Showing posts from 2012

A vintage little Christmas

I'm sure with all of my obsessing over typewriters, you would imagine my Christmas list to look something like this:

Sadly, it's actually much more like this:

I am a 26-year old woman, it is 2012, and, yes, I really want a good vacuum cleaner for Christmas this year. Thanks, Santa.

There and back again: a type-in tale

No, I have not been out to see the new movie adaptation of The Hobbit yet. I have been busy recovering from my own adventure. Did I tell you about it? Maybe you read about it all on Scribbling Glue or the Literary House blog. Thread Lock Press's first-ever event, a collaboration with Annie of Scribbling Glue, called "Type-In Type-Out": Chestertown's first type-in and letter-writing social, finally happened! If you were unlucky enough to have missed this crazy night, let me share some of it with you now.

After months of preparation, the big day arrived and we were ready. Annie and I showed up at Evergrain Bread Company at 4:00pm--our cars full to overflowing with typewriters, mailart supplies, typewriter and letter-writing ephemera, books about typewriters and famous correspondences and mailart, custom letterpress type-in stationery, and everything else we could think of--to begin setting up for the big event. It took us a little maneuvering to settle in to our space, …

A History in Six Couplets

Another fabulous perk of my new job? Getting to assist in designing (and even printing) the famous Literary House Press letterpress-printed broadsides commemorating visiting writers. Last Tuesday, December 4, the lovely poet and translator Idra Novey came to give a poetry reading at the Lit House as part of our Jewish Voices series. Her most recent poetry collection is Exit, Civilian(2012). We chose to create a broadside of her poem "A History in Six Couplets" from her book The Next Country(2008). 

For her broadside, I was hands-on in the design process. How hands-on? I got to carve the linoleum block of this broken city skyline! To say, I love my job, seems an understatement at this point.

For more details about the process (and a few pictures by my wonderful co-worker, Owen Bailey), here's a post I wrote for the Lit House blog: "Behind the Scenes: Creating a Lit House Press broadside."

Type-In Type-Out: Chestertown's first type-in & letter-writing social

It's finally here! In just three days, Annie and I will be throwing our big party and you are all invited. 

Presenting . . .

TYPE-IN TYPE-OUT Chestertown's first type-in & letter-writing social
First Friday, 7 December 2012 5:00-8:00pm
 Evergrain Bread Company 201-203 High Street Chestertown, Maryland

A flock of typewriters (Hildegard, Hermione, Hannelore, and Heloise) will be on hand and open for use. Anyone who owns a typewriter is warmly invited to bring it along to this social typing event.
Letterpress-printed stationery created especially for this event will be provided, as well as envelopes and mailart supplies.
Bring your curiosity and be ready to laugh. Make art, play with words, meet people, and enjoy. Walk away with a renewed sense of community and connection, as well as typewritten and handmade creations.
So, if all of that was not convincing enough, "it's the in thing" according to this vintage Smith Corona advertisement for portable electric typewriters. See y…

Christmas for the letter-writer: an idea list

Spreading the word about my upcoming collaborative event has taught me quite a bit about the people in and around my small town: there are lots of typewriter and letter-writing enthusiasts out there! More than I would have thought in this small population set. I guess not everyone is as loud or obsessive as I am (or Annie is), but that doesn't mean they enjoy these things any less. 

With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a Christmas gift idea list for the letter-writer in your life:

1. Oversize envelope clutch
    (from Pansy Bag)

I adore the colors and design of this perfectly simple, large clutch purse from Pansy Bag. You can never have too many envelopes.

2. Postcup, postcard mug
    (from Bailey Doesn't Bark)

What letter-writer doesn't enjoy a hot cup of tea? Especially this time of year. This mug from Bailey Doesn't Bark comes with a porcelain pen that you use to fill in the postcard template. Just inscribe, bake, and put the kettle the on.

3. Simple typewriter…

Holiday sale (er, sell-out?)

So, I guess I'm participating in this Black Friday-Cyber Monday hoopla. I've decided to offer FREE SHIPPING on all items in my Etsy shop from Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26. Just use the coupon code TLPXMAS12.

In addition, I will be listing "The Girls Friday," Typewriter Trading Card Set sooner than previously promised. To have them available in time for holiday shoppers, these limited edition artist trading cards will be available to purchase starting Friday!

Do you have any special writers (or readers) in your life that are difficult to shop for? Have they exhibited an appreciation for obsolete technologies? If they do not yet have a working typewriter, get them one! There has been quite the typewriter renaissance over the past couple of years, and supplies such as ink ribbons are not as hard to find as you might think. 

