Monday, November 29, 2010

Visit with Thornwillow Press

While most of us probably spent Friday at home, still recovering from all the turkey & mashed potatoes consumed the previous night on Thanksgiving...

... a few TALAS folks avoided the imminent leftovers & headed up north to visit Thornwillow Press.

Needless to say, we were extremely impressed by the scope of their operation and not to mention the quality of their finished product.

Luke Pontifell was kind enough to show us around his large operation.

To the left is a small corner of the shop, including several printing presses designed for a number of functions.

Below is a glimpse at the printing process of some holiday cards.

Thornwillow is involved in all aspects of the job, from start to finish. From papermaking, to plate engraving & production, to printing & burnishing, to envelope die-cutting & lining!

Below you can see the press on the left is set up for die-cutting. To the right, Luke explains his novel approach to polymer stamping to Marge & Jake of Talas upstairs in his bindery.

Some more pictures from the bindery...

Thanks to everyone at Thornwillow for showing us around!

We hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the visit.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rice paper, what's that? Japanese Fibers: Demystified

Western papers are enough to wrap our hands around...
but then we enter the sphere of Japanese Papers.
Welcome to Washi world!

All too often, students visit Talas requesting "Rice Paper".
I don't know what that is, do you?

In the Japanese Paper (or Washi) 101 handbook, papers can be broken down into
3 key fibers: Gampi, Kozo & Mitusmata.

Kozo: (or Mulberry) Used in approximately 90% of the washi made today. This deciduous shrub can grow to a height of 3-5meters, thus providing a very long fiber in the papermaking process.

Mitsumata: This bush originated in China, and can grow to a height of 1-1.5meters. The fibers are shorter than Kozo's, and yield very fine papers.

Gampi: This bush grows to a height of 1-1.5m, it cannot be cultivated and is therefore rare and the most expensive of these 3 materials. The finished paper is somewhat translucent and has a shiny texture.

Now that you are familiar with the key fibers in Washi ,
what distinguishes it from most Western papers?

FIBERS: Washi is made from long natural fibers (see above), which are light and strong in characteristics. They are usually pure in form with little or no additives. Special beating methods are used to facilitate the separating of fibers, and their length remains unaffected. On the contrary, Western Papers are mostly made from shorter fibers like cotton linter or paper pulp. Sizing, filler etc. are often times added to these plant materials depending on the particular paper and its function.

COLOR: Traditional washi papers are often bleached by the sun, water, or snow using methods which date back for centuries. Western papers often employ either chemical & natural methods of bleaching.

PRODUCTION: Sheet production is another very important distinction to acknowledge. Washi is produced using the Nagashisuki method. This means that paper is built up layer by layer utilizing a rocking motion. Fibers are suspended in a liquid mixture with the aid of Neri. Western papers are very different in that they are often formed in just one dip.

DRYING: Drying is another variable that can effect a papers characteristics. In Washi production, sheets are brushed onto drying boards. This means low shrinkage, and papers dry incredibly flat. Western paper is hung on rope to dry, resulting in high shrinkage, which yields in a thicker, denser sheet of paper.

Watch the video below to see Washi production & boarding in a more commercial setting.

Japanese papers can vary quite a bit, but can be easily distinguished from that of its Western counterpart.

It is important to understand these basic principles of Japanese Paper & papermaking before choosing a paper that best suits your needs.

Want to see and feel the different fibers in their final paper form?
No worries, we just so happen to sell a Japanese Paper Sample book.

Like Talas on Facebook!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Win a $100 Talas Gift Card!

So fans, we need your help. As you may have noticed, Talas recently acquired a new team member, the Zund: digital cutting machine.

We are now on the quest for a Zund “catch phrase”, and are asking you to help us write this phrase… in return we will award our favorite phrase with a $100 Talas Gift Certificate just in time for the holidays!

The Zund is a Digital Cutting Machine that will facilitate the production of custom manufactured boxes, enclosures, etc. It will enable custom work to be produced in both small and large quantities, and make it much more accessible then ever before at prices that won’t make you stop in your tracks.

We’re hoping you can come up with some better ideas, but here are a few we thought of to get your creative juices flowing:

- Custom, now within reach.

