For my creative engagement piece, I decided to do a project where I have to make a piece of stationary advertising a new fashion business. Part of my challenge was to incorporate sewing vintage clothes into the paper in my design. In order to make this process unique, I decided to use the printing press in the Honor’s College building. Unfortunately for me I was unable to use it completely because the machine did not have packing on it’s cylinder. Instead I had to use a roller method, in which I applied ink to the type directly. After applying the ink very liberally, I pressed a piece of paper against the type so that the color saturated the page. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the usual effect. My print is fairly sloppy, but I see it as adding to the vintage style of my entire project. With the first part of my project done, I needed to figure out how I was going to get a sewn piece of fabric onto my paper. I decided to call my good friend, Liz, and she helped me apply a star to my piece of stationary. It took me a little while to get the hang of sewing, because the paper is really think and not meant for needles, but I eventually created something worth making.
I really want to talk about the printing process, even though I did not successfully run a print. The first step is to write out what you are trying to spell, and then put the type onto a composing stick. When using the composing stick place the letters upside down and backwards. This will leave the opposite impression when the paper is being run through the machine. Then you need to set your form on the bed of the press. This means placing all the type onto the long metal part of the machine. Next you need to make sure that the type does not move while you are printing. Therefore, you use “furniture” and “quoins” to make the type snug in the bed of the press. Once the type is snug, you can put rubber based, oil based, or acrylic ink onto the ink roller. Less is definitely more when it comes to this step. After applying ink, turn on the ink roller switch to spread the ink evenly over the rollers. Once the ink is properly spread you can begin taking proofs of your image. Start by interesting low quality paper into the grippers by using the gripper pedal located at the bottom of the machine. Once the paper is firmly gripped by the machine, turn the cylinder handle to move the cylinder and paper down the track. Once you’ve reached the end of the track, grab the paper from the machine and roll the cylinder back. Observe wear the print was made and adjust the “side guide” and “furniture” to center the text differently. If the image was not clear enough, add more ink or more packing to the cylinder. Make sure to only use quality paper when you get a proof that you like. The picture on the left is what I made for this project. The picture to the right shows how a cleaner print would look.