Kerry and I bought ourselves an introductory class in letterpress and bookbinding techniques at Winnipeg's Martha Street Studio for Christmas. The sessions began later in January, just wrapping up last week. It was an invaluable experience for myself – I've always wanted to plant my butt at Martha Street and get dirty doing something decidedly un-digital. That it was something the two of us could share made it all the more sweet. The place kicks ass.
The basic bookbinding stitch techniques we learned bent my brain into a pretzel – always a sure sign that I'm learning something. I'm now unashamed to admit I had never needle-and-stringed anything before, beyond coasting through one term of a junior high home-ec class on charm and procrastination. Though I didn't exactly master the skill, I can at least be a tiny bit pro about it now and say hey, the stab stitch is my favourite stitch.
I was more enamoured with using the ink, chase, quoins and other old-timey tools of my trade with the presses. Again, all very basic stuff in this class – which was ideal. Scrounging through the studio's trays of type I found a face I liked, and set to work making these flash-cards – for lack of a better word – to underline yet-to-be-created illustrations I'd create to hopefully match. These pieces eventually became a quartet of simple, geometric – and above all, hand-made – cards featuring two-toned songbirds, shaded in brown and black for Illustration Friday's current theme of shades.
No computers were consulted/harmed/touched/even thought about, in the creation of these pieces.