imPRESSed Craft Bindery & Letterpress Studio

Greenacres Drive
South Africa
+27 83 353 5300
It is an family affair: the entire family.
Few years ago life called for change. Escape from 9-5 rat race routine. Time to spend with our children. To work with books, objects that we have been hoarding for years: books that sparkled the idea that turned into imPRESSed. The journey was, and still is exciting. Collecting turned into binding, repairing and eventually printing. Books, how difficult could it be. After all, if William Morris could do it, so can we. Except William was a perfectionist, upset to be living in a mechanical world, that turned a blind eye on centuries-old crafts and techniques. We, on the other hand, live in times where digital perfection is easier. Ever-present automation makes us believe that we can, while in fact, we cannot. We can only push buttons, or do we? The realisation that we become a mere component in a digital world was the catalyst for action. We started to search for mentors and machines. Johann Maree, Mark Sandham and others, unbeknown to them, have made a distinctive imprint on how to do things: honouring forgotten methods, using vintage tools and equipment and paying attention to the finest details. The search for knowledge and implements took us on many journeys around the country, learning new skills and techniques each day, saving tools and machines one at a time. While knowledge requires relatively little space, in one’s mind or on the shelves, heavy cast iron monsters from the industrial revolution need substantially more. As our collection grew, so did the need for dedicated space where we could display our treasures and share our knowledge and passion with others. The perseverance paid off: we created a one-of-a-kind studio to channel creative energy onto paper. We are, the Custodians of Archaic Crafts and Apparatus.
Interview with Martin from imPRESSed Craft Bindery & Letterpress Studio
When did you start letterpress printing?: 
Few years ago, while repairing books the need arose to be able to print missing pages. The event coincided with rare occasion when Albion press was offered for sale locally. The rest, as they say, is history.
What do you like best about letterpress printing?: 
Whenever we can, we print from type, and on older, manual machines. This allow us for closest interaction between man and a machine. Feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is guaranteed.
What inspires you?: 
Old books. Vintage type. Even older machinery. The search for another forgotten treasure. The adventure of it all.
Which press(es), ink & paper do you usually use?: 
Of course we love high quality papers, but we print on anything that will take impression. When it comes to presses, we are not quite sure: are we studio or a working museum. With a Columbian, two Albions, number of croppers, variety of proof presses, windmill and shelve of Adanas, we can say that we have them all. Cylinder is a pipe dream, not because of availability, but lack of space. There are number of other presses, for arming/blocking, punching, perforating as well as Ludlow and Intertype just to mention few other contraptions.
How would you describe your artwork?: 
Now that is a tricky question. Since we print mostly custom, customer designed pieces.... we can describe it as 'job'. Although we aspire to be fine private press printers one day.
What kind of products do you create?: 
From calling cards, wedding invites, stationery, t-shirts, right up to books.
Do you offer custom work?: 
Where can we buy your products?: 
at the studio, but web shop should be ready anytime now.
Do you offer workshops? If yes, what kind of?: 
School workshops are our favorite: the excitement in children eyes reminds us why we got into this in first place. Besides letterpress related, we offer bookbinding, marbling and lino cutting workshops and events.
Is there anything you wished you had known as a beginner?: 
No. The joy of discovery and mastering new technique is too precious to pass. In any event, most printers, just like bookbinders, have their preferences and tend to do things their way, not necessarily the right way.
Did you like this interview?
No votes yet

You might also be interested in...

Featured Artwork