Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Starshaped Press

Over the weekend my History of the Book class met at the Starshaped Press, a print shop that uses movable type, platen presses from the 1920s, and engraved plates. It was amazing to see the things we'd been talking about in class come to life! Jen, the owner of the shop, studied book and paper arts through classes and through an apprenticeship and now runs her own press where she makes posters, cards, CD covers, etc. - all on old-fashioned presses.

This is all very different than other modern day letterpresses such as the Paper Source or other modern (albeit wonderful) printing companies. On her website, Jen writes, "There's an inherent beauty and imperfection to the form of each and every letter that cannot be replicated on the computer or in a polymer or magnesium plate." She has one Vandercook proof press (which we were able to use and make the print pictured above) and two Chandler and Price platen presses.

Seeing her different typefaces, movable type (some 100 years old), and woodcuts was an inspiration! We were able do a print of our own for a souvenir through cranking the paper through the printer over the inked metal type that was pre-set for us. Now that I am almost done with school, I might have to indulge myself in some extra-curricular activities next fall in printmaking.

Here are some videos of these classic presses in action!
Platen Press working (0:19)
Platen Press inking (0:12)
Letterpress Documentary (5:52)

1 comment:

Amy and Andrew said...

Oooh! Very cool. This gives a whole new dimension to my "stationary hobby".