It's no secret that I take a liking to pretty paper.

But my friend SR?  She really takes it to another level.  Her collection of pretty paper consists of eclectic, unique, vintage and beautiful bins of paper, stationary, notes and tags.  The best of them in the form of letter press.

So for Christmas, I decided to surprise her and set up a viewing of a working press and a tour of one of our favorite vendor's studio.  Meet Julie and David from Idea Chic.

They were nice enough to explain and demonstrate the true art of letter press.  And let me tell you something: The price tag on that pack of letter press cards that you just saw?  Totally worth it!!  This stuff is hard work.

For example, each word, phrase or picture gets an individual plate that has been designed and hand crafted especially for the machine and for the particular piece (notecard, envelope, tag, etc.).  The exception to this is when entire plates are created for one piece such as a wedding invitation or program.  The plate is carefully inserted into a plank that keeps it secure during the pressing process.

The flat circle that you see half of in the picture above is where the oil or rubber based ink goes.  Only one color at a time can be used during the pressing process, making it that much more labor intensive.  This particular color happened to be silver for the word 'joy'.  The roller runs over the ink and then covers the plate with a thin layer which is then stamped on to the card.  Ink can last anywhere from 1-3 days before drying out.

Before any of that can take place, however, the paper that you will be using needs to be lined up exactly so that the plate "kisses" it at just the right spot.  Specially made pins keep your paper in place each time it is
MANUALLY inserted.  Yes, you read that right.  Manually inserted.

This is a 'one at a time' process, people.  No machine running these puppies through.  During this demo, David was working on a project of 3,000 cards.

When the paper is aligned properly, a generous crank of the turn-wheel and the switch of the power button gets this beauty moving (historically, a presser foot - similar to a sewing machine - was used to run the machine).  I expected the sound of the machine to be loud and drowning, when in reality it is soothing, graceful and methodic.  The moment that the plate hits the paper to press, it sounds like nothing more than a light tap.  Not the harsh crank that I expected.

The counter clicks forward with each press.  Very cool.

And what tour would be complete without a tour of their CUTE storefront space?  This is where my camera died...but you can get the idea of why we LOVE their work so much.

I may or may not have purchased (some more) treats for myself that happen to look like this:

A party is in order just so I have the excuse to use these...

What a fun experience!  Thank you Idea Chic. 

Psst:  Check them out on Etsy for 10% of your order by leaving "thank you" in the conversation box!  With their already reasonable prices, you are sure to find something perfect!


Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, how AWESOME you guys did that. I'm seriously missing Colorado and you two! :(

leslie said...

Why were we not better friends when I lived there:) I would love this - good for you!!!!

David Sandusky said...

Thanks for this wonderful post and showcasing our shop with your great photography and story! See you soon!

David Sandusky said...
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