I went to school with the ever-creative Alex. And after a couple of years with little contact I found out she was STARTING HER OWN BUSINESS. Amazing. And you know what makes it even better? It’s a letterpress brand. Get ready to be inspired. You can do anything at just 21.
So, you have just started your own business – what has been the most exciting thing? And the most challenging? Yes I have! I think the most exciting and most challenging things have both revolved around my two 1960 Heidelberg Windmill Printing Presses. Learning to print has been very exciting for me – it’s something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Getting to know all of the gears, levers and settings on the machines has been quite challenging – however not as challenging as it was to get the press into the studio, it took 6 men, a four-wheel drive forklift and one very nervous and nauseous owner to maneuver the two 1100kgs machines up and into the studio.
Why have you chosen letterpress printing over modern digital printing? There are two main reasons why I love letterpress, the first one being my personal tie to the process. My great-grandfather was a printer on an older but very similar machine to mine – I have a scrapbook full of all beautifully printed pieces that he printed as early as 1907. It’s so inspiring looking back to see the paper, colours, typography and techniques that they used in their printing. My grandfather was also in the printing trade as a compositor – creating all of the beautiful type for printers to use. One of the printers my grandfather worked with has been kind enough to share his knowledge with me and has been showing me all of the ins and outs of my two Heidelberg windmills. My father is also a printer – so it’s nice to be able to talk print and get his advice as well.
The second reason why I love Letterpress so much is because it’s going back to an industry/trade where you require a skill which today is not taught. It’s tactile, handmade and you can feel that in each printed piece that you pick up.
Where, and by what do you feel most inspired? I feel most inspired when I travel or when I am somewhere that makes me happy. I think the main one would be at the snow, overseas or here in Perisher – it is so pure and beautiful and there is something so calming about your surroundings. When you are at the top of a mountain its so overwhelming looking out to the horizon of endless amount of peaks and snow. Travelling in general is also very inspiring – seeing all of the natural shapes and colours that the earth has to offer, as well as seeing what people from different places have to offer like hand-painted signs, new techniques and artwork.
What is your creative outlet (slash any additional ones on top of letterpress…)? Printing would be my main creative outlet, I really enjoying seeing the artwork evolve from screen to plate to print as well as seeing the beauty in the misprints – they always create the most amazing shapes and overprinted colours. My other creative outlet would have dance. I have been doing ballet for almost 20 years now – the girls and my teachers are my second family.
What movie, book, or music has inspired you? I picked up a book on my way home from the States this year and began to read it as I was really starting Terrace Press up and coming to terms with the fact that I was reliant on myself as I was now self employed. I am not sure whether I liked it more because of the situation I was in although I think I would have enjoyed it anyway! It’s called ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. It really gave me a chance to reflect on myself, people around me and my life in general based on the experiences and challenges that she was putting herself through.
Talk us through your day. My average day at the moment would be:
8AM: Waking up and checking my Instagram feed in bed.
8.30AM: Making a chai latte and frying up some bacon. Whilst eating breakfast I usually scour the internet sourcing new packaging, supplies, envelopes etc.
9AM: I go through my emails and get back everything that I can. I also work out what artwork I have to check and get ready for making them into plates. I then normally create and send quotes, send out invoices and pay some bills before shutting the laptop to head into the studio.
10AM: First thing I do when I get into the studio is to check to see what I am printing today and find all the pre-cut paper for printing. I then get all of my inks ready by measuring them out, mixing them to the right Pantone colour. I then start up the machine and do the daily check/oiling of the machine. From there I set up my plate, get the paper feeding through the machine and then ink up the press. Once there’s a nice ink coverage on the machine I then pull my first few prints, this is where I will check over the artwork to see that any small fine parts of the artwork haven’t fallen off the plate in the making process. I will also check the colour matches the Pantone Swatch book and that the artwork is printing straight – this is essential if you are going to then print a second colour over top and for a nice straight cut on the guillotine when you are finishing the prints. Once I have tweaked everything I will then proceed to print the project. Once printed I the have to wash down the machine so that no traces of the ink remain – you can imagine what would happen if you had just printed a bright pink and then had light blue on the press after. I will then move onto the next print of the day until everything is printed.
2PM: I then generally stop for something to eat and then collect up the prints from the previous day to cut down on the guillotine.
3PM: Once the final cuts have been made its then onto any finish work that my be required like edge painting cards, tying invitations up with twine, ink jet printing envelopes with guest details, calligraphing names onto invitations etc.
4.30/5PM: I then scramble to the post office before they shut to post off these goods, or if its local I get to make a personal delivery.
6PM: The thing about owning your own business is that it never really stops here, if its a night that I have dancing I will finish off and enjoy the rest of my night there otherwise it’s cooking dinner and then onto thinking up new creations or staying up late to get all the finishing touches on someones wedding invitations, but when you love what you do it doesn’t really feel like work!
Dream job? What I am now getting to do!
Favourite place in the world? Aspen, Colorado
Favourite thinking food or beverage? Peppermint tea is my normal go to but when thinking gets serious it’s a Hendricks Gin and Tonic.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? I would like to see the work become less consumable. I really believe in buying something pre-owned where you can or something that is good quality and will last you forever. I love pre-owned, good quality furniture and using old jars to store my food or a sprig of flowers. I also love buying good quality classic clothing/bags/shoes that you will be able to use for a lifetime and then have your kids steal from you.
Where can we find you? You can contact me at www.terracepress.com.au and follow all the current happenings in studio on instagram @terracepress
Thanks Alex! x