July 6, 2010

Sights And Smells

I remember when I first started apprenticing at Peter's shop. I would walk in and take in the veryspecificsmell that only a true working print shop has. It's ink and oil and centuries-old equipment and yes—I'm not going to lie—press cleaner. Your senses take in the smells and the sounds—each press speaking its own language, as it were. The sucker-sound of the Windmill, the churning sound of the Cylinder press, and the quick, snappy sound of the C & P. This is all part of the printing experience.
I was tidying up today and had a nice thought about how when I visit a friend's shop, I tend to look in their recycling bin to see what they've been up to. Always the finished product is so lovely, but as a fellow printer it's fun to see how they arrived to this point. An archeological dig, of sorts. I thought about my own studio and if you were to look in my recycling bin, you'd see a few versions of a raspberry ink color, printed on paper until it was just right. You'll see a few misses, where the registration was not quite right. There are off-cuts of papers and envelope liners and layers of all that goes into what my clients eventually get to see.
When I was a beginner, I was always dazzled by every single piece that came off of the press. There's so much that goes into printing before the paper is fed; careful design and platemaking or linoleum-cut making or hand-setting of the type. This is a very deliberate craft and I don't want to forget this feeling. In trying to recapture this, I took a snap of my dirty press and my waste bin (as of this morning). While I can't offer the sounds and smells through the web, please enjoy these quiet stills. It's all part of the process.


deerseason87 said...

I still say that the smell of Peter's shop is what made me want to be a printer. Oh, and the countless pieces of paper I salvaged from the recycling bin, thinking that they couldn't be simply thrown away...

Kannan said...

Good blog is yours.