The off-season is all about embracing life outside triathlon… because yes, it does indeed exist. In addition to my November goals (creating and kombucha!), I’ve had one email in my inbox for a couple months: Fall letterpress classes. Letterpress has long intrigued me… its history and vintage flare, the classic fonts and type, the impression on heavy paper, creating by hand. Years ago, I found some vintage type at an antique store, bought because of my love of letters. And, forget Hallmark cards; I’m all about letterpress for all occasions.
Anyway, I kept coming back to that email, and at the last minute, I signed up for the five-hour class at Fontlove Studio in Uptown Minneapolis. And, last Sunday afternoon, bright November sunshine streaming through the studio’s large picture windows, owner Elana Schwartzman explained the letterpress basics. Her overview of the history and the creative design process was enough for me to know I’d love my own vintage press, type, type cases, galleys and composing sticks (and, yes, I’ve been scouring Craigslist and eBay).
Following her overview, my four classmates and I set our own type in a lockup – first as a group (each picking the name of the street we grew up on and our favorite ice cream flavor… can you guess mine?) and then individually.
I took to Pinterest for some quote inspiration and settled on a hybrid: be grateful / be brave / smile often / travel / work hard / be kind / and love.
The start was a bit overwhelming, deciding on fonts – century schoolbook and futura – and adjusting the kerning and leading, but I loved fitting the puzzle together, creating minus a computer screen, black ink on my hands, the weight of the lead type, feeling the press roll over the white paper and peeling it off the type to reveal the finished print. I love the endless possibilities that lie in heavy drawers of type, just waiting to be put together and pressed on paper.
When the afternoon started, I thought five hours would be far too much time for the class. However, 6p rolled around in a blink, and I was sad to see it end. (Now, if I could just find my own tabletop letterpress!)
Thank you, Elena, for sharing and spreading your letterpress love!