There are few times I've ever experienced as strange of a sensation as I did this weekend. There was the time that I dreamed I was in my grandfather's hospital bed, suffocating by some invisible force, and I was woken by the call from the hospital that he had just passed - cardiorespiratory shut down, as a result of a month-long last stand against cancer. There was the time four months later I had a very similar experience prior to finding out my grandmother had passed, as well. This time, it was a similar experience - not sad, but still emotional, while also feeling somewhat out-of-body with a look towards the future...
... and it was all brought on by a Vandercook No. 4 press.
I'd been on a Vandercook before - it's not like it was entirely new to me, although I had been rusty since the last time I used a letterpress, about 2 years ago. This machine, however, was in far better shape. It's so cliché, but between the smell of inks, hum of the press, and the rythmic turning of the press levers, I was so zen. That's when I decided that sometime, not necessarily in the future, but sometime, this had to be what I did for a living, period.
This all happened while taking a class at Minnesota Center for Book Arts, of which I am happily a member. They're a fantastic little place in a gorgeously renovated old warehouse building that continues the traditions of handmade paper, bookbinding, and letterpress. It's an absolute must-see if you're coming out to Minneapolis, and their shop is - well, let's just say that if you're on a budget, hide your wallet. I'm already signed up to take another class which is entirely based on polymer platemaking and printing, which I'm so exciting over that it may be the only reason I'll avoid complaining about the onset of Minnesota Winter.
In the meantime, I'll probably be sharing some really great resources my instructor, Regula Russelle, shared with the class. She did a lot of things on the press differently than I had learned, so she was a great source of insight and really broke things down in easy-to-understand steps - but her handouts were the best by far. For my reference as well as yours, I'll type up the sources she recommended in hopes it will inspire you as well as it has me!