I got there 20 minutes early – the first to get there! I couldn't contain my excitement and totally didn't mind sitting around 3 beautiful Vandercooks for a little while, as the rest of the class gathered.
The workshop began and I was just trying to absorb it all! Paul Moxon really knows his stuff when it comes to Vandercooks. It's really about the small details, the nitty and the gritty that make the prints shine. I passed him my business card and without looking at it, he grabbed his loupe and zoomed right into the details of the printing. I panicked a bit there... I had never, ever used a loupe to check my prints! Maybe my eye sight is still okay enough to see imperfections in printing. lol. That's the first thing I learned in the workshop – that I need to get a loupe. There is so much more you can see! For instance! The business cards that printed closer to the top of my press-bed had a little bit more impression and ink at the top of the cards. The pressure of the cylinder hits the top just a bit harder, so from now on I will either move my polymer down a little bit or run a small rule line that the cylinder can hit first (which apparently helps with this sort of thing)... But really, you can't reeeeeallly see that imperfection without a loupe.
If there was just one thing I had to pick, that totally blew me away at this workshop, it would be this amazing tip for packing the cylinder; get one of those cheap-o rubber doorstops and stick it in between the top drawsheet of mylar and the rod in front of it. This keep the tympan and packing tight as you adjust and pull all the ends into place! AH-MAZING! Especially because my letterpress is so large and often times I need Justin to help me change the packing and I totally didn't do it enough because it was always such a hassle. Totally changes everything!
The second most amazing piece of workshop tip; you can use earth magnets to lock in wood type in all sorts of weird shapes! Type on a curve! How awesome is that!?!
While I was back in my old hood of the OCADU letterpress shop, I couldn't resist paying a visit with the Intertype (linotype) machine and casting a line of type. Thank goodness my good 'ol letterpress Prof from back in the day; George Walker! was there to remind me how to use it.
To make things even better; George and Paul paid a visit to my studio at the end of the second day and took a nice close look at my trusty Vandercook 320G letterpress (over some beers, of course) ;) Paul seemed pretty surprised with the good shape it's in... considering it's from 1936... but she's still kicking and running really smoothly.
It was a really great workshop and if you're serious about printing on a proof press like this is mass quantities, I highly recommend taking a workshop from Paul Moxon (if you can). You won't be disappointed. Promise.