Monday, November 14, 2011

New Challenge Gordon Press Has Come Home!

Morris's press in his basement.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were attending a social function in Ottawa. Seated at our luncheon table was a delightful artist from Ottawa, Morris Danylewich. During our conversation at lunch, Morris discovered I was a calligrapher, book artist, and letterpress artist. He at once offered me his 8x12 letterpress and type cabinet, if I could get them moved from his basement studio.

We went to look at the press and found it in remarkably good condition, with three brand new rollers. It ran very, very smoothly and was in excellent shape. We had hoped to take it apart ourselves and move it in pieces, but we were unable to remove the main gear.  Thanks to the help of Stephen, from The Ottawa Letterpress Gang, a few days later,  the gear and flywheel were removed. We hired Moore the Mover in Ottawa to move the press out of the basement and onto the bed of our Toyota truck for the trip to Deep River.

My good friend Nora and I drove to Ottawa and back with the press loaded. The next evening we had lads (strong like bull) from Deep River who had offered to help get the press into the basement. They took it off the truck in good order, but trying to move it around the corner on the top of the stairs was too much They placed it outside on a pallet for us to remove parts. We are hoping to have them return this evening to move the parts into the basement.

Nancy with press after parts removed.
My loving husband Fran├žois helped me to remove parts yesterday according to the directions from Briar Press and Green Dolphin Press, We now have the press in three manageable pieces. Once it is moved into the basement we will reassemble and insert the flywheel, attach the platen, and ink disk, and hopefully the rollers and give it a bit of a turn to make sure all is working properly. Waiting for the lads to come and move the pieces into the basement has been really difficult for me. I seem to have the patience of a gnat.

New Press Room in Grotto Studio.
 I have moved everything around in the Grotto Studio, making room for the new press. I hope to move my composing stone/type cabinet to the left of the Challenge Gordon platen press when it is installed, then have my Vandercook 01 proofing press to the left of the cabinet.  A good friend here, Boni Patterson, had a drip pan made for me to specifications provided by Michael Babcock of Interrobang Letterpress from Boston. I have done a preliminary clean of the gunk on the press but will do a more thorough clean once it is in the Grotto.

New Type Cabinet
Morris also gave me his Hamilton Style Type cabinet, full of wonderful foundry type. My good friends Nora and Madeline went to Ottawa with me before we moved the press to disassemble the cabinet, pack up all the type cases, and bring them home.  Once back in Deep River, good friends Morgan and Severn with their friend Asa came and unloaded all the cases and cabinet parts into the Grotto. The next day my good friend Rhonda came and helped me screw the cabinet back together and put all the type cases in place.

I will be spending a good part of the winter months proofing up each case to be sure I know what I have. In addition to the type, there was a drawer full of Sterling Pins for use with Honeycomb base, many of which will be going to Michael at Interrobang.

I am still quite stunned at the abundance that has been brought into my life. Morris insists that this is not a gift, but rather, that he is passing on the equipment to me to keep letterpress alive. As a printing historian and letterpress artist, rather than a working printer, I find this idea quite warming to my heart. Never in my lifetime would I have been able to afford to purchase all of this  letterpress equipment, type, and cabinet, all at once. It truly is a blessing to have been provided this opportunity. It came out of the blue, was not expected, and is quite precious to my soul to have this happen to me at this time.

Even more precious to me has been the willingness of dear friends here in Deep River who have given of their time and expertise to help me get the equipment home. For me, relationships that were close have deepened with affection and love for my friends and their unselfish giving of their time and talents to help me. As a person of deep and abiding faith, this sharing of talents and giving of time, cements in my soul the belief that living in community with others is one of our most important callings for human beings. I will be forever thankful for the gift of time and support brought to me in these past weeks as we moved the press and equipment into its new home in the Grotto Studio here in Deep River.

As I wait for the lads (strong like bull) to appear and carry my new press into the Grotto, my heart is warm and thankful with the blessings God, in her infinite wisdom, has brought into my soul. The gifts of friendship and shared talents, of creative purpose and living in community, are to be cherished.

I know in the depths of my being, in the core of my heart, that all will be well, and all will be well, and with the grace and wisdom of God in our souls, all will be well.

Lads (strong like bull) carry press down to Grotto
Husband attaches pieces

Crew works to attach lever prior to flywheel

The men who put my press into the "Grotto"!!!