Once they are equipped with their very own working typewriter, come see me for some great typewriter stocking gifts! Get them a cust…

Acceptable reasons to cry in public

I contributed a measly $10 to this Kickstarter project called "Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public," a public grassroots letterpress broadside art installation, and in return I got these four gorgeous posters, complete with letterpress-printed QR codes--one to keep, three to post in public spaces. Working at a college, I feel I am in a place full of people--students and faculty--who are forever on the verge of emotional breakdown; and these people seem especially in need of the consolation that weall cry in public sometimes. My own life this past four or five years has been littered with these glittering moments. It's genuine  and tragic and kind, and in the end, it's also funny. I loved being able to be a tiny part of this project. 

After brainstorming with a few friends, I decided my chosen venues would be public bathrooms around the Washington College campus--ladies' bathrooms in particular. Isn't that where all of us girls prefer to do our public crying?


Cozy Christmas for a Typewriter

"Question: What is the one Christmas present designed for use by every member of the family except infants, which can be used daily the whole year round and which will last a lifetime with a minimum of care? Answer: A typewriter."

"Typewriter Sales Offers Perfect Christmas Gift,"The Victoria Advocate, 26 November 1962.

Yes, this ad is 50 years old. But over the past few years, typewriter ownership has been on the rise once again. Have you noticed?

So my question is: Do you know someone who's getting a typewriter for Christmas this year? Maybe you are getting someone a typewriter for Christmas. You know what that typewriter is probably missing? A kitschy fabric typewriter cozy from Thread Lock Press. I make custom typewriter covers for every typewriter, starting at $40. And you won't be able to find these anywhere else!

If you want me to make you a custom typewriter cozy for Christmas, just send me a message with your typewriter's dimensions and I'll ge…

NaNoWriMo: Poetry Edition

Yes, I do know that there is an established NaPoWriMo during the month of April to give poets a share in the longstanding November tradition of National Novel Writing Month. But I was too distracted, exhausted, and (yes) lazy this past April to do my poetic duties of writing a poem a day for 30 days. So, to make up for it, I am observing this marathon alongside the novelists right now

Since I am very eager to get myself back firmly-saddled on the poetry-writing-horse, I will do my very best to stick to this strict regimen. A good way to go about this? Rope a friend into doing it with you and you've got accountability. Emma and I are sending our daily poem attempts back and forth. So far, so good.

The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review

My two poems "Women and Children First" and "Red market" are in the Fall 2012 issue of The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review! These two were accepted just about a year ago, when this literary magazine was still known as Moon Milk Review. This is my second magazine publication. Keep writing and submitting and writing and submitting.

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Eckleburg Issue #17!!!

Thinking and driving

One of the fabulous perks of my new job: meeting contemporary writers on a regular basis as we host them for readings or lectures at the Literary House. A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting Dylan Landis, author of the novel-in-stories Normal People Don't Live Like This. As tends to happen when a successful writer comes to visit an undergrad Creative Writing program, during the Q&A following the reading, a student asked the dreaded what-advice-would-you-give-to-aspiring-writers question.  

Is it mean that I always cringe a little on the inside when this question is asked? I mean how many different ways can a writer be expected to iterate the same basic principles? Write early and often.But Dylan offered up something refreshing on that same theme. Her advice was very specific and addressed that most nagging problem: time management. 

1. Set your alarm an hour earlier in the morning, and use that hour to write before the obligations of the day ahead begin. 
As sound as tha…

A festivus for the press(ed) of us

Because I no longer have to work weekends (thanks to my new job), I was able to make an excursion to Oak Knoll Fest XVII in New Castle, Delaware. Here are a few of my favorite things from the exhibition on Saturday, October 6, 2012.

1. Sherwin Beach Press(Chicago, Illinois) :

The first table to stop me in my tracks. In particular their limited edition fine press book Poisonous Plants at Table: an artistic compilation of two pre-existing texts and an exclusive third text. It includes selections from a 1901 text called Poisonous Plants in Field and Garden by the Reverend Professor G. Henslow, along with creatively inserted party menus from a previous Poisonous Plants at Table by Dr. E. Coffin (pun intended?), that use the aforementioned poisonous plants in the serving of meals to guests. 

Even stopping here, this book absolutely reflects my own dark, Edward Gorey-esque sense of humor. But then there was the exclusive third text written specifically for this book project by the author, illu…

Stationery for your portable (typewriter)

My next mini-project in preparing for my Type-In & Letter-Writing Social co-hosted with Scribbling Glue, was to letterpress some type-able special-event stationery. I had some great paper scraps from a previous broadside printing that were begging to be used. I mean, these are decently-sized Rives BFK scraps I'm talking about here. Plus, whatever other paper bits I could find.

Annie (of Scribbling Glue) came by this weekend to try her hand at some printing, so we got going on this project. I set a line of text to commemorate the event alongside a kitschy little typist block (in the picture above). 