- Because custom is the new black!

- Fit in, not out, buy custom.

- Because the shoe doesn’t always fit.

Post or email ( your slogans for your chance to win your $100 Talas Gift Card!! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

It Has Arrived!

After literally years of chit-chat...

The ZUND G3 has arrived!

Digital Cutting System
Custom Box Making, and Board/Paper Cutting & Scoring

Are you anxious about all those custom fit boxes that desperately need constructing? Can't find the time or the energy to make them? or the interns?

Let TALAS help, with our brand new Zund G3 that will allow us to custom make boxes to suit all your needs.

What makes our custom boxes different from
other archival boxes on the market?

The router driven software makes large and short run production hassle free and quickly made, without the need of expensive, custom made dies or equipment.

Our construction of these boxes truly makes them a step above the rest.

Choose between metal forged edges, or a tucked wall construction, providing extra rigidity and support when necessary (particularly on larger or weight bearing boxes).

A wide range of materials will be offered, including our full line of Heritage Corrugated Boards which has been regarded as the most rigid and dimensionally stable compared to other comparable corrugated boards. Other available materials include Coroplast, solid fibered board, museum board, paper, etc.

The materials used, in conjunction with the incredibly precise router driven cutter and scorer results in an unprecedented product of the highest quality.

We will also offer the widest variety of complex box styles ranging from clam-shells (laminated to your specified covering material: bookcloth, paper, fabric), to 2-piece boxes, to slip cases, and many designs in between.

None of our designs work for you? No problem. Just send us your template designs, and we can cut and score exactly to your specifications in your requested materials.

The large bed allows us to handle sheets of material up to 70" x 98" for the largest boxes on the market!

Ultimately, we would like our customers to see this machine as an opportunity to let your imagination run rampant. Projects that were deemed unrealistic, and unobtainable in the past due to either size or cost restraints may now become a reality!
Stop by our shop to see it in action, and...
... Say hello to your new best friend for 2011, the Zund G3!

Stay Tuned for more updates as the machine is installed!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In the Movies

Setting the Stage...
(front door rings, Gwen - local artist & art director for various feature films- is buzzed in to 330 Morgan Ave and proceeds to Talas' showroom on the 2nd floor)

Gwen: I desperately need your help! I was in earlier in the week, and purchased some supplies for the movie I'm working on... remember?

Me: Yes sure, the one the where you had to stage an amateur book conservators bench... I helped you pick out some of the necessities.

Gwen: That's the one! Well, now the director desperately wants a shot of type that reads "The Interpreter". Do you have type?

Me: Sure! We sell brass type, and stock it in Edinburgh in a number of sizes.

Gwen: Can you lease or rent it out because we only need it for 1 scene, and the sets seem to be rather pricey?

Me: I wish, but this it's an extremely delicate product, and even the slightest scratch or ding and I wouldn't be able to sell it to a customer....

(deliberation... Gwen eventually leaves with a list of local letterpress shops and ventures off in her hunt for type).

Later that afternoon I receive a call from Gwen explaining that the producer would like to hire me that evening as a type handler (similar to that of an animal handler). I agreed, and we shot the scene after I set the type and never let it out of my sight!

Anyways, here are a few pictures from the set, the movie is called In The Family. Be sure to keep your eyes opened for it in the near future!

Isn't it exciting when book arts make the big screen?

Monday, November 1, 2010

13th Edition Catalog is here!

Drum roll please...

After countless weeks of teasing,
the 13th Edition Talas catalog has finally arrived!!!

256 pages, including a 16 page full-color section for your perusing joy.

It was a long road
full of re-prints and nit-picking, but the result is a product that we feel goes above and beyond that of any of our previous editions!
We hope that you feel the same way too.

To the left is an image of a small selection of large scale paper (and palettes) at the printing site.

After countless tweaking & proofs, color was okay-ed for printing, and we were officially on press!!

Many have already inquired... does the new catalog have any "hidden items" (ie the Pulik) like in the 12th edition?
Well, there's only one way to find out now isn't there?!

Catalogs are always gratis, and can be added onto any order for no charge. However, if you are only requesting a catalog, we do ask for customers to cover any shipping charges.