Entries in studio (1)


Because 250 lbs. weren't enough

Good, working letterpresses are hard to come by. The fabulous Brooklyn studio The Arm, where I took my first printing class, is stocked with the equipment a printer could only dream of, including multiple Vandercooks and Chandler & Price (C&P) Pilots. The table-top Pilot’s manageable size, weight (250 lbs.), and manual operation meant it wouldn’t scare house guests or take off my fingers. My husband and I could load it into my Prius, which we did for another workshop, this time at Excelsior Press.

C&P Pilot

Not our best decision

Somewhere between printing my 2000th and 3000th stationery piece, I began envisioning a life with my left arm twice the size of my right (I’m left handed). It was time to graduate to another press.

I found my current press, the Golding Pearl No. 11 Improved, in the garage of an 80-plus-year-old gentleman in southeast Pennsylvania. It was beautiful. My husband had other words. I should have warned him about the Pearl’s height—roughly 5 ft.—and weight: 750 lbs. “It’s coveted for its small size,” I insisted, which is true. The Pearl looks almost delicated compared to other treadle-operated or motorized press.

It didn’t help that the Pearl nearly crushed my husband when we moved her down a makeshift ramp we constructed from 2x4s and stair treads into the sunken family room of our tri-level. “I have never been so scared in my life,” he said.

We will see if that still holds true this week when we move the Pearl to our new residence in Washington, D.C. This time, however, gravity will not be helping—or hurting—us.