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01_biz card

So.

Two weeks ago, Miz In Cahoots and I were wandering around the Embarcadero, after a far-too-long hiatus from hanging out. Ice cream had been consumed, the bay had been viewed, and gossip had been swapped. Heading back to the subway station, I thought that life couldn’t possibly get any better.

I was wrong.

At Market and Steuart, I was stopped in my tracks by a Most Wonderful Place.

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the work of Roman Madov and Angi Brzycki

Have you visited The Grand Newstand? Have you heard about this project? If not, you should, because it’s AMAZING.

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Courtney contemplates the difficult question of “favorite zine”…

We met Courtney Riddle (one of the mistress-minds behind The Grand Newsstand kiosk) who explained to us that the newsstand stocked zines, small press editions, and the occasional artistic project (prints, broadsides, home wares) — housed in one of the vintage-ish newsstand kiosks lining Market Street. The two of us were immediately enchanted.

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the work of Evah Fan…

If you’re looking for gift to give a budding zine maker or an inspired per-zine to read on your daily commute…

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…this is your kind of kiosk!! It was wonderful to see a variety of artists I know and love hanging out right there on Market Street. In a city strapped for art space and DIY culture, it was such a joy to bask in the ambiance at the Newsstand.

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the work of Awkward Ladies Club (just in time for Burning Man!!!)

So: what are you waiting for?!?! The Newsstand is (usually) open six days a week; check out their hours on tumblr. Stop by, support small press, and get an eyeful of this quintessentially San Francisco endeavour.

–JH

01_scissors

It’s that time of year again: San Francisco Zine Fest time! Taking place September 6th, 2015 at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, this year’s DIY extravaganza is gearing up to be something else.

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Just like last year, Miz Happenstance and I will be sharing a table! And also (just like last year) I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have a riot of rubber stamps, postal mayhem, and brightly colored goodies for you to look through!

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I’ve managed to put together full sets of issues 1-4 of Red Letter Day…

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…as well as some new copies of Posted (a zine all about artistamps and why I make them.)

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(I’ve got a couple new things I’m hoping to get put together before the event.)

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I’ll also have a selection of Red Handed Rubber Stamps on the table for your delight and consideration! Pro tip: it’s NEVER too late to consider your rubber needs for Halloween and the holidays. Interested in a placing a “special order” and picking up at the Fest? Get in touch (redhandedrubber@gmail.com) and let me know what I can bring to SFZF especially for YOU!

Alrighty: it’s back to the studio for me – of course I’m burning the midnight oil for the next two weeks!

–JH

PS: details about SFZF 2015 can be found at their website: www.sfzinefest.org. Two items of note: 1) SFZF2015 is a ONE DAY EVENT this year and 2) BART will not be running the weekend of September 5th and 6th. You’ve been warned!

 

01_the century bindery_01

I think we can all agree that if you’re reading this blog, there are a handful of common interests we most likely share, for example: a love of postal items, sending things through the mail, and airmail stripes. It is also highly likely that you love items such as rubber stamps, all manner of paper/stationery, and books (whether old or new.)

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Most RLD readers know that I am a biblio-nerd myself: I love book structures, sewing things together, and showing people how to make their own bookish creations. My favorite classroom moments occur when a first-time book maker completes final steps on The First Book They’ve Ever Made and you can practically see a lightbulb go off over their head. It’s incredible.

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interior, American Bookbinder’s Museum (08.2015)

Now, imagine if you will: a museum in San Francisco that not only preserves the look and feel of a 19th C. bookbindery and print shop but in fact, invites people to skill share and interact with the museum’s equipment, so that participants can create their own “a-ha!” moments.

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If that sounds interesting, then The American Bookbinder’s Museum is your kind of place! I stopped by their new SoMA space last week; I’d heard a rumor that they had a Rossback perforator nestled among the Albion hand presses and Smythe sewing machines.

Eureka! Within minutes, I had (presumptuously?) settled down to “get under the hood” of their Rossback and do a little bit of cleaning and scrubbing.

(all the while in the back of my head thinking “oh man, I hope they don’t think I’m some sort of weirdo book-gear stalker-y type…” I mean, WHO DOES THAT KIND OF THING? oh right…”nerds with a purpose”, my friend Sheree calls us…)

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pro tools…

Every Rossback I’ve ever “met” is slightly different, once you start loosening screws and cleaning off the grit. My favorite tools for Rossback repairs? A toothbrush, some WD40, a flathead screwdriver, and a pair of nippers.

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Rossback perforator, with the top bar removed. Bottom bar (brass color) is still in place.

Folks always ask me, so here ya go: I’ll discuss some Rossback basics, as far as parts and clean up are concerned!

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looking down onto the top bar (removed from machine.) This piece is usually “shelf shaped”…

In the photo above: this is what the “top” bar of a Rossback looks like, once it’s been removed from the machine itself. See all those teeny little holes? That’s where the pins are placed! The pinheads rest atop each of those little holes.

