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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Staying in touch with our roots: New tributes to letterpress printing

If I need to be reminded of the beauty of letterpress printing, I only have to look up from the screen on which I’m writing to the door frame of my office, on which sits a small wooden chase-and-quoin-type frame enclosing exquisitely designed and cast ornamental metal type.  When printed, it reproduces an original inspirational poem written by Phillip Ambrosi, one of Canada’s Old Masters of letterpress printing, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in 2004.  

The legacy of his all-letterpress operation, Ambrosi Printers (founded 1929) in Regina, Saskatechewan, its products for a prestigious clientele, and the era it represented came to an end soon afterwards, when Mr. Ambrosi decided to close the shop.

"Type is my art; the type is my palette. I've studied it all of my life, and I make it with my own two hands. When I do a job, I compose it," he told me.

"When I'm gone I don't want the local scrap dealer to come and take everything away, so in the next little while I'll dispose of my treasures carefully.”  I am deeply honoured to have been one of his lucky beneficiaries.

You can find the full record of my conversation with Mr. Ambrosi at:

In another tribute to letterpress printing, Neenah Paper, Inc. (Neenah, Wisconsin, and Alpharetta, Georgia) is sponsoring a new Website, conceived, designed, and hosted by Two Paperdolls Letterpress and Design House in Wayne (just outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, and featuring Crane 100-percent-cotton fine papers.  Called The Beauty of Letterpress, the site is intended as an online archive of letterpress resources and a gallery of some of the best and most innovative examples of letterpress prints being produced today.  The site is also raising funds to help move and preserve the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

The new site welcomes everyone to submit their own work at:
Letterpress printers can also add themselves to the list of letterpress vendors sorted by location at: