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For the Love of Letterpress

Here's a celebratory day I can get behind: National Letterpress Appreciation Day. So chosen because 0.918" is the height of a piece of metal type. If you hear someone say, "type high," they're probably not referring to the high induced by letterpress printing -- although that is certainly thrilling unto itself (and also there are a variety of fumes involved). They're simply referring to the actual height necessary for the purposes of letterpress.

I have always been a creative person, but I was never talented in the typically artistic ways. I cannot draw well. I cannot paint well. I would be hard pressed to sculpt anything other than a blob. But I have always loved photography and composition specifically. And I've always appreciated playing with texture, color, and pattern, whether in interior design or sewing. And of course, I've always adored words. But I had zero clue that I could join those interests in any sort of artistic pursuit until I discovered book arts. Which is why my initial encounters with calligraphy, bookbinding, and later letterpress printing -- which occurred in my twenties and early thirties -- were truly a revelation to me, and one that eventually threw my whole career plan off-track. 
To attempt to give a gorgeous text a worthy vehicle to travel upon is a unique challenge, one that demands thoughtful attention to both the linguistic and visual. But having comfort with text is the one foothold I have that allows me to step into a more visual realm. I always always always feel like I won't come up with anything good, and after putting in the time and energy to figure it out, I'm always grateful for how the experience teaches and stretches me.

Since I opened the shop, the vast majority of my printing has been job printing for others -- social stationery, business cards, invitations, announcements, etc. -- and I have loved working on those jobs for certain. But I'm planning a project that will allow me to return to poetry and letterpress printing again in earnest, and I'm feeling frankly quite high about it. Type high, if you will. Also type scared-out-of-my-wits low. But the kind of scared that tells you you're moving in precisely the right direction. 

So here's to letterpress! And to language! And to all of us old souls who continue to love such antiquated things.