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The Museum’s Rossback had some slight variations I’d never seen before, including the one shown above. See where the (stripped) screw is? Well that brass piece is what I call the “bottom” bar. The (top bar) pin points travel through the pinholes on the bottom bar, on their way to the holes on the base plate of the Rossback (shown as the darker colored metal in the photo.) When perforating a sheet of paper, the paper slides in between the bottom bar and the base plate; this is also where the pins first make contact with the paper and perforating happens.

Back to the museum’s Rossback: the bottom bar was divided into two brass pieces, which I’d never seen before. And that small bent up piece of wire to the left of the brass piece? That’s a pin that somehow ended up that way.

Ah – mysteries!

09_new pins in the bar

you can’t quite see the pinheads resting in place, but trust me — they’re there!

Hey look! The Museum had ordered a new set of pins from NA Graphics, so I carefully (with the help of Museum Guru Jae) placed them into the top bar…

10_pins in place

once the top bar was in position, I quickly placed a screw in one of the middle spots and attached the top bar. As you can see, I haven’t put the far left screw in place yet.

…and then was able to jimmy the top bar (by hand) into place with the bottom bar. Note: THIS IS TRICKY AND DOESN’T WORK WITH EVERY ROSSBACK. As you can see: the difficult part is aligning the top bar pins with the correct pinholes in the bottom bar. Each pin, every single hole, nothing crooked or at a slant.

If you get the top bar pins and bottom bar holes aligned correctly, everything should be fine when you press the foot pedal, moving the pins downward into the pinholes in the base of the Rossback. If you feel resistance or hear weird noises, stop what you’re doing! Either scenario usually means that there’s a crooked pin somewhere or the alignment of parts/pieces is a little off. I usually loosen some screws, triple check my work, and carefully re-apply pressure where needed.

See? TRICKY.

(side note: my Rossback at the RLD studio doesn’t play “nice” like this one; I have to hand set each and every single pin, which makes for a much longer “deep cleaning” process. That’s what I mean when I say every one of these machines is different in some way…)

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smythe sewing machine: sew up textblocks in a jiffy!

After doing a victory dance (it IS wonderfully satisfying to have all those pins travel downward into their respective places, and not hear a single shearing noise…) I wandered around the rest of the space, taking in the various equipment on display.

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palmer and rey’s “magic cutting machine” — not it’s official name, but that’s what I call it!

One of the ABM’s goals is to have a group of docents and volunteers who are well-versed on each machine, in order to show visitors how the equipment functions while working on projects of their own. Each machine at the museum will be fully operational; all equipment has been sourced from different binderies and print shops across the country (sometimes traveling great distances to find a new “forever home” at the museum.)

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leftover evidence, palmer and rey…

A bit of historical perspective from the Michigan State University Library: “The early 19th century was an era of transformation for bookbinding. With the increase in the demand for books, binders turned to mechanization to meet this challenge. Publishers also began to take control of the whole book-making process, from editing to printing to binding.”

Operational 19th century gear to help you make books quickly? That’s what you’ll find at the ABM!

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litho stone…is that an ad for “pure rye whiskey”?!?!

Although the museum has not formally opened its doors to the public yet, interested parties are invited to stop by and say hello. Additionally: if you’re interested in learning how to operate any of the above mentioned machinery and/or volunteering at the museum, you can fill out a form online and museum staffers will get in touch. The ABM also has a monthly “volunteer meet up”; you can stop by and see the sights in person, if that’s more your style. (next meet up: tonight! Tuesday, August 18th!)

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All that being said, I’m off to use the museum’s industrial stapling machine – SF Zine Fest is coming up and I’ve got a MOUNTAIN of work to do! FAST! Who wouldn’t want to staple 100 zines in approximately 20 minutes?

Whoah!

–JH

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epic cloudscape, downtown detroit

I’m back from vacationing through the “Land of Endless Clouds”: Michigan! Many thanks to RLD readers who sent bon voyage postcards to my mailbox — YAY! What a wonderful thing to arrive home to – postal pals in my mailbox! You guys are the BEST!

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“Still Life: A Letter Rack” (1692) artist: Edward Collyer; seen at: the Detroit Institute of Arts

I had big plans to do a write up about visiting the Heirloom Productions rubber stamp show in Novi, MI on August 1st. Revv’d up and ready to see some awesome, I ventured thru the doors of the convention center and was dazzled by the array of paper, vendors, color, and stamps. (It was the first time I’d ever been to a convention like that…)

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searching for Capelli at John King Books…

However: I was thwarted in my plans.

Each time I queried a vendor about snapping a booth/product photo (all the while explaining that I was interested in doing a write up for my blog) I was politely told that the vendor didn’t allow photos. After going through this scenario a couple different times, I decided “meh.” I mean, what use is a blog post about delicious rubber stamps if there are no photos of delicious rubber stamps?!?!

