December 6, 2010 marks five years since letterpress printer/mentor Regis Graden passed away. The news of his cancer early in 2005 hit me like a one ton press falling off a truck. He assured me then that he was carrying out a “serious argument” with the disease. Today I still miss him and carry on that same argument. I started this cobbled together letterpress business during the dot.com bust of the mid-late 90′s when my once-hot art school web design services had cooled. I made so many mistakes. Embarrassing Mistakes. Unforgivable Mistakes. And he had a response to every one of them. My remembered favorites:
“You made a mistake?! That’s unheard of. Why, the last time I made a mistake was [long pause while he computes]…ten o’clock this morning.”
“The only way to never make a mistake is to never do anything.”
Thankfully, my mistakes are much fewer now. But I treasure my mistake history (now that it’s mostly…hopefully…over). And when I have the chance to teach new printers you’ll hear Regis’isms spewing forth loud and plentiful. Thank you, Regis.