Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paper Crave

An all around great blog for all things paper, Paper Crave gave us a nice shout out last week. Thanks Kristen!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shirts are here!

Get yours at yours at the Ladies' Mercantile Outlet here!

Those of you who have reserved a shirt are good to go--you'll just need to purchase the size and color you want, and follow through with PayPal.

How did I find out about MUG?

Especially since I'm in rural PA, and, though I like NYC, don't make a habit of reading their things-to-do sites? I have a Google Alert for Ladies of Letterpress, of course! I don't know if the kids are learning how to do this in Marketing 101 these days, but they should be. You can set alerts for your name, your press name, or anything else you want to keep track of, and, when Google's little spiders find mention of you in a blog in Germany, or a list of faves in Nebraska, you get an email about it. It's a great way to meet new people, and track the reach of your work.


Ladies of Letterpress received a nice mention yesterday on the Manhattan Users Guide in their Designing Women section. Our blurb:

Monday, February 23, 2009

National Stationery Show

Would anyone planning to attend the National Stationery Show in May like to blog about their experiences before, during, and after? Joy of flybird press has kindly offered to do so, and welcomes other insights as well. Let me know, and I'll make sure your posts get featured on the main page.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ah, Fridee

I don't know about you all, but I'm pooped. Let's have a little Friday relaxment, shall we?


And just to keep it printing related, the ca. 6" tall Baltimore 11:


I cannot tell which is more adorable. Is that why so many of us combine puppies and printing?

Next week: much business advice, ink-savers in the print shop, and how to fix the C+P rail-height problem from Michael at Interrobang. Have a nice weekend!

Spotlight on . . . Austin!

So last week at this time, we were taking a printing break in sunny Austin, Texas, where my mom was getting ready to run her 31st marathon (go Ma!). Yeah, that's a picture of 75 degrees in February. Austin is a great place to live and work--that's where I got my first job making plates for a printer who's been at work since before many of us were born--and it's also home to many fine archives, engravers, bookbinders, and printers. Here are a few faves--feel free to add your own!

Horsemuffin is owned by Gwendolyn Rice, who combines printing and glass to make fabulous objets. Her 3-D work is unique, too.

Many printers we know have gotten their footing at Flatbed Press, a great place to take classes and get inky with other printers. Take a class this spring and it's professional development for next year's taxes! [not real tax advice--go ask your accountant to make sure. :) ]

Effing Press focus is books, but they also do commercial printing. Relatively new to the wider and wider world of letterpress is Vertallee, a husband, wife, and Heidelberg team. Check out their great blog, too.

Finally, what would a list like this be without a printer of band posters. Rural Rooster prints, designs, and makes websites, too.


If you have a great letterpress scene in your city, let us know! We'll feature it and you in a future post.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Speaking of cotton

The new Ladies of Letterpress t-shirts, designed by Todd Thyberg and printed by VGKids, will be here the first week of March! Available in two colors on American Apparel in any size--email me to pre-order!

Is Lettra recycled?

We love Lettra--and not only because of its tree-freeness. What goes into that cotton stock? This info comes from Dave Kidwell, Crane's Mid-Atlantic Region Manager, regarding the "recycled" content of Crane's Lettra.

There are two sources for cotton that Crane's uses to make all of its 100% cotton "Commercial" (not to be confused with Currency) papers: 1) Trimmings and 2) Linters

1) Trimmings are the left-over scrap from the textile industry after, say, a 100% cotton undershirt has been stamped out.
2) Linters are the small group of fibers that are connected to the cotton seed which are removed after ginning. The cotton seeds are sold to be pressed for cotton seed oil--we are able to remove those small fibers from the seed and use those for paper making.

In either case, these are materials that would otherwise make their way into the landfills. Since they technically never passed though a consumer's hands, they cannot be considered "Post Consumer" under government guidelines. They are, however, reclaimed materials and under any "rational" thinking would be considered "recycled." Our brethren in the wood paper market caused a stir back in the beginning of the "recycled" movement when they would run up huge inventories of offset and such papers. They would then take the overage and use it as "broke" stock in which they would turn it back into pulp to be used for other paper. (A common practice throughout the paper industry). What they did though is then call the paper from this "broke" stock "recycled," which caused the Government to step in and say that it must first pass through a consumer's hands.

