I recently paid a visit to local letterpress shop - Sweetwater Letterpress - to learn the ins and outs of the decades old craft - I love everything handmade : )
Meet Marc Wilczak, ex-industry cat, local Venice homie, and owner/printer at Culver City's SweetWater LetterPress. He was kind enough to take us on a 'tour' of his small studio and regaled the stories of each of his machines. All of which were salvaged and brought back to life for printing the company's completely custom designs for stationary, business cards, invitations, and cards.
The letterpress technique dates all the way back to the mid 15th century but machines invented during the Industrial Age made the process easier and thus more popular as a means of printing. Today the process is still very hands on, the latest modern 'touch' is a water wash photopolymer plate that is used to achieve the relief in the paper. The photopolymer plates are super thin and much easier to make in comparison to the late technique of zinc plates which are heavy and created need for large storage areas.
Now I'm craving a beautiful letterpress card design of my own : )