where we're going, except that this is also where our film (for our photopolymer plates) come from.
And there I thought, Great, we're going to watch someone make film in a dark room for 3 hours... whoopie doo...
So, imagine what a pleasant surprise it was when I realized our destination is this lively printing studio with 30+ years of colorful Berkeley-an history; and right at the door greeting us were owners and printing world celebrities, David Goines (of Saint Hieronymus Press) and Richard Seibert (of Letterpress)!
Geez, do I feel stupid now thinking we're going to watch film dry...
And as soon as we stepped in, our excitement continued to bubble as we laid eyes on the studio lined with all sorts of working presses and printing paraphernalia, smelling fondly of paper and ink and grease, and packed to the gills with the most fantastic lithographs and printed work as far as the eye can see.
David and Richard are the most gracious hosts, taking us gaggle of students all around the studio, explaining their artistic approach and their preferred printing process (David does mostly lithograph, whereas Richard does mainly letterpress), and answering our endless questions patiently. They've only resorted to an ever slightly menacing tone when asked how their apprentice program works (well, suffice to say I'll never be accepted here, ever).
We were fasincated by the work produced through the years here, many of which are immediately recognizable, including posters/art work for the internationally acclaimed "Mother of Californian Cuisine", Chez Panisse, the logotype of Acme Bread, Ravenswood Winery, and business cards and logos for countless businesses big and small that share the common theme of having their roots here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We had such a wonderful time that we didn't even realize we're at the end of our visit till we had our hands shaken and were kindly shown the way out. But not before we were each handed our own goodie bag, packed with parting gifts and wisdom from Richard and David!
What? You got a goodie bag?! You lucky bastard!! What's in it? Uh hmm. Can't tell you, or you'll die with jealousy! *evil chuckle*
I'll just say that what we've received today will enrich and inspire our printing endeavors for many years to come.
P.S. Oh, and yes, we did get to watch film being processed. And yes, it would have been painful if we had to watch that for 3 hours.
For more photos of this fantastic field trip, visit my Flickr album.