With only one other person in the workshop at Iota Press, we had plenty of individualized attention from poet-artist-instructor Eric Johnson, a retired carpenter who has been playing with the arrangement of letters and shapes on a press at his community co-op for almost 10 years.
I brought in an original poem by Ellen Bass that a dear friend read at my wedding in June. I chose a favorite line--"Let love grow wild, insist on itself"--which I divided into two, and selected two art deco images to bookend the script. Eric suggested a slender, elegant font that would fit well into the space on a small card and showed me how to set it on a metal tray.
The backwards puzzle is transferred to the printing press, where it is wedged with more blocks into place. Just a bit of ink keeps the rollers well lubricated and the image is pressed onto paper with one swift push.
We all agreed that the result is lovely to behold, but the beauty of the metal type with its varied silvery shades is almost unparalleled by its paper and ink component.