[letterpress]

I have always loved paper crafts.

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I can remember as a very young girl, having weekly art classes in the attic of our home with my Dad, Kevin.  These were really special times of growth and wonderful memories.  My dad is an architect and he and I have always shared a special bond over design. I wish I had some pictures of my childhood sketchbook to share, some pretty classic stuff in there!

When Nick and I were planning our wedding, I knew from the start that I wanted to design our invitations.  I didn’t have a plan for printing them until my dad mentioned an old etching press he still had from his college days.  It was in the basement and had not seen the light of day in over 20 years!

Bingo.

My dad talked to a local Roanoke print artist and came up with a plan to turn his flatbed etching press into a makeshift letterpress machine.  And on a very cold weekend in December 2010 we printed 115 or so invitations in the garage of my childhood home.  It took 2 full days to print because it was a 2 color composition, which meant we had to print everything twice. It was a weekend I will never forget and Nick, Dad, and I had a blast.

Here are a few snapshots of the process…

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mixing the perfect shade of lavendar

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…and I FINALLY got it!

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Dad making a guide so we can place the paper in the same position every time

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the magnesium plate we got made from Owosso Graphics

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we hand inked each run with a brayer…

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…placed the plate ink-side-down on top of the paper…and spun the wheel to create the impression

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My adorable mom provided snack parties for us all weekend and she even got to

spin the wheel a few times herself…gosh she is cute!

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We printed the invitation, direction card, rsvp and thank you card all on one sheet…

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…and then had them cut down to size

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we stuffed them in a navy tri-fold inner envelope and closed with a button and twine

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what a fun weekend!

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The whole experience of the wedding invitations really sparked my interest in letterpress.  After all the wedding craziness was over, I decided to take a Platen Press letterpress class at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond. Since then I have taken 3 classes and loved every minute.

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In February of 2012 of I bought my first real press… a 5×8 Kelsey tabletop was all we could fit into our small condo at the time, but it is such a cool little piece of machinery and history!

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But…in December 2012, after moving into a bigger space, Nick and I bought this baby…

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… an 8×12 Old Style Chandler and Price from 1903…sigh

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Our great friend, Kenny, helped us pick it up in Woodbridge, Va and bring it home

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I love it so much and cant wait to see what it can do! I’m waiting on a few missing parts but am so anxious to get this thing flying.

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Luckily Hobie approves of my new hobby as well.

Check back often for the latest and greatest adventures in letterpress!


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