Friday, June 2, 2017

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice

My friend Jess and I years ago started referring to each other by our Austen handles, aka Misses Jessica and Eliza. In the spring of 2013 I texted Miss Jessica wondering what she would like for her birthday and she had an idea. It just so happened that 2013 was the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As you now know over a month into my Bicentenary Ball I am not one to let a two hundred year celebration slip by! Miss Jessica's suggestion was that instead of doing run-of-the-mill birthday presents we do a crafting exchange where we each make Jane Austen themed gifts for each other. Being both crafty and artistic and at that moment taking an introductory letterpress course, I was all in. I was ready to make a piece dedicated to "Two Hundred years of Darcy and Dancing!"

Madison College has a wonderful selection of wood type and when pursuing the drawers I found these stunningly large "P's" and was only sad for about half a second that there wasn't three of them, Miss Jessica being one of the co-creators of P, P and P, which is the Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth miniseries watched while eating Pizza. But in all honesty P and P works better. Because this was a quick one-off and not class work, where I was actually doing only two prints, one for me and one for her, I did this during open lab time. I didn't even do a full lockup, I just used some magnets and the showcard press, which is basically a proofing press. Funnily enough I had to do this twice, because I'm not the best at spotting typos when they're backwards. There might have been two "S's" at the end of "Misses" because I was going crazy that day apparently. So, on my second attempt I think I nailed it.
  I originally went for too strident a color, a kind of spring green, and went all out metallic gold the second time around, because if gold doesn't say big two hundredth birthday celebration, I don't know what does! For those who do letterpress you might notice that there is actually more texture to the print than just from the wood type. I shall now impart a trick my teacher Beth showed me which I absolutely adore. What I did is I first printed the piece on a heavily textured paper. You pull the paper off and instead of re-inking you print again on a crisp clean sheet of perfectly flat paper. The impression of the textured paper remains in the ink on the wood type and transfers onto the new paper. I use this technique a lot because it just adds something extra, also ironically the textured paper is some of the paper I've used for my Jane Austen series I've been talking about. So this was the first non-illustrative piece I did in tribute to Jane. This was also the first piece for the gift exchange between me and Miss Jessica. Don't worry, there's more to come on that front!


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