Printing with Grandma

by Kelly on November 7, 2014

in Family,Kate

Kate asked Grandma for a printing date for her birthday, so last Sunday they spent the day together. Here’s Grandma’s recap.

Next in line at The Windowpane Press

Kate printing

Last Sunday, Kate and I arranged a day in the studio working on a book together. We talked about it in advance, used one of her books as a model for coming up with a simple text and wrote out a few lines.

First, we made a model of the book. As I held the composing stick, she helped select the letters using the lay of the California Job Case to find each character. As I set up the press, she played with my Pez collection. Then she operated the Vandercook (backwards). I would say that she printed about 40% of the book. As she got proficient on one part of the operation, she asked to do yet another. She was watching to make sure that the cylinder tripped at the end of the press, she opened the grippers by stepping on the pedal, she engaged the grippers by hitching the handle back and then she walked backwards to print. It was easier to get the handle in motion that way.

After a lunch break, she was ready to go again. I kept the needles threaded and tied the knots to make sure everything was tight, but she sewed at least half of the edition of 30 books. It was all I could do to keep up with her. Each time she picked up a book, she talked to herself out loud to remind her what the next step was….”start on the outside, go to the other hole, hold the pages tight, &c.”

Even though some of her energy flagged a bit, she stayed on task and finished printing and sewing about 30 books all in about 6 hours.

Kate sewing

It was one of the best days ever in my shop!


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