Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretty things made from paper by Papermode

Maybe you inherited your love of paper from your mother? Maybe your mother is from France? If so, and regardless, maybe you'll like these

from Papermode in Paris, via Etsy.

On Soy Inks

The debate over soy vs. oil. vs. rubber (and vs. acrylic, don't forget) rages on: last week the discussion about the pros and cons of each variety was being hotly debated on the Photopolymer Listserv, where an astute member referred us to this great post from the Spark Stationery blog. You can read the full post here, but here are the highlights, quoted directly from their post:

* When we looked into the actual composition of various inks, it turns out that soy inks are not vastly different. If not soy oil, most oil-based inks use linseed oil, which has been used for centuries in oil paint, etc. It also is plant based, and time proven. The breakdown of the ink is something like 20-30% oils (of either kind), 10-20% pigments, around 40% resins, and some other things such as drier or varnish.
* In the very small quantities we use, there is no significant difference in VOCs emitted, or other environmental standards. Soy ink shows these advantages in large print runs such as newspapers, national mailings, and so forth.
* The soy ink that is readily available to us is sort of “soupy,” and requires adding modifiers to reach the desired stiffness. Thinner inks make the printing appear sloppy as they “squeeze out” under impression.
* The drive for soy inks came from a marketing council of soybean growers. When a printer of our size proclaims their use of soy ink, we wonder if it is more of a marketing tool than a concrete environmental difference. If the soy oil replaced volatile solvents like toluene or benzene it would be a clear advantage, but linseed has worked well for ages and has no ill effects that we know of.
* We mix all of our inks by hand so even though we are a commercial letterpress shop we only have a can or maybe two of just the pantone mixing inks instead of buying a new can of a single PMS each time someone orders a new color. Common print jobs typically use a small amount of ink – about the size of a quarter. This helps us to be better to the environment instead of having a bunch of ink that might not ever get used sitting around.
* We've also decided to start making the switch to rubber-based inks because of their anti-skimming properties. This keeps more of the ink more usable over time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pantone equivalents for Waste-Not/Paper-Source

This from Cynthia over at Waste-Not Paper, regarding their suggested PMS equivalents for their stocks:

Chartreuse - PMS 610U
Chocolate - PMS 476U
Grape - PMS 273U
Lake - PMS 7459U
Moss - PMS 582U
Papaya - PMS 171U
Plum - PMS 523U
Pool - PMS 7464U
Poppy - PMS 150U
Red - PMS 200U
Strawberry - PMS 191U

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 3/50 Project

The 3/50 Project
is an initiative to help save small businesses. Like yours! Like mine! Not unlike the popular Buy Handmade pledge, 3/50 asks those who sign up--both businesses and individuals--to pick three local, independent retailers, and try to spend $50 there each month. $150 is not chump change, exactly, but the point is to be conscious of where you money goes and try to frequent your local businesses over chains--even over the Internet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

EM space - a new letterpress/book arts center in Portland, Oregon

EM Space Book Arts Center is a new printing and book arts resource in Portland, Oregon, and we're getting ready to move into a new, 2400 sq ft space! Come celebrate with us. We are hosting an open house and membership show for all. We welcome book and print lovers to tour the new space, talk to current members, ask questions and see their work. There will be food provided by Salt, Fire and Time, as well as amazing raffle prizes from local restaurants, wineries, artists and more! And, of course, there will be drinks.

NOTE: EM Space is now accepting applications for new Studio Members (read below for more details). The deadline for applications is April 18th (the night of the party!) To receive an application, please email Applications will be reviewed and notice of acceptance will be given no later than May 1st. We look forward to getting new applications and meeting members at the party!

There are many different ways to get involved, even if you live outside of Portland - please contact us for future teaching and gallery opportunities.

Please share this with anyone who may want to get involved. Thanks!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I would like to talk to you about tape

Tape is maybe the most important office supply in my printing office. I'm sure I don't have to count the reasons. Because I have some on just about every surface, as well as in the crevices of my presses and stuck to my shoes, I think about it a lot. I buy the industrial strength clear packing tape, and was happy in the knowledge that it probably stayed stuck until the package arrived at its destination. Until I turned around yesterday and saw a perfectly nice tape stripe peeling up on the edges of a very important package. That situation will not stand! So, I decided to get serious about serious tape.

I already knew the perfect tape dispenser, but I didn't read about it in Tape Quarterly. I heard about this machine in the New Yorker's cartoon issue of 2007, where cartoonist R. Crumb told the tale of his and his wife's journey to the manufacturer of the golden fleece of tape dispensers. In this panel, Aline, Crumb's wife, sits in awe as the president introduces his 90-year old company:


Better Packages, Inc. makes water-activated tape dispensers: durable, heavy, and, for someone used to scooping up bargain-basement machinery, sometimes out of basements, a bit of an investment. Manual BP 333 Plus is my favorite, and looks like a tape dispenser one's grandkids could inherit, it's so durable:

Uline has them, of course, and you can even get a free case of reinforced tape if you buy a heater. Ebay has a few of the more expensive models, as well as some fabulous Deco scotch tape dispensers--maybe I should retrofit all my machines to pre-1920 models! I can't play the will-it-stick roulette forever, though, so one of these days . . . Better Packages will hear from me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Weekend

I hope it was a productive week for you all--enjoy Spring, wherever you find yourself!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good, green news from Van Son Inks

Van Son, manufacturer of our favorite rubber base printing ink, has introduced a zero VOC, vegetable-based printing ink, called VS Zero. It contains neither petroleum solvents nor mineral oil, and should be available soon (Van Son's site is currently down . . . ). It'll be another way not only to protect you and yours, but also to make your shop even greener. Read more about VS Zero here.