What is Letterpress?
Letterpress was the every-day printing technique for five centuries.
Each individual letter in a sentence is chosen from the type-case, and gradually the “block” of type is formed. (In order to print correctly, the letters are the reverse image – you need to be able to read backwards to be a good typesetter!!!)
The type has a raised surface to which ink is applied, and then using a press, is pushed against paper to make an ‘impression’.
The finished article has a tactile quality, with a thick layer of ink and a slight indentation where the type pressed against the paper.
Letterpress printing is extremely time consuming and labour intensive and in an age of digital printing it might seem like wasted effort. It isn’t an alternative to modern, commercial printing techniques but it retains its place as a craft ideally suited to producing beautiful things in small quantities.
Bird House Press produces limited runs of greetings cards using the letterpress process.
Below there is a short clip of me printing a range of “Thank You” cards.