07 October 2009

PMS-197: Girls and Ink

The Pantone Matching System--not the PMS you were thinking, right? This is the system that assigns numbers to letterpress ink colors (and also identifies the components of standard ink colors that make up each numbered shade or tint). Emily and I finished our printing on Sunday, which required delving into more than just standard black rubber-based ink we've using to print Sleight's text. To print the lovely logo Emily carved on our full title page, we needed two colors. The first and lighter color would be applied to the uncarved linoleum block of the same dimensions as our Thread Lock logo (PMS-197). The second, much darker color would be applied to the carved block (PMS-202)--so the carved-away recesses show up in the first color and the uncarved background in the second. Now the deep maroon ink that is PMS-202 we actually found pre-mixed on Mike's print shop-shelves, but the elusive PMS-197 we had to mix ourselves. Sadly, I am an idiot and forgot to bring my camera to the shop that day, so I have no pictures to show of the actual ink-mixing process which is quite pretty and, of course, very colorful. But let me try my poetic powers at this and attempt to describe this ink-mixing experience.


The recipe for PMS-197 was something like 14 parts Transparent White (we substituted Opaque White here because we couldn't find any transparent--no pun intended), 1.5 parts Rubine Red (as opposed to Warm Red which is more orange-ish), and 0.5 parts Yellow. Once I had slopped these approximate amounts on the glass palette with my ink knife, I began to stir them carefully. It looked a bit like globs of thickened mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard swirling together, almost taffy-like in texture. The yellow ink kept seeming to streak through my mixture after I was sure I had thoroughly redistributed all three colors. I would turn over a fold of bubble-gum medicine concentrate and there would be hiding another independent-minded stream of yellow ink. Emily actually suggested adding a bit more than the recommended half part of yellow to get a more ideal color--I guess it's persistence won her over. In the end, we got a creamy strawberry-medicine color of ink (I always preferred that flavor to bubblegum, but sadly I was allergic). I did manage to get pictures of the results of our ink-mixing experiment.


Next week, we will begin folding pages and sewing our books. We will be using the coptic stitch method, sewing the front and back covers to the text block so that we can have that raw exposed spine. Who wants to do all that intricate sewing if it's just going to be covered up with paper and glue? Here's a practice book I did:


I suppose it's kind of girly for me to actually like sewing, but I can't help it. It's relaxing and creative all at once, and I guess I am a girl after all.