Monday, February 1, 2016

Slow Days

After the busy bustle of Christmas and the continued busyness of a new school semester, things have slowed down in the print shop a bit. I'm still printing a few shirts from re-orders, but I haven't had any rush orders. As the t-shirt printing business takes off, I am learning about pricing and time management as well as learning to pay myself and set limits on what I'm willing do. This past week, I had a re-order come into the shop. The screens were already made, and still on the press. Setup should have been simple and straightforward. However, the order was split with 4 shirts of one color, and 3 shirts of another. That meant I had to change out screens and re-setup the press. Seven shirts cost me an hour of setup, and an hour of printing. In the future, I will require a larger number of shirts before I accept a re-order.

I've been using this down time to work on projects at the house. After a year and a half, our home does not have bookshelves except for the children. Books are still neatly packed into boxes from our move, and when one is needed, I search through and find it. When it is not longer needed, it is replaced as nearly as possible back where it came from. The lack of bookshelves has not kept us from buying and collecting books. I have been working on a plan to build in a desk and bookshelf in our current office area. I prefer to collect materials instead of buy lumber, but the size of this project has meant that I will likely have to buy at least some items. I'll post pictures as the project starts to take shape.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Encore! Encore!

Do you love hand drawn typography as much as I do? I have been working to become more and more proficient with hand drawn letters. Swashes, ligatures, and swirls are exciting. One of my jobs at home is to address the numerous greeting cards that my wife delivers. I've been using this as an opportunity to embellish the type and make a beautiful design out of the name on each card. Arguably some are far more successful than others.

This is my latest effort. I've been working on it off and on while teaching, and finally took the time to proof and print a few.

This print was inspired by my love of type, and a couple of similar prints I purchased a few years back. If you'd like your own, find out more in the Bound Staff Press Etsy shop.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tuscan Ornate Numbers

Just listed on Etsy this week, the Tuscan Ornate numbers type specimen can now be yours. The 3 inch tall figures (20 line) were hand carved from linoleum and printed on the C&P Craftsman. Available on either white or cream 100% cotton paper. Make your space a little more ornate with this print.
Visit my etsy shop for more information.

When It Rains, It Pours

This month, the screen shop and the letterpress studio have both been hopping. I've been putting in long hours and learning a whole bunch about screen printing. On top of the printing skills I have been trying to learn some business skills. Pricing, ordering, profit and time management all take discipline and attention. I've been listening to a few trusted individuals, and so far, things are working out well.

A neighboring city is rebranding itself, and I was fortunate enough to land the contract to print shirts and hoodies for their new efforts. The first order is printed, but re-orders are already pouring in.

Birds Nest Christmas cards are printed, signed, numbered, packaged and shipped. I haven't run many jobs on the letterpress in a while. It took a bit to get it set up, but once things got going, I was pleased with the result. The current plan is to create two more color blocks and offer a three color image on etsy. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Expanding the Shop

Bound Staff Press is adding commercial screen shop to the fine art studio. This school year, as part of my day job, I plunged headlong into printing t-shirts for the booster club. It has been a good year for La Junta Tiger athletics, and I have had the opportunity to print shirts to celebrate. I have also been developing opportunities to print for local businesses. This week we finished up an order for a local manufacturer. It stretched my printing abilities and allowed me to add a few pieces of equipment. Another order is due out in a day or two. Better stop typing and get to printing.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Custom Christmas Cards

Not long ago, I had a someone ask if I could design a linocut and print it for their Christmas cards for this year. They had seen my Empty Nest print and were inspired to have me create something just for them. After some details were worked out, I began drawing and inking the image. I usually start out with a sketch in pencil, then work and re-work it on the lino block until I'm satisfied. This time, because I wanted to please my client, I started with a pencil sketch on paper and submitted it for review. As with all custom jobs, the review and revision process can take time as both I and the customer work out exactly what we expect the image to look like. I scanned my sketches, and edited position and composition using Photoshop, then printed the image and drew some more. Re-scan, re-edit, and re-print. The computer can do some things that I cannot easily do in pencil, and the pencil can do some things I cannot yet accomplish on the computer.

If you are interested in working with me on a similar project, check out my Etsy shop and request a custom piece by clicking the "Request a Custom Order" link on most any of my listings.

 Pencil Sketch


Approved image transferred to the lino block.

Transferred image inked in

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hot Off the Press

I have, oh so slowly, been working on this image for a several years. I've used it for a demonstration piece, and carved a few lines, but had never gotten it far enough to proof. The wedding of a close friend was the motivation I needed to finish cutting and print.

The Ladder-Builder's House

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's been a while

It has been way too long since I last posted an update. Of course, a lot of things change over more than two years. Some of the missing time has been filled with printmaking, but much of it has been occupied with a recently acquired 1907 Queen Ann house, and the maintenance that it takes to keep it livable. We have added some amenities to make it more comfortable as well including central air, a sprinkler system, grass, and more than a hundred feet of sidewalk and curb. A two car garage is in progress.

