About Little Gem Letterpress
noun let·ter·press \ˈle-tər-ˌpres\
a method of printing in which raised surfaces covered with ink are pressed onto paper
Letterpress is a traditional printing method using metal or wooden type onto which paper is pressed, leaving an ink impression on the page. By adjusting force of the pressure, this impression can be varied from a light ‘kiss’ to a deep imprint in the texture of the paper.
Over the past decade there has been revival in letterpress printing, as a new generation discovered the possibilities of the craft – the gratifyingly tactile effect of a deep crisp impression, the varying textures left by printing with wood, metal and even plastic and the artistic possibilities of overlapping layers of ink, built up one colour at a time.
I started Little Gem Letterpress with one table top press, half a dozen trays of type, and a love of printing. Over the last few years I have accumulated over 100 different fonts and decorations, discovered how to make and use plates of original artwork and in 2015 acquired a beautiful pedal driven Arab Crown Folio press. I have learnt the art of letterpress through study and practice, and have joined forces with designers, artists and illustrators, to expand the possibilities of what I print.
Paper, Ink and Process
The deep impression and textured effect that makes letterpress printing so unique works best on good quality card, so I only use the best, from traditional laid writing paper to 100% cotton card. I mix inks by hand to get just the right shade for the job and can match to any colour you have in mind. Letterpress printing is a craft that takes time.
The initial design might take hours to set and the printing itself, if there are two or more colours, can take several days. I like to think the end result is worth it.