I must admit that when I met my friend Jill and learned about her Greeting Card business, Deluce Design, I had no idea what all was involved when she said she printed all her cards on an antique letterpress. I love her work. She designs are so clean, simple, and charming and she is so sweet and kind. Because of incessant questions and curiosity about how she runs her business and designs her cards, she invited me over last week despite the fact that is one of busiest times of year for her with the National Stationary Show coming up in New York starting May 15. If you will be at the show, check out Jill’s work at booth 2133.
Jill is a trained Graphic Designer and art enthusiast, both of which have a strong influence on her work. Jill prints her work on one of two antique printing presses from the Early 1900s that she has in her casita. She also uses a huge antique paper cuter to trim her cards down to size. Known for the quality and character of her work, Jill mixes all her own ink colors by hand giving her work distinctive, unique character. For quality and environmental reasons, she also uses “tree-free” 100% cotton card stock.
For anyone who like me is not exactly sure what letterpress is all about, it is a form of relief printing in which the raised surface of text and images is inked and then pushed onto paper. The resulting print can be a deep impression, easily felt and seen on soft paper. Although the impression was not traditionally an effect desired by trade printers, today it is one of the most charming and interesting characteristics of craft letterpress.
In the mid 1400s, German born Johann Gutenberg invented moveable type and the first printing press. This press is known today as a letterpress. Times have definitely evolved since the introduction in the 1400s but many printers still use moveable type made from metal or wood. Letterpress prints can be made from woodcuts, photoengraved copper, linoleum blocks, magnesium plates, and zinc or photopolymer plates. Despite the material used to make the plates, the fundamental process remains the same: raised text and images are inked and then hand-printed one impression at a time.
Photos of Jill’s equipment and workspace:
You can buy Jill’s cards online at: