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Bixler Letterfoundry

Wind Chimes

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Wind Chimes

On the heels of this week's snow and sleet, the wind has come howling in. Today at the Press we're feeding the woodstove, catching up on reading and writing, and going over proofs of Wind Intervals, the new chapbook of poetry by Jeff Schwaner.

What is the sound of a loosening of leaves
like forgetting hands just before they drop
to our sides?
— Jeff Schwaner, in the title poem "Wind Intervals"

One of our favorite poets, Jeff brings to his work a deeply engaging mixture of observation, introspection, and connection. We are honored to be publishing his next chapbook of seven poems, carefully selected and printed by Emily Hancock.

Recently, we invited Jeff to the Press to record some of his poems. Let these whet your whistle for the rest of the book!

Wind Intervals will be published in two formats, a Standard Edition and a Special Edition. We are currently taking pre-orders of both.

STANDARD EDITION

  • 150 numbered copies
  • hand-set in Bembo types (cast by the Bixler Letterfoundry in NY)
  • two original illustrations
  • letterpress printed on our 1909 Golding Pearl treadle press
  • Mohawk Superfine text paper
  • Hahnemühle Bugra covers
  • hand-bound at the Press
  • $24

SPECIAL EDITION

  • 35 signed and numbered copies
  • hand-set in Bembo types (cast by the Bixler Letterfoundry in NY)
  • two original illustrations
  • letterpress printed on our 1909 Golding Pearl treadle press
  • Revere Book mouldmade text paper
  • St Armand handmade covers
  • hand-bound at the Press
  • $35

To pre-order a copy, please email Emily Hancock at stbrigidpress@gmail.com, or fill out the form below.

Mark your calendars ~ the official book launch for Wind Intervals will be April 28th, at 7pm at Black Swan Books in Staunton, Virginia! (Pre-orders will ship that day.)

Thanks Friends, and hold onto your hats!

St Brigid Press

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"Wind Intervals" chapbook

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New Year's Greetings from the Press

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New Year's Greetings from the Press

Dear Friends,

Gratitude is something that we aim to practice and cultivate here at the Press. With the turn of the calendar year, we are especially mindful of this today and want to share some of what's at the top of our Thankful list:

YOU ~

Without your friendship and support, St Brigid Press would not be able to continue. We are so deeply grateful for your active presence with us on this creative journey, and for your enthusiasm for and patronage of the work we do.

MAKING BOOKS ~

2016 saw the publication of our first book printed on the iron handpress, Reverie. (If you missed that exciting process, check out these previous posts: "Printing a Poem on the Handpress" and "Printing With Plants".)

2017 begins with two books in process: Love Letters (an abecedarium honoring the beautiful work of American type designer Frederic Goudy, with an introduction by contemporary type designer Steve Matteson), and Wind Intervals (a new chapbook of poems by Jeff Schwaner, illustrated with nature prints). More on these projects soon!

TYPE ~

We are grateful to care for and print with an excellent collection of metal and wood type, and we give great thanks for folks who are still casting new metal type for us letterpress printers to use. Pat Reagh, of Patrick Reagh Printers in California, cast a gleaming font of Goudy Old Style for us this summer. And Michael and Winifred Bixler of The Bixler Press and Letterfoundry in New York created a gorgeous set of Bembo letters for us earlier in the year. These two castings will feature in the new books-in-progress.

In addition to metal type, we are honored to house the St Brigid Press Collection of Historic Wood Type. This collection received some wonderful TLC by graphic designer and 2016 Press intern, Julia Grammer. Julia identified, catalogued, and cleaned the type, and then produced some stunning letterpress printed type specimens of selected faces. We are very thankful for her excellent work of curating this collection.

THE FUTURE ~

In addition to the books-in-progress mentioned above, we have several new and extremely exciting irons in the Press fire. Over the next few months, stay tuned as we unveil these creative adventures, from a new wood type poster series to new vistas in poetry publishing! As always, we are grounded and guided by our mission to continually offer the daily bread of language, especially poetry, while practicing the traditional arts and crafts of printing and book making. Thank you, once again, for journeying with us!

With gratitude, and all best wishes,

Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press

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How Type is Made, Part 1

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How Type is Made, Part 1

Traditional letterpress printing requires physical letters, cast from metal or carved from wood, which get inked and pressed into paper to make a print. In the next two blog posts, we’ll take an introductory look into how these letters get made.

First up, metal type!

A typecaster of centuries past, pouring molten metal into a mould to cast new letters. (Courtesy of the The University of Manchester Library.)

A typecaster of centuries past, pouring molten metal into a mould to cast new letters. (Courtesy of the The University of Manchester Library.)

Johann Gutenberg’s big Ah-HA! moment in the 15th century was figuring out how to create multiple letters with which to print, and print again and again — a system of “movable type,” where each piece is cast in a mould from an alloy of metals (lead, tin, and antimony). These pieces, all the letters and numbers and punctuation, etc., of the alphabet, could be used and reused — a huge savings of time, effort, and expense compared to the work of scribes!

Metal type wears down over time, because it is relatively soft, and gets scratched or dinged easily. Thankfully for us 21st century printers, some hardy folks are still casting brand new metal type!

Here's a short (1:58), awesome little video by Dave Keyes of Michael Curry casting 48pt Garamond ampersands on his caster in New Zealand:

And here’s another little window into the world of typecasting, courtesy of Michael and Winifred Bixler, who operate their Bixler Letterfoundry in upstate New York, and who have cast much of the new type we have here at St Brigid Press. This beautiful 2-minute video was done by Mary M Jones:

Some of our type comes from a wonderful foundry in Germany, run by the renowned Herr Rainer Gerstenberg. Click the photo below to see an excellent photo-tour of Gerstenberg's foundry, taken by letterpress printer and teacher Thomas Gravemaker.

The beautiful Koch-Antiqua typeface, cast for us by Rainer Gerstenberg in Germany, here printed for the colophon of our limited edition book of poems,  Soundings . Click the photo for more about Gerstenberg's foundry.

The beautiful Koch-Antiqua typeface, cast for us by Rainer Gerstenberg in Germany, here printed for the colophon of our limited edition book of poems, Soundings. Click the photo for more about Gerstenberg's foundry.

So, would YOU like to order some shiny new type?? Here's a list of foundries ready to take your order!

List of Type Foundries in the US and Abroad

Thanks for joining us, friends! We'll see you again soon,

St Brigid Press

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