polymer plates

Vanity Project

I had these polymer plates on my desk for about 8 months collecting dust and finally had a chance to get the printing done with my partner, Mystic Multiples. My supply of beautiful business cards is now replenished. The cards are 4 color letterpress on Cranes Letra 220lb. I love the overlays and depth of impression on the card face. I think there’s something Sailor Moon-esque happening here ;D










youtube

I’ve started printing!  I have much more to say about that later–and a lot of pictures to sort through–so in the meantime, here’s video of me printing on the Vandercook press!

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Book Arts Spotlight: Marvel Grégoire

This month, leading up to the Book Art Biennial, we’re featuring local book artists and recently acquired artists’ books in the Book Arts and Fine Press Collection. Special Collections recently acquired the latest work by Marvel Grégoire, “Contre-Chant Vert”, which features letter-pressed text and photo-polymer plate illustrations on abaca paper made by the artist. The book is printed in an edition of 5, each bound and contained in a handmade box.

1. How did you become involved with book arts? / What appeals to you about the book format?

Marvel: I became involved with book arts about ten years ago when I took a class at MCBA in box making. This class led to others when in 2008 I became a member of the MCBA Co-op. This allowed me certain privileges in using the equipment and facilities at MCBA to do my work. I enjoy letterpress printing and its connections to bookmaking. I also like the idea of a single author process where I can be the writer, creative designer, printer and binder of my work. Some of my books also involve handmade paper. The book as an artform is very appealing in that it is small, can be hand held and appreciated up close, and hopefully provides a more intimate experience for the reader.

2. Much of your work is inspired by nature or the human body. What draws you to these themes?

Marvel: I am drawn to connections between all things. Nature, with its beauty and many complexities, provides me with subject matter and is often a metaphor for life and its many questions. For example, how and where we choose to spend our time, how we relate to others and to our surroundings, how we understand ourselves, and how we plan for the future.

3. There’s a delicate, whisper-like quality to many of your pieces. In what ways do the materials affect the reader?

Marvel: Materials are an intricate part of the aesthetic of my work. I always remember talking about ‘le fond and la forme’ in literature classes. The idea of keeping a tight relationship between the content of a book and its style is very important to me. I think about each piece in these terms. I prefer a certain softness in my work due to its conceptual nature. One way to communicate this is through the choice of paper and colors. I love to use handmade paper. It appeals to touch as well as to the eye.

More about Marvel and her work: Born and raised in Minnesota, I am a retired French teacher and currently a docent at the Walker Art Center and member of the MCBA Co-op. My interest in the arts has paralleled my career over the years, experimenting across disciplines in painting, watercolor, photography and sculpture through degree programs and adult education at the U of M. My first books, miniature French vocabulary books, were like tiny sculptures with text. The letterpress book appeals to me as a multidisciplinary art form, incorporating the visual with the word, something that can be touched and held intimately. For the past few years I have made limited edition books, broadsides and sculptural books from start to finish. I often make my own paper and incorporate the sheets in my projects. My work reflects the intersection of rural and urban experiences along with the personal questions in my life. How do we relate to others? How do we relate to our surroundings? How do we nurture those relationships over time? How do we envision the future? I try to complete at least one book project a year. Currently I am working on a book of photogravure prints about place and identity, called ‘Where I am’.

_______________

Visit HCL Special Collections to view Marvel’s books in the Book Arts and Fine Press Collection.

Explore trends in contemporary book arts through workshops, lectures, panel conversations, exhibitions, and a gala celebration and awards ceremony at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts’ Book Art Biennial, July 23-26, 2015.

Planning and Discussions

Yesterday, I managed to meet with all three of my advisers for this project (two of which are actually my academic advisers.)  First, I stopped by Bernie’s office to ask about the printing of my project.  

Last year, one of my classmates had trouble printing the lat part of her book because the type she was using wore down.  The quality of the printing lessened, and it halted most of her project.  If I’m going to be setting type, that will be an issue.  Luckily, I won’t have to set type for my entire book.  

I asked Bernie about getting polymer plates made of my book.  He showed me some examples of them; they’re flexible and can be attached to a board so that they’re the correct height for the printing press.  The ones Bernie had were blue, and the text was gold.  I can send a word document of my project to a company that will make the polymer plates for me.  That definitely saves me from the stress of setting type and having it wear down.

Second, I stopped by Coach’s office.  Yesterday was the day we decided that I would hand in the drafts of my prose poems.  I talked about some things I want to change (such as the point of view of one of the poems) but wasn’t sure how I would go about it.  Coach says he’ll look them over and hand the drafts back to me next Thursday.  That means I’ll have all of break to make my final edits.  

Third, I met with Erik to talk about the marketing of my project.  I’m working on creating a graphic to put on the UMM web page.  I’m also going to have to start posting this on my own Facebook to advertise what I’m doing.  This is all pretty nerve wracking, but I do think this pressure will help me propel my project forward.

I have another idea for a binding, but I’ll post about that later once I have my mock-up made.  (Sometimes ideas look better in my head than they do when created.)

Things are moving forward and I’m pretty excited.  I honestly feel like things are getting underway. 

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The Printing Process: Part 1

I’ve begun printing!  (And, as of this posting, I have finished printing.)

Before I even started printing, I drew up a template.  The template noted the margins of my pages so that I could compare what I had set onto the press.

I also had to cut out the polymer plates.  The polymer plates came in one big sheet, so I needed to cut each individual page out.  Below the polymer plates is my page planning–that is, which plates go together for my printing.

I don’t exactly work neatly… This is my work space, as I cut my polymer plates and planned the order of my printing.  

Printing on the press takes a lot of planning, even if you aren’t hand-setting type.  Cutting out the plates took a lot longer than I had expected. 

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