With all this work, there has been no shortage of fun and adventure. We make it to the mountains when we can. Occasionally that means a two hour drive for a picnic supper then two hours back home, but it is always worth it.

There has also been plenty of artwork being made. More often than not, it is for fun or family. In the last few months, I've been getting back into the habit of creating professional work. Some of this is driven by a thriving t-shirt business at school, and I was missing making new artwork as a professional. I hope to post a few more examples of these images in the coming weeks. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

VW Thing Print

The past two weeks have included some work on a Volkswagen Thing image I was commissioned to create. The customer saw my VW work on Etsy, and asked if I would create a print of a VW Type 181. The customer also provided an image of the vehicle she wanted to commemorate in print. Work has proceeded very smoothly. I finished the key block Monday night while watching Ghost Busters on Netflix. Then, I set the register for the color block by printing the key block onto a piece of paper and printing from that paper to a new block. So far, this technique has yielded very predicable and accurate results. The color block should be finished by the end of the day.
If you would like me to create a custom print for you or someone you love, I would be delighted to hear from you. Stop by my Etsy shop and click on the Contact the Shop Owner button.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New VW Split Window Bus Prints

Happiness comes in color, and so does the new Volkswagen Bus print from Bound Staff Press. Like a new box of crayons this split window comes in the colors of the rainbow. If you cannot wait to have one of these for yourself they are available in my Etsy shop. Here are a few examples.

My grandparents picked out their 1963 Kombi in Germany, then had it shipped to the States. They paid less than $3000, and could hardly get rid of it when it was time to head back to Africa. Now a split window bus demands a pretty penny. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Making Things Fit

Most of the print images at Bound Staff Press are made in standard sizes; 4x6, 5x7, etc. This way many other processes can be streamlined as well. I usually cut paper to 9x11 or 9x12; and frame sizes and packaging also are standardized.

For some time, I have wanted to easily center my print block on the paper while printing on my big letterpress. In an attempt to make this happen, I have cut some specialized lockup furniture that will accommodate my most common print block sizes. Now when I lock up my print, it will be centered in the chase opening. This will allow me to more easily and more quickly center my image on the paper. None of this was a problem when I printed primarily on an etching press. At that time, I could place my paper and block anywhere I wanted. With a floor model letterpress, all of this must be setup and locked in place before printing can begin.

This is what I came up with. It is made of MDF and color coded for easy use. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New VW print

The day has finally arrived. A new VW linocut has been cut and proofed.  It still has a little fine tuning before it is complete, but it is almost ready to hang on your wall. Here are a few sneak peaks.

I've been getting neck deep in Volkswagen busses lately researching and pricing and scouting for deals.  This only further fueled my desire to create some more VW prints and possibly publish another calendar. I still have 6 months to get that plan off the ground. This is the first two color Volksy print, but it won't be the last. Soon I hope to be able to print all kinds of VWs in any color you can imagine. Let me know what you'd like to see next.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good News in the Mail

After a very relaxing long weekend in Estes Park, I received word that my entry in this year's National Small Prints Show was accepted, and was added to the traveling exhibit. This is an image I started to draw shortly before my sister died more than two years ago. I did nothing with it until July of this past year. I was finally ready to get back to work on some printmaking.

 Impossible Ladder

 The ladder in the image is an exploration of how the ascension to God and his mysteries often seems impossible. I cannot yet untangle the suffering and growth in my spiritual journey over the past two years. I am learning that comfort comes during suffering, and sometimes richness is found in wanting. What seems impossible to you?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Are Invited

Bound Staff Press is located in a Jr/Sr high school. I am always looking for ways to get students in to use the equipment and become more familiar with printing processes. Earlier in the year, I asked if any students would be willing to print their graduation invitations on the small letterpress in the shop. Three students thought it was a good idea, so I started to put together the things we would need to make a quality invite fairly similar to the ones they could purchase from Jostens. With some trial and error, we managed to produce our shop's first reliable photopolymer plates. I set the type for the text inside the invite, and the students learned how to set up make-ready.

Our project will cost somewhere around 14¢ per invite. This is quite a bit less than the options available through Jostens. We don't have an engraving or foil this year, but we might next year. Stay tuned.

Taylor printing the front of the card

Taylor examining her work

Monday, October 1, 2012


If you haven't heard, Etchpop is a laser etching company that can turn an image into a relief printing plate. The company started off as a Kickstarter project, and has really taken off. They put out a call for artists, and I jumped in with both feet. Not long ago, I got a sample block of the image that I let them use. It is available as a 4.25x5 up to an 11x17. I think it is a super cool way to mix old and  new technology to create hand made goods.