About this project
Western Editions is the project of two dear friends who have bonded over a love of letterpress printing, design, giggles, vintage treasures and all around cute-stuff. Our letterpress printshop is located in the Western Addition neighborhood (get it?) of San Francisco. We’re eager to open our doors to you: our community, the world, the universe, the moon. (That’s how excited we are!)
A short history lesson: Letterpress is a relief printing process where a raised surface is inked and a sheet of paper is fed over the surface transferring ink to paper and creating a right-reading image. This is done ONE AT A TIME requiring patience and a great skill of craftsmanship. And this is exactly what we love about it. The care put into each print, card and line of type is a hands-on analog process. The finished product is a piece of paper with a printed quality you can see and feel. The press we use is a Vandercook Proofing Press and was last produced in the 1960s. The presses are located few and far between. In fact, there are more bars in the city of San Francisco alone than there are Vandercooks in the whole world! That's what makes these presses extra special.
Here is what our project is all about, like CliffsNotes for our video: We both learned letterpress printing at the University of Nevada, Reno, though a couple years apart and didn't know each other then. Before moving to New York City, Taylor was determined to find work in the letterpress field and upon moving there she began work at a commercial printshop. Bonding with the Vandercook press while printing thousands of envelopes for the likes of Kate Spade, it turns out learning the craft of letterpress isn't always so glamorous. She also had a scholarship at the Center for the Book Arts in New York for studio work and classes in printing and bookbinding. Erin continued printing after graduating as well, moving to San Francisco and working for Peter Koch Printers, learning the craft of artist printing and working both nationally and internationally. She also works for a bookbinding studio in Emeryville and completed an internship at the San Francisco Center for the Book.
It's time our background and love, errr...obsession, for letterpress takes the next step. We have put in the elbow grease and time of finding a Vandercook press and have found a space to start building our printshop. With this project, our goal is to finish renovating the printshop and open our doors to the community so that we can provide weekly letterpress workshops and offer printing services to our amazing community. We've met friends who make, cheese, honey, pickles, bags and what better packaging than a beautiful letterpress label. We've met friends who write style blogs, take photos, teach classes, do carpentry and what better way to network than with a bad ass letterpress card. There are artists, bakers, tailors, and chances are we haven't even heard what you're working on but we want to print for you too. Our workshops and classes will allow us to share our love of letterpress with each of you. People will learn typesetting with both lead and wood type, printing from a computer designed file, polymer platemaking, printing techniques and tips, and all around making of cool stuff!
To accomplish our goal we are asking you to help us finish building the shop, everything from cleaning type to getting real lighting, refurbishing an old polymer plate maker and caring for the Vandercook press! With your help we can open our doors to the community and provide weekly workshops and printed goods that are as worthy as the people they are for.
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