Gahd. Printers. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Oh wait, yes I can. In this particular case at least. The design, printing, packaging and sales of The Letterist calendars over the last three years have always felt like a bit like a natural disaster. First of all, I've never quite managed to get one done on time. All year I'm thinking about it, making grand but vague plans for how it's going to be the Cadillac of calendars...waiting for the perfect idea and the perfect quiet, rainy, jazzy, winey evening to arrive. Of course that's never how it works...as with anything...you just have to do it. Like Hemingway once said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
I don't know why, but my calendar projects have always felt exactly like that. Bleeding. I never want to start on it too early in the year, because my style and skill evolve and I'll probably hate it come October. So I usually leave it til October but then I'm so busy that I rush through it, hate it, redo it, rush through it again, and never have enough time to get it perfect. I sit down and write Jan, January, Feb, February, Calendar, Twenty Eighteen, over and over and over again in different pens, nibs and styles...and each iteration somehow further descends into the deep, dark abyss of horrible, unshareable work. It may seem a little dramatic to you, but....it is.
Then, when I'm finally ready to finish, no abandon (in Joyce's words) the work and save it for print - there arise a whole new set of complications, and yet even less time. Will it be bound? Do I need cellophane sleeves? What paper will I print it on? Can I get all that crap here and coordinate in time to have this thing ready before the calendar year starts? And usually, sadly, the answer to that question turns out to be no. Which is followed by at least one afternoon of tears, and then a long evening of I'm-so-over-this-whiskies.
I won't bore you with all the details and each year's own unique horrors, but I do have to tell this one story. Two years ago I thought I had this perfect plan. I found a printer around the corner (close! I can check in every day!), I sourced my own paper (Cadillac!) and I had the cellophane here on time and had some kick-ass local wooden blocks made to hold it. Check, check, check.
And then one afternoon I walked in...hoping to have the latest batch of 100 to collect...and I noticed a worrisome, just-shat-my-pants look on the printer's face. I took a deep, conscious, collecting breath and said tell me. He then whipped around and in his hands held a huge stack, of the tiniest calendars I have ever seen. It was like a magic trick. Printed, trimmed, collated...a lot of them. [I mean, when you realize something is wrong, why would you see the project through anyway?] I burst out laughing but it was pure shock-awe-WTF laughter. My little head couldn't even fathom how that was possible. And the dude just stood there, like an emoji, wide shiny teeth all in a row, with a face that said only one thing. "Honey, I shrunk the kids."
Turned out that some important, very busy client had walked in in the middle of my print job and given him something to do. Something that need to be scaled down to about 65%. So when he got back to completing my babies, he forgot to uncheck the scale button. And then, he also forgot to look up from his screen where he was probably downloading pirated movies, to notice that this was happening...so he let a whole bunch of them come out like that! And then, because he knew he was in big trouble - making a mess of my imported paper, he somehow reckoned, hey, better collated than not. I think that was what got me most. He took the time to friggin' collate a hundred teeny-tiny mis-printed calendars! Didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so yeah, I did a bit of both.
Anyway, two years later - I decided the only way to avoid the disaster was to print them myself, and to avoid the bleeding, I'd skip the calligraphy. The Letterist's signature is handwriting for sure, but I am also insanely passionate about paper...textures, weights, nuances, transparencies, and layers...so I decided my twenty-eighteen wall calendar would be an ode to that. I wanted to use a varied selection of stocks that not only looked good together, but would somehow commemorate my best year yet...by using some of the leftovers from my favourite print jobs. Anyway, yada yada, as usual, I sat down to write a paragraph and post a bunch of pictures, but I've now written seven so I guess its time for the pictures.
Introducing the Twenty-Eighteen Letterist Wall Calendar. Starring in this Paper Porn feature: Rives Tradition Pale Cream (250gsm), Conqueror Laid Cream (300gsm), a little accent panel on Keaykolor Biscuit (300gsm - heartbreakingly now discontinued!) or Curious Skin Grey (380gsm - 380!) and of course, could never ever do without it...a little band on Curious Translucent Bright White (112gsm)...otherwise commonly and oh-so-lovingly known as, vellum. There is also a single sheet of Curious Matter Andina Grey (270gsm) which I'm totally obsessed with but sadly can't print on, so it forms the backdrop. And...all this magic is held together by a trusty little binder clip. I mentioned in my last post that I have two wonderful ladies working with me...so here's a little visual story they put together themselves as they worked on it. They're meticulous, they're creative, and these honies ain't never going to shrink my kids. Enjoy.
PS. Sorry...I haven't really thought about retailing them this year...but if you love it, and want one (or more), please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll figure something out.
PPS. Also...there is a pretty rocking little desk calendar coming too. Stay tuned.
xo Calendar Girl