“Behind the Platen” Letterpress Exhibition

Our letterpress studio, Big Press Little Press, organized and co-sponsored an exhibition celebrating the legacy of letterpress printing. The exhibit demonstrates how the medium is being explored and utilized in our contemporary design culture.

The exhibition showcases the range of letterpress work done by shops and individuals in the Western Pennsylvania/Eastern Ohio area. Along with the exhibited work, it also educates on the history of the medium through development of current day trends. This body of work shares the passion of those continuing the legacy of letterpress printing.

The exhibit opened on Wednesday, September 10 with a lecture by Bob Kelemen, an accomplished printer and educator whose letterpress work has been recognized in regional and national competitions. He spoke on the use of letterpress as a tactile learning tool for design and put into context how letterpress is being explored in our art and design culture. The exhibit was open from September 10 – 28, at the Cantellops Art Gallery, La Roche College, Pittsburgh. The lecture and exhibit for this location were sponsored in partnership by AIGA Pittsburgh and the La Roche College Design Division.

The second location for the exhibition was hosted by the University of Akron Myers School of Art, and opened on Friday, October 3rd with a lecture by Andy and Miranda of Big Press Little Press, who spoke on the feasibility of starting a letterpress studio and on how letterpress connects to and enhances design skills. The exhibit was open from October 3 – 9 in the  Myers School of Art Atrium Gallery. The lecture and exhibit for this location were sponsored in partnership by AAF-Akron and the Student Design Society.

We are currently seeking additional venues to host the exhibit in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland areas. Please get in touch with us if you have suggestions for schools or galleries who might be interested in working together.


Our Letterpress Studio

Starting a letterpress studio came from our love to work with our hands and create things. Letterpress printing allows us the ability to use our skills as visual communicators, as well as to practice a hand craft, in creating pieces of handmade art and design. It also encourages our creativity and play through art and design.

Within the timeframe of a little over a year, we have acquired four different presses and four cabinets of lead and wood type along with all of the equipment we need to function fully as a small letterpress studio. Thus far, we have focused primarily on creating art prints and novelty items with a few specialty design projects. We look forward to the future of our studio and deciding upon where we will go from here.

We are happy to share our passions for creativity and play through our letterpress work. We want to share our knowledge and experiences in our letterpress endeavors with others so they might find the same satisfaction and joy. We share this lost art with our students, and are planning several workshops specifically for graphic designs students. Our hope is to one day open our letterpress studio to become a sort of co-op where other designers and artist can find joy and explore their creativity with this form of art and design.

Learn more about our studio and letterpress work at bigpresslittlepress.com.