Sounds green to me . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New cotton stock options

From the PaperSpecs newsletter, a paper option for your arsenal:

Cordenons has issued a new swatchbook for its recently launched felt-marked Canaletto Grana Grossa.

The stock is available in four weights (85 lb. text, 60 lb. cover, 78 lb. cover and 111 lb cover); one color, Bianco (white); and one sheet size (27.6 " x 39.4"). Canaletto Grana Grossa contains 20 percent cotton and 80 percent elemental chlorine-free wood-free primary pulp.

During the paper making process the long cotton fibers bond and securely intertwine creating paper with exceptional strength for the most demanding of printing techniques such as letterpress, engraving and thermography as well as traditional offset printing.

It is also suitable for diecutting, foil stamping, embossing and laminating as well. This elegant, cotton-enhanced paper is luxurious to the touch and visually has a natural lasting brightness and crisp purity.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Letpress, I hardly knew ye

You all know about the Letterpress Listserv, right? Otherwise known as Letpress, it's an old school daily e-newsletter with more than a thousand subscribers worldwide. Among them are men and women who grew up printing, worked in all areas of the printing trade, belonged to unions, work for paper or type companies, started and closed businesses, and otherwise still pass the time shooting the breeze and answering questions about letterpress. Thare's a lot of b.s., of course, as happens when you get any big group of people together, but there's also invaluble information from printers who have been at work from five months to fifty years. I've learned so many workarounds and solutions to my printing issues there over the years, from where to get Pantone mixes in tubes, to how to fix an unbalanced paper cutter, to what to do with old type metal. If you have a question about letterpress, ask here, of course, but also ask Letpress!

I'll post good pieces of info from the Listserv here from time to time, too.

To subscribe, send an email (no subject) that reads SUBSCRIBE LETPRESS to To keep the deluge of messages in check, you can subscribe in a digest, so you get one big email every day--send a message that says SET LETPRESS DIGEST to the same address.

Friday, February 6, 2009

for love of Bembo

or, for love of funny animals created from Bembo: Bembos Zoo

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hooray Members!

Ladies of Letterpress just reached 50 members! It's Jen from Starshaped Press, a great printer who uses, if I'm not mistaken, 100% lead type. Way to go everyone, and here's to 50 more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poor picked-on Helvetica

You've seen the movie, right?

Poor little typeface--can't even defend itself. To get a print-outable version of the above, click here.

Is that a cutter on your table?

The paper cutter may be the most important piece of equipment in your shop. In the dark, early days of our shop, we drove reams of paper to a sympathetic offset shop three blocks away, and they duly cut all our super thick cotton stuff down to whatever strange sizes we needed--and we picked up the tab for the blade sharpening. Eventually, this got old. In about a year. And, just in time, a cutter became available--not the one here, but a Triumph 5250A, and we've never looked back. It's not terribly industrial, but it still feels like a luxury to be able to cut our own paper. I've heard from many other new printers that the cutter is sort of an afterthought: they're not sexy, they're not old, they don't print anything . . . and, maybe just as importantly, modern, electric ones don't often come with the old shop you're getting for pennies on the dollar. This one was mentioned on the Letpress Listserv last week, and it seems like a good, compact, option for a small shop. And apparently used ones are all over the Internets. What's your cutter story?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Another beautiful day for printing

Well, it's cold and icy outside the shop--inside it's a balmy 62 degrees. Brrr. A venerable printer in Silverton, CO has said that 72 is preferable for man and machine, and I'd have to agree, but being chilly gives me a chance to stand by the heater and poke around the web a little. Doing so led me here--a great site with an even greater printing bibliography. The intro alone is worth shutting the presses down for a minute.

Thanks to all of you who have joined already--coming this week, a great small paper cutter, a featured small press of the week, and more.