Just a few days ago, I mentioned in my last video blog how much Bryan and I wanted to find a letterpress. We knew the type we wanted, but finding it was incredibly challenging. Most letterpresses are very, very old – dating back into the 1800s. They’re not manufactured anymore, so hunting one down requires a little detective work and a lot of research.
Bryan has always been so incredibly supportive of ELP. He’s even been known to help get orders out during peak crunch times. (Think custom wedding programs during LSU/Auburn game). He was always innately part of the ELP team, but will be officially joining me to operate and manage our letterpresses.
Back to the search. We were considering a letterpress in New Jersey and another in North Carolina (they weigh quite a bit and cost a fortune to ship). We’d even discussed flying to these destinations and picking up the presses to drive home to South Florida. Much to our surprise, suddenly a listing was posted on Briar Press from Tampa, Florida (hey neighbor!) I called Bryan. He made the phone call. We drove LITERALLY two miles down the street that we live on… and BAM! we are now the proud owners of not one, but TWO Kelsey Excelsior letterpresses (a 5 x 8 and a 6 x 10). We’ve spent the better part of our weekend dismantling and cleaning (I now smell of lemon juice and vinegar…mmm…) the presses to get them in prime condition to begin printing ASAP. For now, we plan to keep the larger press and sell the 5 x 8 press once its restored.
I’m so excited that Bryan has a piece of ELP all his own – he’s babied these presses so much in the few short days we’ve had them. I have no doubt they’ll be working perfectly in the next few days. Letterpress is by far my favorite printing technique. Last year I completed quite a few custom letterpress suites and they’re on the top of my favorites list. These photos are of a suite (Italian, hand deckled stock) I recently completed for a beautiful Southern bride getting married next month on a plantation in Mississippi. The new ELP collection will be available in both thermography and letterpress.
Last night we discovered the papers in the top image tucked into the 6 x 10. In this stack was a Yatzee Scorecard, “Trudie’s Doodlepad,” and “The Rabbit Industry and You.” Oh yes, a complete guide to breeding rabbits. And because so many of you asked – yes we did name the presses. The 5 x 8 is Clyde and the 6 x 10 is Thelma (think Bonnie & Clyde meets Thelma & Louise). This ELP adventure has been one of gut instinct and sheer passion – so we thought those names were fitting. We’ll update with photos from our restoration this week (including FULL before and after shots).