When I first began my journey into traditional printing, there was much to discover (still is); many “a-ha!” moments of learning and insight into the forms, functions, challenges, and beauties of type, ink, press, & paper.
One of those insights happened very early on as I first stood at a case of type, setting lines of a poem.
With a startle, I realized that the metal type that I was picking up and placing to form words, and the metal spaces that I was picking up and placing between words, were made of the same material: gleaming new “type metal” (an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony).
Each letter, in raised reverse on a “body," was cast from the very same thing as the spaces between words and lines. For a moment, I could visualize the alphabet rising from the once-molten metal to become printable poetry — one and the same with the space, the silence, from which it came.
Seven years later, I still pause every now and then to marvel: at the beautiful and precise pieces of metal; at the centuries-old technologies and traditions that coalesce all these shiny shards into words, poems, books; and at the weight of language — all that is said and unsaid.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, friends.
All my best to all of you,