Big Press Little Press

Exhibition on Letterpress

Posted by on Jul 18 2014

BPLP is organizing an exhibition of letterpress printing to be held at La Roche College in September, but  hopefully will also travel to other locations after that opening.  This exhibition will celebrate the range of letterpress work done by shops and individuals in the Pittsburgh/Cleveland area. The goal of the exhibit is to educate on the history of the medium through development of current day trends. The body of work will share the passion of those continuing the legacy of letterpress printing in our region.

Get in touch if you are interested in submitting work for the exhibition, if you have a suggestion of a potential future location for the exhibit, or for more information on the show itself. We will share more as our plan develops.

Experimentation to Create Images

Posted by on Jul 10 2014

Another experiment in relief printing proved we can create some basic imagery using thin balsa wood, which is easily cut and carved into. We thought about balsa because we wanted to get a bit of a wood texture—but without getting fully into wood carving. The resulting hands have a nice folk-art look.

Experimentation with Relief Prints

Posted by on Jun 26 2014

We’ve been experimenting in relief printing with different non-traditional materials such as bubble wrap, burlap and cardboard. We started by creating simple landscape art made of different textures, but it’s opening up some new possibilities in our printing printing.

Printing Day at Westminster College

Posted by on May 20 2014

BPLP packed up our little press and hosted another traveling workshop, this time at Westminster College. Students taking typography the Media Art + Design program participated through making a number of greeting cards both handset in movable type and photopolymer. Everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to our next stop!

Beer-Themed Linoleum Block Prints

Posted by on Apr 26 2014

More experimentation with linoleum blocks, but this time for an upcoming beer festival where we will take our beer-themed merchandise. We enjoyed playing with two colors and overlaps, though getting the registration right was tough. We foresee more image-making fun in our future!

Out of Hibernation – Linoleum Block

Posted by on Apr 07 2014

The recent warm weather has brought us and our shop out of a long winter hibernation. We’ve had blocks of linoleum and new cutters lying around since the holidays and this past weekend we finally put them to use. This bear was our first attempt at linoleum print and we’re pretty pleased with the results. The showcard press worked great for running the prints. Up next, something with multiple colors combined with type. Happy spring!

The Traveling Excelsior

Posted by on Mar 05 2014

We have been talking about a ‘circus poster’ promotion concept for our traveling letterpress workshop and finally took the time to create it. It was a complicated process but we are excited about the results! The poster will promote  letterpress workshops with our Kelsey Excelsior tabletop platen press. We came up with the idea of these workshops to fulfill part of our mission, which is to share the joy of letterpress printing with students, designers and anyone excited about this craft.

The concept of ‘The Traveling Excelsior’ came from this name sounding like a circus act, where we planned the design to be reminiscent of letterpress circus and event posters. We played up the kitsch and excitement of the circus poster with old image cuts and statements such as ‘Come one, come all!’ and ‘if you’re brave enough.’ Of course there needed to be design humor with the inclusion of ‘No CTRL+Z’ and ‘heart-pounding impressions’ to appeal to our target audience of designers and letterpress  enthusiasts.

It was difficult to create a workable lock-up using only pieces from our collection of wood and lead type and image cuts, and to achieve a consistent impression across the full surface of the print. Due to the large size and complicated lock-up, this is one of the more challenging designs we have printed, but in the end was an exciting and fun piece to complete!

Printing Day at La Roche College

Posted by on Feb 13 2014

When students from the graphic design program at La Roche expressed interest in a letterpress printing session for the school, we decided that our little ‘portable’ Kelsey tabletop press provided a perfect opportunity to share the joy of letterpress with them. The students developed designs for Valentine cards and we had photopolymer plates made. We also created two lockups, one with wood type and the other with lead, so that students could experience those forms as well.

The AIGA student group coordinated and promoted the event and brought in a great turnout of students from graphic and interior design, as well as students from all disciplines. It was fantastic to see everyone’s enthusiasm for understanding the craft of printing and excitement as they created their cards.

We haven’t used the Kelsey press much so far, but now we really see how it can be beneficial to our shop. One of the primary goals for our studio is to share letterpress printing with designers, artists and anyone wanting to work with their hands to create. This is one step in a positive direction for us. The great experience we had will likely push us further to figure out how we can do more educational and enriching letterpress experiences with others.

AIGA Student Group Post Here

A 10×15 Chandler and Price!

Posted by on Jan 21 2014

We’re very excited to announce that we have a new printing press in our shop. Chandler and Price is a ubiquitous name in platen presses and this press brings us a lot of new capabilities. We’re happy to have saved this from a closing shop in nearby New Brighton where it ran successfully since the 1960’s. We hope it brings us as much good fortune as it has to its last owner!