Mountains and Banners: March Wedding Invitation #1

Although the bulk of the business at Monkey-Rope Press is artist-driven prints and books rather than commissioned work, I readily admit that I really enjoy working on wedding invitations. I am reminded of a friend who has worked an absurd diversity of jobs--from fixing cages at a chicken factory to moving furniture for the military, and now as a college professor--who said his favorite job was his year working as a flower delivery man. He loved getting to spend his whole day making people happy. Who isn't delighted to receive flowers?

Similarly, it is a pleasure to get to bask in the ambient happiness that surrounds the planning of a wedding. The couple who commissioned this invitation are avid hikers, campers and national park enthusiasts and, though they live in Chicago, they are getting married in their home town in full view of the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire. I was excited to get to use these elements in designing the print.

These 5" x 7" four-color invitations and 3" x 5" RSVP cards were printed at Evanston Print and Paper Shop on a Vandercook proof press using hand-carved linoleum blocks, including hand-carved text. The print process went smoothly, with only a slight registration hiccup when I discovered that one of the linoleum blocks was not cut straight. I put a few lead slugs on the corners to twist the uneven block so I could lock it up square; the fix worked, and I could move forward without a second thought. (Every printmaker is a secret MacGyver.) I'm very proud of how it turned out. All the happiness in the world to Tim and Natalie!

Next week is March Wedding Invitation #2, a 5-color, 2-sided 8.5" x 11" poster!


More Powerful Than Ever

As a person who makes visual work, I consume an embarrassing quantity of audio media. Have I listened to every episode of 30 Rock at least 5 times? Yes. Do I power through years of weekly podcast archives with impressive speed? Absolutely. Each page of "In the Sounds and Seas: Volume 2" took 16-20 hours of illustration; just this weekend I was in the studio printing the cover, walking the rollers of the press over the blocks for 12 hours solid. What's a lady to do but queue up a marathon of her favorite radio shows?

Earlier this month my favorite podcast, Jordan Jesse GO, put out a call for work inspired by Jesse Thorn's personal theme for 2012: "More Powerful than Ever: GOING APE." The timing for this couldn't have been more ideal: I am sending my 2nd book to press next week; I am attending a number of small press events this spring and summer, trying my damnedest to get this dream-project I've worked so hard on out into the world; and not only that, I'm entering my peak age-27 season in less than two weeks. The stars have aligned: Monkey-Rope Press is going to crush our enemies. Haters to the left, 'cause this mess is gonna get raw like sushi.

Moved by this call to action, I printed a poster featuring hand-set antique wood type and a hand-carved original relief illustration. Available in a limited edition of 60, this 12.5" x 19" charcoal gray and metallic silver print is for sale on the Monkey-Rope Press etsy page for only $20. Prepare to inspire your allies and intimidate your enemies: we're going ape.

In gratitude for the hours of entertainment, inspiration and wisdom I've gleaned from all of the podcasts in the Maximum Fun universe, I will donate half of all proceeds from the sales of this print to support Do yourself a favor and subscribe to Bullseye, JJGo, Judge John Hodgman and the other great shows produced by Maximum Fun.



Printing the Cover: In the Sounds and Seas Vol 2

One step closer to a finished Volume 2: a generous edition of 200 covers are printed! I had hoped to fit both pattern blocks onto the press bed for the work and turn, but the fit was too tight to print well. So much for saving time! The dark patterns on the inside and outside of the cover are printed in a mix of black & metalic silver ink, and the title is metalic silver. Next step: taking the cover paper and the digital files for the book to the offset studio for printing and finishing. Color me one happy but exhausted print maker.


Volume 2: So close!

Printing the cover of Volume 2 this weekend and sending the files to press next week. Not ready for a victory lap yet, but it is exciting to see the finish line!


Rough Scans: Two Spreads of Volume 2