Friday, August 31, 2007

Learning from a Master

Yesterday, John and I had the privilege of visiting Alan in his letterpress shop in Frenchtown, NJ. What a day! Alan works in an old chicken barn - a very cool space which, in my opinion, adds to the charm and nature of this traditional printing process. Alan has been printing since he was a boy - and has collected a minagerie of presses & tools - some of which I had never seen before. Like this small press made for young boys just after the turn of the century:

I felt like little elves were going to pop out and start pressing. It's so teeny.

For most of the day, we learned a great deal about Alan and his background in letterpress as well as how many of the presses work. Alan has a wealth of information on this stuff. I highly recommend a visit if you're in the NYC/NJ/PA area and want to learn from a guy with 50-some years of experience - or if you have a machine that needs some tlc or want a book printed, he's your guy. He is clearly very passionate about what he does and loves introducing his passion to people - and is very patient with people like me, who ask all sorts of seemingly obvious questions. I was overwhelmed by all the information running around upstairs, so when 7pm rolled around, I was beat. We ended up leaving our press there until we make it back there again in about a week and a half.

Looking forward to it already!


Anonymous said...

Splendid! This is the way to do it. I spent at least two months eyeing my first Pearl before daring to do anything with it. Then we went out to Chicopee to see John at Letterpress Things. He's the go-to guy if you're in the northeast.
But why did you leave your Pilot behind! Is he refurbishing for you?
So glad you had fun!

Liz Libré said...

Hi Elisabeth!

Yes - it was a great day! Definitely learned a ton. We left the press there b/c there were issues with the impression and honestly, we all were just so tired. So, we'll get to go back and learn a whole lot more I hope.

I would love to visit you sometime this fall if we could schedule it!

Anonymous said...


It looks like your friend Alan may be going through some tough times. Maybe he could use some printing business from you if you are able. Just an idea...