today's interview comes from the fabulous Kathleen of twig and thistle. i got to meet kathleen at the alt summit blog conference a few months ago and she is just as sweet as her lovely blog! kathleen doesn't own a press herself, but has printed many projects on a press that her work happens to own! i thought that was encouraging to all you letterpress enthusiasts who are interested in letterpress but don't have a studio of your own. anyway, she has been so kind to snap some shots of a recent baby shower invitation she printed for her sister and the studio to share with us (and if you read her blog, you know her photography & personal work is simply amazing!) so i hope you enjoy!
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Hi! Please tell us a little about yourself: Thanks so much for asking me to be a part of your Letterpress Week! As you know, I'm completely smitten letterpress and consider myself more of an "addict" if anything. I live and work in Seattle, Washington and spend my days as a graphic designer here at a design firm. I have my own blog, Twig & Thistle, where I share all the things that inspire me both as a designer and as a crafter. My blog is where I document my finds and process and share fun DIY projects that incorporate both design, craft and of course letterpress.
You don't own a press but you've printed several projects yourself. I think that's encouraging to aspiring printers who perhaps don't have the means or resources to own their own press. My work actually has a Heidelberg Letterpress in our studio and I feel so fortunate to have access to it. It's a beautiful machine that works incredibly well and our studio generously encourages people to work on the press as often as possible and even provides free training classes to employees. When I interviewed there it was actually one of the selling points for me and I could hardly contain myself when I saw it!
Can you tell us how did you got started in letterpress printing and how you continue to print without your own press? :) My fixation with letterpress started in college and I began collecting everything I could on it. All those cards I bought for people never got mailed because I couldn't bring myself to part with them! Since my University didn't offer any classes on the subject I invested in a workshop at a local art school after college. It was a great intensive weekend course and helped me learn the basics but it wasn't until I found my job (with the press) that I actually got to put my skills to work.
Since my time on the press is limited, I typically design my plate and order it through a local plate making shop. This doesn't embrace the true art of letterpress and I'm sure most printers are cringing as they read this but the process allows me to have complete control over the design plus I can work more quickly rather than type setting by hand.
What sort of projects have you printed? I've had the pleasure of printing our company's holiday card for the last three years in a row which has been a ton of fun and huge honor. My personal projects consist mostly of baby shower invitations, wedding invites and business cards.
Why letterpress? What do you love about it? For me, it's all about the process. You have to think a little differently when you're preparing to print on a press and I enjoy that challenge. It's incredibly fun to work on the machine and develop a rhythm to print consistently and swiftly. It's also about the final piece of course; it feels like a piece of artwork to me and the deeper the impression the better! I adore the feel of the paper and the texture the impression makes, the smoothness of where the ink is laid and the attention to detail that must go into each piece.