28 February 2010

saint brigid

Saint Brigid is the patron saint of--among many other things--fugitives, chicken farmers, and midwives. And also of printing presses. I learned this last bit just recently, and I'm kind of fascinated by it. I like the idea of a saint interceding on behalf of a printing press. From what little I know of printing presses, I can imagine that they could sometimes use the help.

If I'd known about St. Brigid sooner, I might have started bending her ear a little bit, just to cover my bets. My partner-in-crime signed up for a letterpress printing class last fall, and ever since, he's been churning out the most amazing things. Postcards. Business cards. All working up to a grand finale--our wedding invitations.

I am pleased to announce that the invitations are done. And by "done," I mean "printed." There's still some assembly required--which will probably call for some heavy machinery and maybe a few beers. And then comes all the envelope stuffing and handwriting of addresses. Which actually sounds kind of nice to me. I really like postage stamps.

Of course, I'm not going to ruin the surprise for anyone by posting a photo of the invitation--you never know who's reading--but I can share the save-the-date card that we slipped in with our Christmas cards last December.

What looks like a tiny red thread in the photo above really is a tiny red thread. I tied sixty or seventy of those miniature bows in the course of a few grueling hours last winter. And it was totally worth it, even if my fingers were a little stiff for a few days afterwards.

Figuring out the save-the-date was a snap compared to all the debate that went into planning our invitation. Between the two of us, we have one person who's obsessed with language and one with very discriminating tastes where layout and color are concerned. I think, in the end, we both got what we wanted, and hey, isn't that what this whole marriage thing is all about?

I really want to show you the invitation now, but I can't, so instead, here's a picture my man took of the work in progress. Before you can print anything, you need to set the type in a frame called a chase. The blocks of wood filling in the gaps around the type are called "furniture," a detail that I'm enjoying almost as much as the whole St. Brigid thing.

I'm pretty jealous of all the fun stuff my partner-in-crime has been doing in the studio. I love the big, hulking printing presses that he's been working on, and when all the chaos is over, I'm going to make a point of learning more about how this all works. If you're as intrigued as I am, I'd recommend taking a look at www.briarpress.org. If you're in the Seattle area, you'll find that there are several classes available in letterpress printing, including the one that my man has been taking at Pratt Fine Arts Center.

We knew from the start that we'd be making our invitations, but I don't think we really imagined we'd end up with anything like this. Here's hoping that all of those other things we're taking on--like, say, the food--will work out half as well...

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