Letterpress in Berlin

Letterpress printing at P98a from erik spiekermann on Vimeo.

The workshop is almost ready. Some wood type still needs sorting (let alone identifying) and the small type like Akzidenz Grotesk in several text sizes as well as Block is waiting to be distributed. Our Korrex Berlin has new rollers and the other presses are also ready, so come June, we can start printing.

Helvetica, the movie

Apparently there are still people who haven’t seen this movie. You can rent it from here or even buy it and inflict it upon your mother, children, students, dogs – whomever you are trying to impress, shock or simply bore.

Random

Ever since I used my first numbering stamp as a schoolboy, these clever mechanical devices have fascinated me. I now print one on every piece that leaves our workshop, even though they are really difficult to print on a proof press. They require a lot of pressure and the plunger will eventually destroy the cylinder because it is much higher than type and will also print on the trip back (if you don’t understand this jargon, this may not be for you).

Which didn’t stop me from trying to build a forme with 60 of these little suckers. It’ll take a lot of arrangement, adjusting the makeready and other parameters to get them all to print fairly evenly, but I am not going to give up easily. These photos are from the first run which hasn’t yielded any presentable results so far.

The cool thing will be that every time it prints, all 60 stamps will rotate by one digit. Every print will be randomly unique.

(the two top pictures are by Max Zerrahn)
nummern
erik_nummerierwerk_72
nummerierwerke72
First proof

Steepest US streets

If you’re on a bicycle, this information could be vital. As far as I experienced from cycling around San Francisco, they missed quite a few streets.

I like the fact that the graphic uses FF Meta.

Click the image to enlarge
Top 10 US steepest streets
Via fixr

The Public Domain Review

Among millions of other goodies, http://publicdomainreview.org also has a collection of animated gifs like this one:

backwardsrider

That site is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. They trawl through collections of images, books, films, audio, essays and pick stuff that is obscure (i.e. well-hidden), amazing, insane even. But always interesting and not easily found elsewhere. And everything they publish is under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. In other words: they charge no money so they make no money. I’ve put my money where my mouth is and donated. You should do likewise, or else an amazing resource like this one cannot exist.

Letterpress will save the world

We (my new gallery and letterpress workshop, P98a in Berlin) printed a poster as a New Year’s gift for clients and friends at Edenspiekermann. Set in 16 cicero (approx. 17 pica) Akzidenz Grotesk Halbfett (aka Medium) type made from Plakadur, Berthold’s resin-based material for large display type. Two colours, 50x70cm (work it out for yourselves), printed on our Korrex Frankfurt. 100 posters, signed and numbered. Here it hangs on the wall of Ferdinand Ulrich’s office at the University in Halle.
The poster next to it is by Alexander Roth who works at FontShop International in Berlin and designs cool stuff, e.g. this site for FF Mark.
ferdinandPosters

More bicycles

Well, one more for now. Here in San Francisco one needs a few more gears. I had a bicycle put together for me by Brad Woehl at American Cyclery in the city. The frame was made by Waterford Precision Cycles in Wisconsin. I like Campagnolo and need 11 gears here in the hills. Athena is good enough for my less than professional needs.

I published these pictures before on this site, albeit smaller and with a warning to bike thieves.

Still rides like a dream.

waterford_72waterford_gears72waterford_hub72waterford_stem72

Bicycles

My remarks in interviews and videos about owning 13 bicycles has created quite a correspondence. Here now the proof, or rather, some proof that these bicycles do exist. I recently took pictures of the ones in Berlin (the others will follow). As you’ll see, there are only nine bikes here. Two more are in our little house in California, two others at my son’s house in London and one more in Amsterdam, parked downstairs from the Edenspiekermann offices there. Which would actually make it 14 bicycles if it wasn’t for the fact that one of them is not mine, but Susanna’s. I had it made for her birthday, so it gets a picture here but no count.

The Swiss Cresta is the all-purpose bike for Berlin when the weather is bad (like now in snow and ice) and when I have to carry more than my iPhone.

The Swiss Cresta is the all-purpose bike for Berlin when the weather is bad (like now in snow and ice) and when I have to carry more than my iPhone.

The Stevens trekking bike has been with me on the week-long rides somewhere in Germany every year. It is rugged enough for dirt roads and has enough gears to climb comfortably.

The Stevens trekking bike has been with me on the week-long rides somewhere in Germany every year. It is rugged enough for dirt roads and has plenty gears to climb comfortably.

I bought this from my friends at Cicli Berlinetta, mainly for its colour. It rides well but is a little short for me and actually a little too shiny and flash.

I bought this Wilier from my friends at Cicli Berlinetta, mainly for its colour. It rides well but is too short for me and actually a little too shiny and flash.

The De Rosa is also a little short for me but rides well. Its main attraction, however, are the infamous Delta brakes. They look great, but don’t ever try and adjust them – takes the best part of a day.

The De Rosa is also a little short for me but rides well. Its main attraction, however, are the infamous Delta brakes. They look great, but don’t ever try and adjust them – takes the best part of a day.

The infamous Delta brakes on the De Rosa.

The infamous Delta brakes on the De Rosa.

I bought this electric bike just to see whether it actually works. It doesn’t look as heavy as other pedelecs, but the battery on the handlebars doesn’t exactly look elegant either. It was designed by an architect, Hadi Teherani, and looks great, but at the expense of function. Quite frankly: I have never really used it, apart from around the block. But perhaps one day I’ll be grateful for some electric assistance.

I bought this electric bike just to see whether it actually works. It doesn’t look as heavy as other pedelecs, but the battery on the handlebars doesn’t exactly look elegant either. It was designed by an architect, Hadi Teherani, and looks great, but at the expense of function. Quite frankly: I have never really used it, apart from around the block. But perhaps one day I’ll be grateful for some electric assistance.

This is a single speed, converted from an old Viner frame. 48x16 gearing makes it slightly heavy to get going but fast once up there. My favourite bike for running around Berlin. Light enough to take it inside instead of locking it.

This is a single speed, converted from an old Viner frame. 48×16 gearing makes it slightly heavy to get going but fast once up there. My favourite bike for running around Berlin. Light enough to take it inside instead of locking and losing it.

This single speed was also made from an old Patelli racing bike. Susanna got it for her birthday in 2012. It has 48x19, so lighter to start but not quite as fast as the other single speed.

This single speed was also made from an old racing bike, a Patelli. Susanna got it for her birthday in 2012. It runs 48×19, so lighter to start but not quite as fast as the other single speed.

This was made for me by Dustin at Cicli Berlinetta. I take it out into the Grunewald but not around town.

This was made for me by Dustin at Cicli Berlinetta. I take it out into the Grunewald but not into traffic around town.