Letterpress Fail

I’ve been working on a new line of photo albums for…wait for it…dogs.

Not for actual dogs, but for their owners. Dogs don’t take pictures – that’s just silly.

And yes, I’m well aware that I’m working on this project now because I have my own dog. My own super-awesome, rocking Wiggum.

The plan was to make use of my time in the letterpress studio at Dartmouth. The concept was to use a variety of wood type to spell out assorted dog-ish words, all crammed together. Then I’d print it without ink (blind letterpress), imprinting the words into handmade paper. The paper would be used to cover photo albums.

Still with me? Great. 🙂

So last week, I spent 1.5 hours setting type – the word of the day was “arf”.

Wood letterpress type


Sadly, the blind letterpress didn’t work, so I had to go for ink.

Wood letterpress type in the press

Blue is pretty.

And then…and then…fail.

For whatever reason, the type couldn’t get through the press. One of the typefaces was too high.

And then I got to clean up.

Hands covered in ink

Introducing…Elissa of Blue Hand Designs

And put all the type away, which I actually enjoyed.

Even though I don’t have anything tangible to show for my work, it was totally worth it. I love the process – setting type is rather meditative.

I haven’t scrapped the dog album idea – I’m still using letterpress, but I’m going for something less complex. Stay tuned!

4 Responses to “Letterpress Fail”

By Amanda - 18 April 2012 Reply

I love this idea! (Altho’ I am secretly waiting for the cat albums to appear). Glad you can be philosophical about the lack of an end result, and I do hope there’s nothing toxic in that blue ink? I guess if it’s safe enough for the Blue Men
group, it’ s safe for you!

By Elissa - 24 April 2012 Reply

Amanda –

I always knew in the back of my mind that I was probably being too ambitious with my first project. I think the revamped concept will end up looking better.


By jkessica - 26 April 2012 Reply

I am looking forward for the success of your first project. I thought you have a difficult beginning but it is only a start. It is normal to try trial and error to get the perfect result.

By Elissa - 10 May 2012 Reply

jkessica –

I have a ridiculous tendency to expect perfection at all times – even when I’m doing something for the first time. Letterpress is going to take a while to get a hang of, so I’m working on keeping my expectations in check.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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