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elevator existentialism…

So. That was a bit disappointing.

But: I did discover a gem of a stamper, tucked amongst all the decorative papers and mixed media mayhem! Chuck Knock of Grey Wolf Graphics has a fantastic selection of faux postage rubber stamps, perfect for all your mail art envelopes, postcards, and artistamp work.

GWG collage

a sampling of faux postage imagery from Grey Wolf Graphics

Chuck illustrates all of the rubber stamps produced by Grey Wolf Graphics; the GWG website states that he was involved in “illustrating many of General Motors’ owner’s manuals as well as most of the ones for American Motors.” You would never mistake a Gray Wolf rubber stamp for any other, due to the beautiful line work and illustrative quality of Chuck’s imagery — one of the very reasons why I was immediately smitten with ALL of their rubber stamps!

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the Grey Wolf “thanks” stamp in action; awesome “mail call” stationery from JU13!

Needless to say, I left a fair amount of my “allowance” at the Grey Wolf booth. Each rubber stamp is beautifully mounted on a hand-turned wooden block; the deep etch red rubber takes ink wonderfully and leaves a fantastic impression. These rubber stamps are a welcome addition to any rubberhead’s collection! (unmounted stamps are also available.)

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rubber stamp haul from Grey Wolf; some mounted, some unmounted…

Hey — look how that happened! Even though I said I wasn’t really going to do a write up of the rubber stamp show, it looks like I still managed to do a write up of the rubber stamp show. I’ll leave you guys with a fun YouTube video from Diane Dimich of DD Stamps: a fast and easy painter’s tape technique which can be used on all of those “final month of summer” postcards.

Stay tuned: next week I’ve got fun announcements on the way, as well as a roster of new classes and going-ons!

Keep it postal!

–JH

gone fishin’!

1960s+PARKWAY+MOTEL+Jackson+Hole+WYOMING+Vintage+Postcard

postage stamps? –> CHECK.

postcard blanks? –> CHECK.

knowledge of possible post offices en route? –> ABSOLUTELY.

I’ll be back next week with a brand new write up; until then, get out there and SEND SOMETHING!

–JH

01_woodward gardens_front

You guys know how it is: sometimes, a girl just needs a vacation! Not anything serious or long term, just a bit of a “run around barefoot on the front lawn in the grass” kind of vacation. The weather here in SF practically begs a person to sit in some glorious shadow-and-sun filled spot, in order to read books and consume adult beverages.

02_ ostrich

What am I trying to say? Well, I’ll be taking a small break next week! Nothing new in the way of write ups, although I will certainly be re-charging those batteries of mine in order to bring future articles of wit and wisdom to you guys!

03_modern travel

I have some fun surprises lined up for the next few weeks, but for now I’ll hang a “Gone Fishin’” sign on the door. And who knows? Postcards from vacation-paradise might just be in order!

(Miss Rose: that video is ESPECIALLY for you!) ;-)

Hope your summer has been filled (so far) with exotic POs and colorful postage –

–JH

 

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front view of the “Kinderboekenweek 2012” stamps…

How lucky am I?! A few weeks ago, I got to hold one of these amazing “Kinderboekenweek 2012” postage stamps in my hand! One part postage, one part pop-up, these philatelic gems were conceived and designed by Hans and Sabine Bockting of the graphic design firm Bockting Ontwerpers. The charming animal illustrations were created by children’s book illustrator Fleur van der Weel.

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back view (underside) of the “Kinderboekenweek 2012” stamps…

Taking place every October in The Netherlands, “Kinderboekenweek” (Children’s Book Week) has a roster of events, reading programs, and a Kinderboekenbal (think: giant party for little kids who like to read books.) Every year, there is a different theme.

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postage stamp, “popped up” and seen from the back…

ANYHOW: back to the stamps! How do they work? Well, you simply pull the arrowed tab at the bottom of each stamp (shown above on the “front view” photo…) and the top layer slides forward to reveal a second animal AND create a pop-up of the front layer animal!

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postage stamp, “popped up” and seen from the front…

PostNL claims that this is “the world’s first pop-up stamp.” While I’ve heard about a wide variety of unusual stamps (Swiss embroidered stamps, stamps incorporating braille characters, and postage with traces of meteorite dust to name a few) it’s the first time I’ve seen or heard about a stamp that so perfectly combines paper engineering and philately.

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Each stamp can be punched out of the sheet, affixed to your parcel, and sent through the mail. According to the PostNL website: “the designation on these stamps is Nederland 5, which means that they are for letterbox packets weighing up to 500 grams destined for addresses within the Netherlands.” Dang — mailable only in The Netherlands!

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Want to see this pop-up postage in action? The video interview below with Fleur van der Weel shows the pop-up parts in action! (video is in Dutch.)

Have any other RLD readers out there seen or sent mail using these beauties? If “yes”, tell me more!

Happy making and mailing —

–JH

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