12 Tons Of Letterpress

Pena Blanca, New Mexico
United States
Two, plus any number of dogs
12 Tons Of Letterpress is Northern New Mexico's source for hand-pulled, short-run letterpress. We print what you design. Or we design and print for you. Each job is produced by James Bourland and Bram Meehan, with our own hands, using our own gear. The name? A confession: while we do have more than twelve tons of equipment — presses, lead and metal type, bindery machines — it's not all in use right now. But the longer we print, the more of it we bring into play.
Cottonwood in Autumn
Cottonwood in Autumn
Cigar Poster
Cigar Poster
Tetilla Peak
Tetilla Peak
Wood Type Manifesto
Wood Type Manifesto
Interview with Bram from 12 Tons Of Letterpress
When did you start letterpress printing?: 
My printing partner's been at it since 1978. I've dabbled for more than a decade, but have been designing for two. The dogs are relative newcomers, but they're learning fast.
What do you like best about letterpress printing?: 
Its tactile, physical quality in an increasingly digital world. That you can see the human involvement of the printer, that it combines the artistic and the industrial, and that it rewards experimentation. That it demands patience and an open mind.
What inspires you?: 
The desert Southwest — the light and color, the negative space. Layers and textures of the natural and manmade landscape. The pioneers of printmaking in this region, Willard Clark and Gustave Baumann. Old, cracked wood type. And material the we're printing with and printing on.
Which press(es), ink & paper do you usually use?: 
Vandercook SP-20 and Chandler & Price 10x15. Generally prefer oil-based inks, but rubber-based works better for some projects. We turn to French Papers a lot and, oh, how we love printing on chipboard.
How would you describe your artwork?: 
Informed by — but not bound to — the American West. A little dirty, a little heavy, a little weathered, a whole lot improvised.
What kind of products do you create?: 
Prints, posters, notecards, business cards … we'll try anything, really.
Do you offer custom work?: 
Where can we buy your products?: 
Is there anything you wished you had known as a beginner?: 
There's not enough space on the Internet for an answer.
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