[Alyson Kuhn] Earlier this week, we showed you around the retail shop at Hammerpress. Today, we take you through the double doors into the pressroom, where letterpress love blends endlessly with vintage loot, most of it perfectly artfully arranged.
The pressroom is huge, a combination printing plant, bindery, warehouse and art gallery. Drawers of lead, shelves of cards, piles of posters … and on almost every surface something I’d like to know more about. I ask about the turquoise Hammerpress sign on the back wall. Founder Brady Vest confirms, “It’s from our old shop location. We had these signs hand painted by a local artist named Archie Gobber.”
Hammerpress primarily sells post cards, greeting cards and posters to several hundred retail accounts throughout the U.S., Canada, Sweden and New Zealand. Pressman Eric Lindquist (above) is absolutely in his element. He started at Hammerpress about two and a half years ago after working at various print shops around town.
Vest recalls, “We had purchased our Heidelberg windmill at auction a couple of years earlier, but hadn’t had the time to get it running. Eric kept coming in and letting it be known that he would love to help us make that happen. He had experience with this machine, and we finally took the bait. We hired him part time to come in and get it operating, then we’d see how it went. Quickly, we saw that this was going to make a huge difference in our production abilities — and that he would be a great part of the team.”
Vest himself isn’t doing as much printing these days as he used to: “I do not have a lot of printing time as of late. I do work mostly on the Vandercook presses, on posters or larger custom pieces.”
Most posters promote local events, but Hammerpress also designs and prints a lot of tour posters. Vest again: “The posters have always been — and continue to be — a labor of love for me. They function as a kind of giant calling card for us. For example, right now we are working on a 25th-anniversary poster for a company called Realtree. This came to us directly from their knowledge of our music posters. And, occasionally, we are able to do a poster for our favorite bands in trade for tickets and the ability to sell it on our Web site after the show.”
The coasters below are a Hammerpress product, based on an existing ornament. The lamp — which at first glance I thought had a stone base, then decided it might be a petrified loaf of bread — is in fact a piece of driftwood. “It’s made by Anzfer Farms,” says Vest, “and can be purchased at our shop or on their website.”
The shop also produces wedding invitations, but these aren’t a mainstay. Earlier this year, Hammerpress designed an “imaginary invitation” for Martha Stewart Weddings. Vest comments, “It has led to about 20 variations on that design. We standardized it into a smaller, more practical format.”
It’s time to say farewell to my Fave Wall … but I’m already looking forward to my next detour to Hammerpress!