After a wonderful recent visit to Hatch Show Print in Nashville a few weeks back, my love for and interest in letterpress printing has been further ignited with a fury. If you aren't familiar with Hatch Show Print, they are the country's oldest working letterpress printing company, celebrating 140 years this month. They are an integral part of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and they still use all of their great, antique printing blocks and wood/metal type they have in their possession. In fact, they use no metal type designed past the 1950s. 'Preservation through production' is their motto, and a great motto it is! I would love to have a chance to work with or for Hatch sometime down the road, but in the meantime, I'm thankful I have access to a letterpress room full of usable presses and type.
This week, I printed a small project for myself, just my name using a combination of wood and metal western and modern sans serif type. The results turned out rather great, that is, until I realized I had misspelled my own name, lol!
As embarrassing as the flub may be, the look of distressed type was exactly what I was going for. This is the kind of look I strive for in my screen printing, though letterpress and screen printing are two very different methods of printmaking. It is a challenge having to think and spell text backwards when letterpress printing. Next time, I'll be a little more vigilant making sure my name is spelled correctly. (Had these been business cards, I would have been screwed!) Luckily, this was just a fun, short exercise in becoming technically proficient at letterpress printing. Perhaps there is a 'Jonathon Kimbell' out in the world who might want this print. All in all, I think I'm getting the hang of it.