Type is Set — Desert Wisdom on the Vandercook Letterpress

Title Page on Letterpress

Title Page on Vandercook Cylinder Letterpress © 2013 Bo Mackison

let-ter-press  noun ˈle-tər-ˌpres  “Letterpress printing is a term for the relief printing of text and image using a press with a “type-high bed” printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.” from wikipedia


Letterpress Bed © 2013 Bo Mackison

I finished printing the Desert Wisdom Cards on the letterpress last week. This week I set and printed the title page. Can you read the title page from the type that is set on the letterpress bed?


Desert Wisdom Colophon ©2013 Bo Mackison


Once the title page was printed, I set the colophon. What is a colophon? 

colophon  col-o-phon  noun ˈkä-lə-fən, -ˌfän  “A brief description of publication or production notes relevant to the edition, in modern books usually located at the verso of the title-leaf, but also sometimes located at the end of the book…often included a good deal of additional information on the book, including statements of limitation, data on paper, ink, type and binding, and other technical details.” (from wikipedia)

The word colophon is from the Latin word kolophōn which means “summit” or “finishing touch”. I included a colophon in the Desert Wisdom Cards, and after printing a mere seven lines of type and my wisdom card logo, I truly felt like a had reached the summit of an incredibly high goal.

I have finished all of the printing for the Desert Wisdom Card set — the title page, twenty-two cards and the colophon. Next in the process is trimming the pages and then the assembly of the cards.

The Desert Wisdom Card set is getting closer to completion!






Bo Mackison is artist, photographer, book-maker, naturalist, curator, and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is learning the wonders of the cylinder letterpress, and adding words to her vocabulary, as she prints the Desert Wisdom Cards.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. It looks absolutely beautiful. And – always great to learn a new word…:-)! Nice work!!!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I’ve learned more than a few new words, Marcie. Learned what a physical experience typesetting and letter pressing are. A week later and my arm muscles are still recovering. 🙂

  2. Congratulations, Bo! This has been a wonderful journey – well done!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Never expected this to be a 6 month project, or for it to birth several more sets. What a joy the act of creation is!

  3. Looks like such an intricate and fascinating process!

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