I visit another letterpress artisan, at Parklife Press in Carrboro, NC
(Cross-posted at my local NC weddings blog.)
Today, as part of my investigation of local letterpress printers, I visited Travis Friedrich of Parklife Press. He had warned me he was expecting delivery of a new printing press, and wouldn't be able to talk much, but I thought that would be very cool. And so it was!
Here he is about half an hour after I arrived. The lady who sold him the machine had wheedled her friend, a real estate agent (who says: "I can't believe it, housing prices in Virginia are so good right now, and we have so many wonderful listings, and mortgages are so low, why aren't people buying?" - my PSA for her...) into driving this gargantuan artifact down to North Carolina in a rental truck.
The old press, which Betsy was selling because there is not enough work to keep it busy in Fairfax Virginia, weights about 4,000 pounds. Travis is installing it in his shop, which is the garage of his home in Carrboro, NC.
I bet he isn't planning to move anytime soon.
Here is one of the machines he owns, I drooled over it.
Here's his paper-cutter, manufactured in the 19th century and still going strong.
While I waited and watched the huffing and puffing (it was 92 degrees and just past noon, exactly the right conditions for humping a 4,000 pound machine out of a U-Haul), I discovered a box full of used polyresin plates, and Travis said they were just going back to the factory to be recycled so I could have some. I chose this, for example.
As I explained yesterday, these days very few people are actually setting metal (or wood) letters in quoins backwards and running them through a press. Instead, they design on computer and send the files off to be converted into these polyresin plates.
Travis is a super-nice young man. I hope his business will prosper!
This was my last view of him, an hour after I arrived. I hope he managed to get the thing out of the truck eventually.
Go to his website to see prices and better pictures of his perfect, meticulous work, but in the mean time here are some pictures I took while I was there: