Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vintage Printing Plates

My friends and I ended up going to an estate sale (my first one ever) and I could easily see how attending these could become an addicting habit, because every one is different and treasures could be found at any one of them. I admit it was a bit strange walking into someone’s home and looking through belonging that had been kept, used and perhaps even cherished; and while there were moments of discomfort (since death is never comfortable), overall it was an interesting experience.

There were a few things that caught my eye at the estate sale (mostly vintage items like old tins and a mint typewriter in particular) but I didn’t want them enough to buy them. However, the first thing I immediately zoned in on were the color separation plates used in offset printing. There was a stack of these metal sheets with different designs; it seemed like many of them were about toys and zoo animals (and some were definitely more interesting and more detailed than others). I’m naturally drawn to design related items, and these were even more appealing to me because the designs were from the 1960s—and I love that retro design aesthetic.

These four images were on the same plate and looks to be part of a Miss Portland Pageant book from 1960. My favorite page of the four is the “Blue Lake Park” ad page; I really like the simplicity of the ads that’s nearly all type.

The Multnomah Kennel Club plate is the boldest of my plates in bright red, so it’s easier to see how the image is placed on the metal sheet.

Estate sales are somewhat of a hit or miss experience depending on the personal taste and interests of the deceased; I thought it was lucky that we stumbled upon an estate sale of someone who was involved with printing—and for some reason had kept these printing plates after all these years. I thought that these plates were a great get—a combination of design, printing and vintage—and I’m hoping to transform them into something interesting.

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