The revival of traditional letterpress printing in this past digital decade is a very interesting trend to me; or perhaps my impression is incorrect and letterpress never went away. It does seem like small letterpress printers are popping up everywhere, hopeful signs that craftsmanship is still valued–even pursued–in an age of mass and massive production. I wanted to feature some local letterpress printers for this pre-Valentine’s Day post and I found quite a few, but very few of them were really offering valentines, which makes perfect sense: their business is a bespoke one, and custom-ordered Valentine’s Day Cards are probably pretty unusual (and unprofitable). I did find a few, and I broadened my search a bit to include letterpress offerings on the neat (and new-to-me) site Felt & Wire Shop and Etsy.
I’m looking for rather streamlined Valentine’s Day cards this year: no cutesy animals, only minimalist hearts, typographical motifs, and beautiful printing, although a quirky card always catches my eye. The cards below particularly appealed to me, beginning with one from a local printer: B.IMPRESSED. Just click on the image to get to the source.
I had to put one animal-themed card in here, plus this is beautifully printed.
A bit overtly romantic for me but again, beautifully printed. The bleeding hearts look like BLEEDING HEARTS.
Not a valentine, but a great photograph (by Maggie Holzberg) of an example of some very nice printing and the “bite” of type into paper, from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Folk Art & Heritage Apprenticeship Program.
February 10th, 2012 at 9:20 am
The Indiana University Bloomington Fine Arts department has a very well-thought-of printing program, and the students do a letterpress Valentine’s Day card sale, with cards like the ones you’ve highlighted here, every year. So there are some working to keep the craft alive.
February 10th, 2012 at 10:25 am
Great to know, Whitney. And of course you have the Lilly Library at Indiana, which has a great vintage valentine collection.
February 10th, 2012 at 10:08 am
The Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham recently acquired 2 Linotype machines. They came from the City of Boston’s recently closed & auctioned Print Shop. Both will be back in working condition soon. They are on display at the museum’s main exhibit hall now. The Linotype machine made a major impact on our newspapers. They are well worrh seeing.
The museum, just off the Moody St business district, is well worth visiting.
Saturday, Feb. 18th, they will be hosting the annual show of the NE Model Engineering Society. Open at 10 AM, the admission is $7 for adults & $5 for children. All manor of working scale models. are displayed.
February 10th, 2012 at 10:22 am
I went to the Museum of Industry long ago, but have not been back for some time. I really have to make it a priority because I hear great things.
February 10th, 2012 at 10:16 am
Ha–I had my personal stationery done in grey letterpress last year by Cranes!
February 10th, 2012 at 10:23 am
Hello Brian, Happy Valentine’s Day weekend to you guys! We are supposed to have our annual ice sculpture celebration in the streets of Salem, but it is 50 degrees outside–hope it gets quite a bit colder.
February 13th, 2012 at 1:20 pm
Loved the creativity of all these gorgeous cards. Thanks.