Monday, September 20, 2010

Adventures in letterpress printing

#3: “Pied Beauty”, Gerard Manley Hopkins (the Catholic poem)

This poem is about God’s Creation- so I went through a lot of ideas with spots for imagery (given the focus of the text), and eventually settled on this one, which I think looks pretty darn good. And silver on black is always very exciting. The spots represent the spotted things in the poem, but I also wanted them to look a little bit like stars or planets, so that it wouldn’t just be like “God created spotted horses” but also “God created the whole universe and beyond!” I like my pieces to work on multiple levels...even though it's maybe not all that clear.

Choosing paper was a bit of a challenge. I was reluctant to choose a flat black because flat colors look too much like copy paper or construction paper (in my opinion), but the laid paper incident was too fresh in my mind to attempt something with any, no matter how slight, texture (such as linen). So I went with the flat black. C’est la vie.

This poem was fairly easy to complete, but again, there were some image registration problems. Here’s the progression I went through with adding packing under the block:
You’ll notice that the left side had no trouble printing from the beginning. So instead of adding pieces of paper the size of the whole block, I added half- or quarter- sheets to raise only one side of it.The final result is at the top.

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