I think she had fun, don't you? I am very pleased with how the stationery turned out. I even gave it a little typing test, the morning after. 

We are getting really, really, really excited for "Type-In Type-Out." Are you?

Nesting (again)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post titled "Nesting" when I was preparing the space in my living room for the printing press that would soon be arriving. Since then, my press has moved-in and moved across the room (which required the assistance of two able-bodied men). Now, I find myself nesting once again, but this time the space is for me--in my new lavender office on the second floor of The Rose O'Neill Literary House.

My first day I brought Hermione (my baby blue Royal Futura) and a small potted succulent (a kalanchoe--that should be relatively difficult to kill) in with me. Both Hermione and the invincible, unnamed office plant live on a small window-side end table. But there are still lavender walls to be decorated. So I did a little shopping...

1. "Creative & Curious" screenprinted felt pennant
I discovered Uppercase magazine a couple months ago and fell in love with it almost immediately. I adore their motto: "a magazine for the creative and …

Interrupting your regularly scheduled program

My new favorite discovery in the independent publishing world, hands down, is UPPERCASE magazine. Their tagline--"the magazine for the creative & curious"--grabbed me by the gut right away (that may not sound like a pleasant sensation, but it was). It is one of those objects that is so much more an idea (but still so tangible) that I don't know how else to describe it properly except to point you right back to their tagline. Today, I am excited and flattered and humbled and proud to be given the spotlight on the UPPERCASE magazine blog for their typewriter-themed Friday series, "Girl Friday." Read it!

Printer's Devils, Apprentices, Journeymen

I have often wondered about what the appropriate title would be for someone like me, in regards to letterpress printing. To ever become a Master Printer (like my wonderful teacher, Mike Kaylor), you have to complete a full-on apprenticeship of about seven years under another Master Printer, and that's just the beginning. 

I completed the free workshops offered at my alma mater, Washington College, and continued working in the Print Shop just for fun my last year of undergrad. I even occasionally came back to work on projects of my own or to help with what ever Lit House Press printing projects I happened to walk in on (that sounds a bit more scandalous than it ever actually was). Then, I got my own press at home and have been operating that for a year now as Thread Lock Press (for which I've had two commissions thus far, and another in the works).

So, during my first real day at the new job, settling into my well-windowed office in The Rose O'Neill Literary House, I was look…

The Girls Friday

Because packaging is the first impression, I spent my free time this week creating some attractive (and book-like) envelopes for my typewriter trading card sets. I wasn't sure what sort of packaging I wanted for them at first, so I did some looking around at different options. I settled on a template for an Artist Trading Card Envelope that I found on Mirkwood Designs (they have great templates for all sorts of paper-folding projects, including one for a Library Card Book Pocket).I had to adjust the measurements to fit my cards because I made them a little bit larger than the standard 2.5 x 3.5" trading cards.

I measured out the envelope template on a manila folder because it would give the envelope sturdiness, and then cut it out. Then, I glued the envelope to the back of some beautiful printed papers from Paper Mojo. After the envelope template was covered with the decorative paper, I folded the tabs down, creased them well with my bone folder, and glued them in place.

Then I…

Collect 'em all

Limited-edition typewriter trading cards from Thread Lock Press! 

So far there are three different typewriter characters for this card series, and each has two color variations. And, yes these are all my own typewriters (and, yes, I really do call them by name). Each card is equipped with a photo of the typewriter, categorized "Stats" text typed on the same machine named on the card, and a vintage advertisement. So far, we have:




This was a very fun project. Because of the research and tinkering I had to do, I feel like I know my machines so much better than I did before. One neat thing I noticed was how much the typeface varies from machine to machine. Did you see that too? These typewriters certainly have their own personalities.

I will debut these cards and sets at my type-in and letter-writing social on December 7 in Chestertown. After that, I plan to put them up in my Etsy shop.

So long and thanks for all the fish

Soon, I leave the grueling 7-day work-week library-assistant-bakery-girl life behind me. On September 20, I will be the new Assistant Director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College. Working under and alongside Director (and poet) Jehanne Dubrow, I will be helping to plan and execute a series of literary events for each semester (including the summer), as well as keeping the house itself (which includes a fully-operational letterpress print shop) in shape. There will be writers' readings, conversations on craft, lectures on academic literary ventures. I can't wait. I will miss my library and bakery friends deeply, but I can't think of any place I'd rather work than the Lit House. I am still attempting to suspend my disbelief.

P.S. The photo above is the gift of congratulations I received from my dear friend (and fellow co-worker of 6+ years) Annie of Scribbling Glue, with whom I am planning an event called "Type-In Type-Out": Chestertown&…