I grew up as a photographer. I loved the dark room, the limitations of photography and pushing those limitations as far as I could. I spent most of my working life mastering photography and followed its changes and growth into the digital world. I think what I really loved about it was the craft, the hard work and many hours it took to master it. Today you just need an Iphone and instagram to be a good photographer.. time to move on..
I have always always loved design, I have studied it all my life. While most people held photography as a hobby, I had design. I have always been mesmerized by the creative use of type, how some people could take a few words and turn that in itself into a work of art.
Something new to master… and so it began.
One of the most common things I hear from letterpress aficionados is, “the first time I saw letterpress printing I fell in love with it”. I was no different. Having worked in the wedding world as a photographer all my life I say more than my share of fine letterpress work.
Step one. Buy press.
That is easier said than done…. Time to talk to my good friend google.. “wow.. that sure does look complicated..oh.. they are no longer made.. its how old???.. It weighs how much???!?!”
To make a long story short a few years ago I took my good friend Mark and headed south across the border to claim our Ebay auction prize.. A 110 year old Chandler and Price Pilot press. I loved it and still do, it was only less than a month later that I found Delilah.. a relative behemoth Chandler and Price 10×15 press.. a bit younger at 101 Delilah was a little trickier to move at 1500lbs! Jump forward a few years these two now share my home studio with Gladys a rescued 10×15 Heidelberg Windmill.
I have learned a lot over the past few years:
1. Letterpress printing is THE least efficient way to do ANYTHING.
2. Letterpresses are very finicky.
3. Mistakes are VERY costly.
4. Letterpresses are VERY hard to move.
5. Once you get them where you want them, learn how to use them there is another world of cutting cotton paper, making photopolymer plates etc just waiting to cause you an equal amount of grief.
6. Finally, I never thought I could love something so hard to do, so much.