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Old Blocks – New Prints!

June 20, 2014

In the last 22 years, Hatch has moved twice. The first relocation, in 1992, from 4th Avenue to Broadway, allowed us to unearth a number of old blocks that had been tucked into corners or cut up to use as shelving. During the shop’s time on Broadway, an intrepid volunteer (thank you Russell!) meticulously matched and reassembled (with glue and linen tape) as many blocks as two sultry summer vacations would allow. Since we’ve moved into our new home on 5th Avenue South, we’ve actually been able to put all of our blocks away in shelves (made from retired traveling exhibition containers!) so that we can see them all and, more importantly, easily access them all.

Master Printer Jim Sherraden selected a couple of these blocks and put ink and paper to them for the first time in 80 or 90 years, as part of his responsibilities and efforts to preserve the collection. For us, preservation through production means that by using the blocks and type, we are increasing the lifespan of the wood, conditioning it as we print. And one of the great perks are the posters and restrikes that come out of the shop! Here you can see the two blocks, side by side, and beneath those, the results of printing a) each block as it is now, and b) some hand set type to fill in the open area. That space normally would have advertised a show that was coming through town, or even a new store or business in town.

We’re enjoying how different the blocks are – one includes a great crowd scene at the top, and the classic Cooper Black typeface that was popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the other is a riot of hand drawn typography, filling up the entire print area.

Both of the prints are available in Hatch Show Print’s Haley Gallery, so if you’re in the neighborhood, drop in and see them up close and in person! 224 5th Avenue South.

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