Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some non-fiber craftiness, Part I

(Apologies in advance if you only come here for knitting/spinning content. This is not in any way related to fiber, but it is crafty.)

Ok, now that that's out of the way, today I wanted to share something with you all that I learned how to do about 7 years ago, did once, and decided to incorporate into the wedding.

Back in the day, I was attending UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate (insert jokes about no grades and naked hippies here). In my junior year I started having enough space in my schedule to take electives that weren't related to my major or that strictly fit within any general education guidelines. In one of the best decisions I ever made, I took a class called "Book Arts", offered by the art department. The class met in a garage on campus filled with old presses, galleys of type, and the most massive industrial paper cutter I've ever seen. There were 8 of us enrolled, and the course was taught by an awesome gentleman who celebrated his 90th birthday that quarter. It was a class unlike any other I've taken, before or after.

We learned how to set type, mix ink, and print on a real press. Every week, our professor would bring in a few selections from his collection of rare books to illustrate a particular aspect of bookmaking or printing. Our final project of the semester was to create a poster or broadside, and I decided to do a poster for The Silmarillion, which I was reading at the time. I was fascinated by the two trees that gave light to the Valar in Valinor.

I selected a typeface that fit with the book:

Silmarillion Print

And designed a large tree image that dominates the poster:

Silmarillion Print

I wanted to include the names of the two trees, Telperion and Laurelin, in the print, but in elvish script. I remember it took a bit of effort to copy out the text while holding my sketch up to a mirror:

Silmarillion Text

Silmarillion Print

Carving the tree and words out of a large wood-mounted block of linoleum took a week or two, once I had the design all worked out. It's one of the most classically artistic things I've ever made, and I made enough prints to give out as gifts to my friends and family. My folks had a frame made, and got me a frame for my copy of the print as well.

Silmarillion Print

Ever since then, I've sought out letterpress work (which has made quite a revival in recent years), and always assumed one day I'd make another linocut print, but the opportunity never presented itself, until we got engaged. But more on that next time!

1 comment:

Imran said...

God. I love the way this print looks in the living room by the by.