October 28, 2009

This is great news.

I can't wait to be back in NYC in January, this is a definite must see. I visited The Hermitage when I was in Beacon, NY and fell in love with all that it stood for and had to offer, and felt lucky to have seen it just weeks before it suddenly and unexpectedly closed down. A letter from the Hermitage regarding its reopening in Brooklyn follows.

Hermitage Returns

I am happy to announce that Hermitage has found a new residence. Since closing its door in Beacon at the end of June, I have been down in the city trying to put together what would be the next step for Hermitage. The search is over, and the new space is set up. Dan Morris at The Arm in Brooklyn has been beyond helpful in making this happen. Many thanks to Dan for giving me a place to lay my head for a while during this transition.

Everything about the new location is even more focused and efficient than 12 Tioronda Avenue. I clean slated nearly all of the books upon closing, and have rebuilt a new collection which I am proud of. One that builds upon what people knew Hermitage for, and which goes into new directions that I am excited about. The letterpress studio here has the addition of a new map press I am eager to get working on, alongside the Vandercook. New publications will be a priority along with ephemera and art works.

Hours are by appointment. I do not mean this as someone who says this on Madison Avenue and 64th Street. I am here. If you want to come let me know. The door is open and all are welcome. The storefront experience proved too time consuming and not cost efficient. This space is a studio where I work and have all the books. It is warm and welcoming.

A beautiful new website has been made by JiaJia Fei to show where Hermitage is currently. Please take a moment to check it out.

Thank you all, and its good to be back.

-Jon Beacham

35 Meadow Street Suite 307
Brooklyn NY 11206


October 23, 2009

Adventures in Letterpress: Submissions are really really closed this time!!! No more!!! I mean it!! I mean, okay, maybe just one more!!

I closed submissions yesterday for the book, as it is due in 3 days, and then shipped a DVD with 95% of the artwork to my publisher, with plans to upload remaining images on Monday. Well I guess I'm still taking new submissions, as Colin Frazer of the Press at Colorado College just submitted this RAD poster he did for Mount Eerie that uses glow in the dark ink. The two images below are the same poster, the first in the light, the second in the night.

Colin Frazer: "That ink was f-ing expensive, but I didn't pay for it, so it was OK."

October 17, 2009

Adventures in Letterpress: How many late nights do I have left in me?!?!

9 days to deliver the book. Actually seems feasible. 74 studios and artists have been chosen and catalogued, 25o images have been selected which must be narrowed down to 200, and I think save for the odd stragglers, we've got all we need for the book. Here are a few more unprocessed pics from the book that are fresh on my mind. These images truly depict adventures of various ilks.

Detail from a calendar from Oddball Press

Letterpressed napkin from my friend Rori at Paper Monkey Press, who taught me how to operate a platen press.

Macro Detail from a print from Press NY.

Spread from"Operator's Manual," a letterpressed book by Crooked Letterpress

October 9, 2009

Adventures in Letterpress: Sneaky Peeky

It is October 9th. On October 26th, I have to deliver the contents of my book, "Adventures in Letterpress," to my publisher. I originally pitched a letterpress how-to book, which I hadn't realized wasn't really MBP's type of book, so we altered the idea to be a collection of contemporary letterpress from around the world. Writing a how-to book would have been difficult, alot of work. When we shifted the idea to a mere collection of imagery, I bragged to MBP editor, Buzz Poole, that I could write this book with my eyes closed. Maybe that's why I pushed working on the book to a less busier time for Blue Barnhouse, which happens about mid-September. But here, now, with 15 days left, I realize how wrong I was. It is a hell of alot of work, seeking out the very best that the letterpress world has to offer. Submissions were in the hundreds, images I've looked at were in the thousands, and narrowing it down to 200 images is no small feat at all. My brain melts everytime I sit down and spend an entire day trying to compile the list of images, presses, trying to remember who did what so styles don't overlap, directing our in-house photographer, Lydia See, as to what to shoot, how to shoot it. Etc.

Lydia See shoots a piece by Asheville Artist, Andy Farkas in Version 2.0 of our homemade light studio (we are now on Version 3.2)

Well now we are in the home stretch, and I say we because I'm not the only one working on it. I trust the people I work with, and they have convinced me to include some things, they have shot down things I wasn't sure about. Lydia is shooting the photography, and is a huge part of the editorial process. Antonio Del Toro, who no longer works with us but is still a friend and had apprenticed with us, is my editorial assistant, he's doing the hardest work on this book, organizing, indexing, editing the text, hunting down presses that I might have missed, contacting people for various reasons, collecting his favorite images when I don't have the time to scout out a press myself. I've watched reactions of our crew as we look at new stuff that comes in, and made mental notes to myself.

Yesterday I finished making a list of presses I am interested in using that submitted via email. That was a huge step, the one that was really making me bite my nails. But still, only 30% of that group has been contacted, because I'm still not sure what is the best of the best of the best. There are mountains of mailed submissions in the back of the shop that I have accepted, and I still have to catalogue those, and then count how many images I have, how many presses, look at photos of everything I've selected. Then there are bios to collect, contracts to send out, designers and photographers to credit, photos to color correct, oh yeah and I have written one sentence of my 2000-3000 word introduction. And I believe I'm about to make a whole lot of presses go apeshit to rush their images to us.

Currently I've counted about 60 presses to be included that have been catalogued, but there are easily 20-30 more that I haven't listed just yet, and in the last three days I've found and contacted 5 more presses I wanted to use by mere accident. It seems we have about 100 hours of work still ahead of us, but the strongest work is in the bag. Here is a sneak preview of some images we will be using in Adventures in Letterpress. I'm in a bit of a rush so I'm not going to provide links to these studios. Look'em up your damn self!

A beautifully executed print by Slow Print

An awesome idea by Canadian Kurmudgeon, Phil Ambrosi, who printed some business cards on Currency from an Eastern European Country. Notice the presses on the money? Hands down, Phil is the funniest printer lurking on the letterpress listserv. He doesn't even know we've selected his work but I guess he will here in a minute.

Quirky stuff, as always, from Oddball.

We have to reshoot this one as this was one of our testers for lighting and how we wanted the photos to look. This is from a long time friend and fellow ECU almnus, Andy Farkas, who is currently illustrating the commemorative poster that will come with the book.

From Bowne & Co, the oldest existing company in New York City that has not changed its name.

Trying hard not to scratch our own back in the book, but I can't resist putting this one on the permanent record.

A macro shot of one from Boxcar Press, who is rumored to be the folks who will print the above mentioned commemorative print at their $#@!$ China rates.

From another Asheville studio, Hand-cranked.

We decided to shoot all the posters in their natural setting. This is from Yee-Haw, our friends across the Tennessee border.

This one was just destined for me, I can't think of a more fitting poster to live by. From my old undergrad professor at ECU, Craig Malmrose, who owns Trade Union Press. I failed out of Art School, and had to switch to English. And now I am publishing my professor's work. Revenge!!!

Shutting up now. Work to do. Is it too late to send me stuff? Probably. But you'll never know unless you try.

October 3, 2009

R.I.P. Mayor McCheese.

Yes, I am continuing to sell out this month with the blog and am apparently only able to post videos. Give me a break. I have a book due in 23 days. This video is so frigging wrong.