Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Instant Heirloom: Fran Shea of Zeichen Press

Fran emailed me last week to introduce me to her design and letterpress studio Zeichen Press in Minneapolis. They produce all of their work using antique type and salvaged vintage printer's cuts. They mix their ink by hand and their pieces are printed on recycled paper using their very old and very heavy Chandler & Price Press. I love (LOVE) the witty writing and the style of their designs. Check out some of their newest offerings for spring as I share a little more from Fran about her work. (I kept the questions short in the hopes that you will enjoy the card images as much as I do!)

How did you learn to do letterpress?

A little book was consulted (The Practice of Printing) and much trial and error.

Where did you get your antique type and salvaged vintage printer's cuts?
Old shops that shut down and old collectors. Like anything else, there is a whole subculture of letterpress enthusiasts - young and old - that are determined to preserve the craft/hoard what they can.

What made you decide to produce your work from that perspective?

I have never gasped when I looked at something I printed from my laser printer.

How many people work at the studio?
Two. Jen Shea is my sister-in-law/partner and also the left brain of the company. For a while (40 weeks) Jen had a baby in her belly. So, I guess we had 3 people working in the studio. IF you consider floating and chewing on an umbilical cord "working".

I have to say, I'm becoming more and more into letterpress and the things involved in the process. This is slightly tangential, but a few weeks ago I was down at The Ink Pad and saw stamps made from old letterpress letters. I had to restrain myself from buying all of the "A" stamps...though now that I think of it I can't think of one good reason for me not to have at least one of them. Hmm. I might need to go back!

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