By Catherine Harvey There is something intrinsically beautiful about letterpress that everyone seems to love. Perhaps it's the tactile nature created from the combination of ink on a soft cotton stock. Or maybe it's the knowledge that letterpress is a centuries old art form that is mastered by so few. Whatever the reason, there has definitely been a huge increase in the amount of letterpressed paper products being produced over the last few years.
As a designer, I notice the reactions of clients when they feel something that has been letterpressed and it's generally always the same - moving their fingers over the print whilst 'oohing' and 'aahing'. It is this tactile quality that surpasses many other printing techniques as a favourite of mine. And it seems I am definitely not alone. Amy Constable also shares this love and has taught herself all about this impeccable artistry over a number of years while running her business Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress.
At a time when there wasn't a great deal of information on this centuries-old printing technique, Amy bought herself a 800kg letterpress (affectionately known as Gordon) and began the process of educating herself on the history of letterpress and the knowledge required to actually be able to use the press. Now let me tell you about Gordon… the best word to describe him is impressive. He commands attention and respect from the moment you see him - maybe this is primarily due to his large size or perhaps the fact that he's a very good looking press! The other thing about Gordon is that he is quite daunting and after watching Amy show me how he works, I have a new found appreciation for the skills required to operate a letterpress machine. It is indeed manual labour that requires a lot of love, time and effort. But the results you can achieve are clearly worth this effort.
Amy started Saint Gertrude Design and Letterpress in 2009 and since that time has primarily been involved in creating beautiful wedding stationery. From save-the-date cards to custom designed invites, Amy knows how to achieve the perfect stationery for your big day. In addition to this, Amy has also recently created her own retail collection that includes cards and prints inspired by children's stories.
It all seems to be happening for Amy - including possibly holding some Letterpress Workshops in the future at her new studio.
And this isn't just any studio. Amy and her press now reside in Little Gold Studios (how good is this name!?) in Brunswick. The studio is filled with natural light, lots of plants and is the ideal environment for a creative to thrive. The space is shared by like-minded creatives from a range of other disciplines and I was instantly impressed with how the space had been so beautifully decorated. Let's just say I wanted to leave my job and move in, it was that good.
My afternoon with Amy (and Gordon) was a pleasure and I can only recommend that if you get a chance to attend one of Amy's letterpress workshops, then do. It will be memorable, inspiring and, like Gordon himself, impressive.
Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress Little Gold Studios 13 Little Gold Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos by Catherine Harvey.
Catherine Harvey lives and breathes design. Working at one of Melbourne’s top studio’s, she is rarely ever away from her computer. She loves to keep up to date with the design industry in a global and local context and follows too many blogs to count! You can follow her findings here.