Did you know my hobby is letterpress printing? My thank you cards, matching gifts cards and random whatnots are all printed on my antique, cast iron, Chandler and Price table top printer.
I bought it, after proving out the concept using a 3dprinter and a pasta maker (yes really), with Chief Worker Bee's urging, but I was nervous to say the least. It makes absolutely no sense to track down this hunk of iron and make such a substantial purchase when a cheap and reliable HP printer can be picked up at Staples any day of the week. Hobbies are hobbies. My printer came from the same budget as Jim's golf clubs.
Anyway, I needed a little direction. Enter Olga, who was an art student at the time and worked at the local art supply store. She had been super helpful when I was looking for paper for an introductory printing course. After a brief chat, I found to my surprise she owned the same machine and so I hired her for a day.
She was my hands-on mentor. She was fearless with a wrench and ruthlessly frugal with ink. Did you know, the ink should make a sound of a particular pitch when the correct amount is on the press? Not too much - deep sound. Not too little - high pitched sound.
Olga got me going and I have only seen her once since, at the Wayzgoose in Grimsby, but she has been building her business steadily since then. She is now known as KISS THE PAPER and has a showcard press for posters, a monster press for large runs and runs a plate making service for other printers.
Why Kiss The Paper? It's a printing term.... there should be just enough contact with the paper to print and no more. When font was made of lead, too much pressure would crush it, rendering it useless and tossed in the hell-box. Times change, and with ink jet printers being as cheap as they are, the deep impression that is only possible with letterpress is back in vogue. The paper is soft cotton, almost fluffy, and the design applied with conviction.
Olga has the most amazing colour sense, using combinations and even overlapping the inks to facilitate a third colour - which I am in awe of. I tried it and was left with some pretty middling birthday cards. Colour is not my forté and I do admire it in others.
In addition to the custom work that is personal stationery and wedding suites, Olga also makes:
And absolutely everything she creates is a happy mashup of elegance and light-heartedness.
Her ornaments are a new addition. Superb little kits that are colourful, detailed with gold foil and not just for winter holidays. I bring forsythia in to bloom at this time of year and can totally see these little globes hanging from the branches. Like an Easter tree? Is there such a thing? Maybe Olga is actually starting a thing!
In addition to the industry standard of designing and manufacturing plates, Olga also hand-carves linoleum blocks, a traditional technique. This is a skill-set on a whole other level. I have knives, and linoleum but I have yet to take a stab at it (pardon the pun).
The greeting cards printed with the type of graphics below are created with her carvings.
Her ethos is simple:
Printing by hand, one sheet at a time
We like to take things slow. We use antique presses to print the highest quality letterpress stationery and paper goods with one colour, and one sheet, at a time.
Olga is yet another local gem.... south of Hamilton on the way to Lake Erie. Her stockists are listed on her website and though you may find a shop in your area, she does sell online. But do keep her in mind if you have an occasion coming up.