I have always had a crush on letterpress. Â Smooth metal shapes with deeply carved letters, coated with the gray patina of time. Â In my mind’s eye they are the size of children’s blocks, and just as tactile. Â But I’ve never used them in artwork. Â In real life they are often tiny, and clunky, and while they can be beautiful in other artists’ hands, they are awkward at best in mine.
But then I discovered a beautiful Art Deco set in the vintage shopÂ “Call Me Clever” (callmeclever.etsy.com). Â I fell in love with the letters, and the way they were grouped together in a topsy turvy manner. Â The image glued itself to my brain, and when I went back, the letterpress had sold and just the image remained. Â I contacted Shawn the shop owner and asked if he would allow me to do something artistic with his photo. Â I didn’t know what. Â (Sometimes it’s best to not think about that til you get permission, lest your creative heart be broken ;) ) Â He was very kind and agreeable, and I’m thrilled to share with you the results of our collaboration:
I focused on a small section of the picture, and shuffled the blocks a bit to fill out the space. Â Then I used Photoshop to adjust the contrast and brightness of each letter & background so that the overall image felt balanced. Â That image was then fused onto etched and tarnished zinc so that the smoky silver tone of the metal mimicked the look of the letterpress. Â This little piece becameÂ February’s art card. Â (I have a few left over ~ click the image above for more info)
I wanted to create a larger piece as well ~ something that really pulled together a variety of inspiration into one piece… the key from last year’sÂ Valentine’s Day card… the cut out metal letters I’ve been making… familiar elements, presented in a new way.
blocking out sections
the finished piece
I’m still deciding where to go next. Â I’m thinking of offering this as a customizable design. Â It might make a very lovely personalized gift Â The letter could change, the words in script… it might look nice in copper or blues or greens or some other combination. Â So many possibilities. Â If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Â And of course if you’d like a similar piece, just email me!
Until next time ~