Have Printing Press, Will Travel

Have Printing Press, Will Travel from kristine a. wong on Vimeo.

From June 2011 until January 2012, Portland, Ore. artist Kyle Durrie is touring the country in her mobile printing van giving demonstrations about the craft of letterpress printing — and giving participants a chance to try their hand at creating their own creations.

On the afternoon of July 9, Durrie parked her 1982 Chevy Step Van outside the San Francisco Center for the Book in the city’s Portrero Hill neighborhood. Passersby were invited to climb inside the van for an informal lesson and an opportunity to make a small piece of printed material under Durrie’s guidance.

Durrie said she came up with the idea for the mobile letterpress printing tour when thinking about a way to combine two of her favorite things — printing and road trips.

She first solicited donations from friends and family to raise the money for the trip. Though her efforts were successful, her project (titled “Moveable Type: Cross Country Adventures in Printing“) really took off after receiving $17,010 in funds from 350 backers on Kickstarter.

Durrie used the funds in part to purchase and fix up the van. It’s a compact yet thoroughly functional vehicle which has enough room to house two printing presses, two work counters, storage space, and a bunk to sleep in at night. The van can fit about a dozen people.

Durrie is blogging about her adventures on the project’s website.

I produced this video for Half Moon Bay Patch accompanied by a print article.

Preserving the Tradition of Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing is both an art and a craft to be preserved for those who treasure the written word and favor the uniqueness of objects produced by hand.

The Stow family of Half Moon Bay, Calif. has practiced this art for more than 25 years at their local gift and card shop The Paper Crane. Doug Stow and his son, Robert, produce custom-designed posters, cards, booklets, and invitations. One of their specialties is printing poems in broadside form. (A broadside is material printed on one side of a single sheet of paper). The elder Stow has been printing broadsides of poems read at Half Moon Bay café M Coffee throughout the years.

Recent projects include a broadside of a poem by poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, as well as a booklet of baseball haikus printed midway through the San Francisco Giants’ 2010 World Series season.

I produced (camera, interview, video editing) this video — along with an accompanying print article — for Half Moon Bay Patch.

Preserving the Tradition of Letterpress Printing from kristine a. wong on Vimeo.