I have loved letterpress for as long as I’ve known it’s existed. In fact, I love all things to do with paper and stationery. But letterpress is special. There is something about the tactile quality it has, coupled with its elegance, that really appeals to me. And as it turns out, I’m not alone in loving letterpress as it’s had a bit of a revival over the last 5 – 10 years, particularly for wedding invites and stationery. When I was looking at wedding invites for my wedding 6 years ago I became obsessed with getting the invites printed by a letterpress printer. I ended up getting them designed in Canada and printed in Melbourne as there were not many letterpress printers in Perth at the time.
Things have changed a lot since then and there are now some fabulous letterpress creatives working here in Perth. One of these creatives is the lovely and talented Davina from Fluid Ink Letterpress. I had the pleasure of meeting Davina in December of last year. The wonderful team at Etsy Australia organised a studio visit for me to check out how Davina works and her creative process. I don’t know if they were aware of my obsessive love for letterpress when they organised the visit but it was a match made in heaven.
Davina is self taught in the art of letterpress. Trained as a graphic designer, she decided to branch out and add letterpress to her skill set when she had children. She found a letterpress machine on the interwebs and had it shipped to Perth. How cool is that! Davina took me through the workings of the press and it was so fascinating. These machines require a lot of love, the main one she uses was made in the early 1900’s. It sounds like each machine has its own quirky way of working and the machine is quite beautiful to watch in operation. Although I’ve loved letterpress for years I had no idea how the process worked and it was awesome seeing Davina’s workflow from idea to finished product. After watching Davina print some coasters I realise just how ‘hands on’ this type of printing is, which makes the finished product even more treasured.
I had a go typesetting my name for a mock business card using some of the metal letters. I managed to get one of the letters upside down without realising so I don’t think a career in letterpress printing is on the cards for me. Ha ha.
I loved seeing the letterpress in action and also visiting Davina’s workspace. She had an enviable collection of metal and wooden letters for typesetting, I could have stayed and played with them for hours.
Thanks for having me Davina, and thanks to the Etsy team for organising it. Check out Davina’s beautiful products in her Etsy Shop.