Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rick von Holdt's Foolproof Press

Hamilton Wayzgoose poster by Rick von Holdt
Hamilton Wood Type Museum just held its second annual wayzgoose. Traditionally, wayzgooses (wayzgeese?) were parties held in print shops as the printers and their apprentices prepared for winter, papering over the windows against the cold and drinking liberally at the same time. At Hamilton, the wayzgoose brings together a gaggle of wood type geeks to hear about the history of wood type, admire its use, and do a bit of printing.

Letterpress printers are a charming bunch, and none more so than Rick von Holdt of the Foolproof Press, who lives on a farm outside Des Moines. After decades of scouring print shops that had made the transition from letterpress to offset, he has accumulated a large collection of presses as well as metal and wood type, and puts it all to good use.

Farm Fresh Printing hand bill and poster that says Put all your wood type in my truck and nobody gets hurt
von Holdt's sense of humor comes through in many of his works.

Small poster that says Typographers do it with their faces
Based on the work on the walls at the Hamilton, I'd say von Holdt is the dean of the wayzgoose poster. As part of the Amalgamated Printers' Association, he has printed posters for their annual wayzgoose events all over the country. Here are a couple of the many that were on display:

Two Wayzgoose posters for APA

Close up of the quilt house on the Amana poster
The quilted house on the Amana poster is made up of type borders. Clever, fun and appropriate!

Two printed pieces about farming and gardening
Sometimes von Holdt's work shows a serious side. Click this image for a much larger version to read the words at left and see the detail of the work at right. (In case it's not obvious even at a larger size, every one of the green stems and leaves and the colorful flowers is created from a separate piece of dingbat or ornament.)

Rick von Holdt is no fool, despite the name of his press.

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