Letterpressing Amichai’s poems

Pyramid open shot - web

Rick by Pyramid Atlantic

At long last, I have finished printing the poems for The Amichai Windows !

It is a real milestone. I have been at work for the last three months, mostly ignoring the rest of my life — exercising, gardening, reading, writing, socializing, etc.

Recently, my brother — Bruce Black — accompanied me to Pyramid Atlantic, took some photos and made a short video of me at work on one of the last poems that I did, My Son Is Drafted.

letterpress web

Bulletin board by the Vandercook printing press.

You can view the video by clicking on this link: Printing with Rick Black

Taking off - web

Removing a printed sheet

In total, I have printed close to 2,000 sheets. If you figure that for each sheet, I need to ink the “form,” or the plate, that means that I have turned the crank some 6,000 – 8,000 times over the past few months.

That’s why you’ll see an ace bandage on my hand in the video. I started getting a bone spur on the palm of my hand from turning the crank so often, so I began wrapping my hand in the bandage as a cushion. Have no fear: I can still give you a firm handshake.

Rick Black and James Quigley at Pyramid Atlantic

Rick Black and James Quigley at Pyramid Atlantic

Some of the camaraderie at Pyramid is conveyed in the shot of me with my buddy in the printing shop, James Quigley. He makes beautiful letterpress note cards through his company, Model Citizen Press, and has provided invaluable friendship, support and guidance.

I hope you’ll enjoy the video and get a sense of the care and concentration that it takes to do letterpress. By the way, the last shot of the video is an old digital spread of the first poem of the collection.

Next steps: finishing the intro, credits, colophon, etc. and assembling the book. That will entail cutting down the spreads to the correct trim size, hundreds of folds, and dozens of tip-ons that need to be glued on — and who knows what additional ideas I’ll have in the process of doing it.

But little by little . . . !

All photos and video by Bruce Black.

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June 17, 2016 · 12:56 pm

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