Back when I was pregnant with my son, Bennett, I began exploring the world of letterpress printing. Letterpress is an old style of printing that involves manually applying ink to a machine that then rolls it over a plate and the plate is then pressed into paper. It's definitely more complicated than that, but for time's sake, that is the simplified version. There's many different types of printing machines that print in this style.
What attracted me to letterpress initially is my love of antiques. My ideal Saturday morning is spent picking my way through a flea market looking at all the old stuff for sale. It's actually one of the few hobbies my husband and I have in common. Being a graphic designer/artist, letterpress is a combination of my favorite things, printing, paper and antiques. The process has also had a huge resurgence recently, and many high end wedding stationery shops offer this as a print method for invitations.
The letterpress method is unique in that the printing results in an impression with ink. You're able to feel the design and type by brushing your fingers over the paper. This can't be achieved by modern methods of printing involving laser, offset, or inkjet.
During my pregnancy with Bennett, I did more research on how I could learn letterpress printing. I met a very kind man by the name of John from Perennial Designs, who agreed to let my husband and I come by his shop and check out his presses. He even let me print on some, I was instantly hooked! A few months later he sold me my first press, a Golding Pearl Official No. 1. It's absolutely beautiful. The serial number on the press is number 51 which means it is very very old and one of the original presses to leave the factory. I named it Hansel.
I also acquired another press by different means that is quite a bit bigger and younger than Hansel, her name is Greta and I will introduce you to her in another blog post. See where Hansel came from? Greta means pearl, which is the type of press they both are, and who's Greta without Hansel?
Given the uniqueness of Hansel's serial number, I decided early on that I would only produce limited edition prints on him. I plan to only print 51 of each design that I print on him, and to sign and number them. I hope you'll follow along on this letterpress journey with me and enjoy the process as much as I know I will!