On Tuesday I finished the last printing I needed to get done before the new year: my 2010 "Flying Machines: possible and improbable" calendar.
On Thursday I trimmed, hole-punched and packaged all 30 of them, and of course signed and numbered them. I had already pre-sold two at the Halifax Crafter's Market, and had two other people interested in buying when they were finished. So I've now sold 5, will keep one for my files, and will probably use 5 or so for gifts. So that leaves 19 for sale in my Etsy shop and my ArtFire shop.
The calendars are printed on one of my favourite (non-handmade) papers for letterpress: Mohawk Via Vellum 80 lb cover. The 100 lb is nice, too, but doesn't fold as well for greeting cards, so I usually buy the 80. The vellum finish gives it a soft texture that doesn't interfere with the printing as heavily textured papers sometimes do. I chose warm white for this, rather than my usual cool white--although cool white tends to have less affect on the ink colour, the warm white seemed better suited to the subject matter, and goes well with the brown ink.
I printed the names of the months first, using a different historic wood type from the Dawson Printshop's collection for each month. I added a lot of transparent base to the ink, and printed relatively lightly in order to get all the texture and imperfections of the old wooden type to show up. For printing the wood type, I used the shop's Vandercook Universal 1 proof press.
Then I printed the numbers and the images at the same time, from polymer plates. I used quite a bit of packing on the cylinder to bring up the pressure and get a nice deep embossment (technically debossment, I suppose). The letters for the days of the week were printed the same way, only with a different colour of ink, of course. The polymer plates were all printed on the shop's Vandercook Universal 2 proof press, a very rare press (apparently only 50 or so were made).
All of the images except two are ones that I found in my various history of flight books (I have a small collections). Many of them are Victorian, and a few of them were in full colour, which meant I had to remove the colour in Photoshop before converting the files to vectors. The two images that weren't ones from my own books came from a file of miscellaneous images on the Printshop computer. Some of the machines pictured actually flew, while others are simply exercises in imaginations.
I'm going to post a contest here soon, where you'll be able to win a copy of the calendar. I think what I'll do is make it a trivia contest, where you'll have to identify some of the machines--maybe which ones actually flew, for example. More on that very soon.