I've spent a lot of time in the last few days playing with letterpress. It's been a while since I could do some of my own stuff, rather than printing for other people. I love the process, and I love getting my hands on the actual letters, but then after a few hours I start to think how much easier I could do the job with a computer and a printer.
Especially on days like today, when I braved the tarp-covered depths of my type collection in the garage awaiting the magic day when we build a studio. I'm printing labels for my handbound sketchbooks on a little desk-top press bought a number of years ago from a bushy man whom I mentally call Mad Merv from Mittagong. Today I moved a tray of type and pulled a muscle in my neck, bringing back memories of when I bought the type and the press and my dad did his back in helping me load his ute to bring it all home. And the day when I bought more type and a Vandercook proofing press and needed four big men, a truck and a hydraulic lift to get it into the garage (where it's been living in sin with a lovely blue tarp, and will stay there for a while yet).
Letterpress is not for the weak or the bad of back. It is for people who like jigsaw puzzles that fall apart at the slightest movement before being locked together, people who don't care about nice-looking nails and people who can lift a heavy wooden drawer full of metal type from a below-the-knees position. Some days I am one of those people, and other days I am not. Today I'm looking forward to a hot soak, some Tiger Balm, and a few hours on the computer setting type the easy way.
Oh -- and happy birthday, crazybrave...