Everyone is talking about Leonard Cohen. At book group last night, we talked about his poetry, novels, and song lyrics. It’s a sweet sorrow – the sad circumstances of his death have awakened interest and nostalgia, and it’s wonderful to talk about him and his work, and to read lots of articles and blog posts about him, but all with the underlying sadness of his loss.

I work with vintage letterpress and blocks, as a volunteer, in the caseroom at Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen – lucky me!Smails 1Smails 2

Gorgeous vintage blocks.
Gorgeous Vintage Blocks

Yesterday, I worked on my typesetting skills (thanks, Gen, for being such a patient teacher) by setting wooden vintage type to make a poster featuring Leonard Cohen’s words from Anthem. Second to Halleluiah, it’s one of his most popular songs, and this quote is used extensively across the world:

‘Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.’Smails 5

I think it resonates so deeply, because in this world where nothing less than perfection is deemed acceptable, many people suffer misery at what they perceive to be failure. I’m very self-critical and strive for perfection, like many of us, and of course, perfection never happens so, as a result,  I suffer constantly from low self-esteem. Leonard Cohen, in his amazing wisdom, reminds me that nothing, or nobody, is perfect, and that’s okay, in fact, he intimates that imperfection is how it should be.Smails 4

This work needs some refinement – will post a photo of the final print when it’s complete (not perfect, but good enough!). It will start life printed on paper but will, undoubtedly, find its way onto fabric for my own personal use. I’m mindful of copyright issues and would never break the rules!

Thanks for visiting. Musical quilt update coming very, very soon. (And it’s anything but perfect!)

Leonard Cohen and Letterpress

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6 thoughts on “Leonard Cohen and Letterpress

  • November 17, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Your typesetting skills look great to me Muriel and the vintage lettering makes a beautiful collage just the way they are! What good fortune with your love of lettering that you get to volunteer at a printing shop – what fun.

    • November 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

      The vintage letters look great as they are and I often prefer them to the printed pieces. They are also incredibly tactile and very, very stroke-able!

  • November 17, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I agree with Carol on the lettering. Leonard always knew what to say and how to say it in any situation.

    • November 17, 2016 at 11:25 am

      You’re right about Leonard and he will continue to comfort, and inspire, many.

    • November 18, 2016 at 6:23 am

      It’s a joy to work with both Leonard’s words and vintage letterpress.


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