In a dusty old library in Nevada, Taylor Reid and Erin Fong learned the art of letterpress printing… though not at the same time. Years later, the pair connected while living in San Francisco. After learning of their shared experience, a fast friendship – and business – was born. Western Editions, their letterpress printshop, is aptly named after their original neighborhood. (The Western Addition… cute, yeah?) The shop has since moved across the bay to Emeryville, and is cranking out prints like crazy. From wedding invites to greeting cards to large art prints that would look amazing on any gallery wall… their unique style is filled with personality. Today, we’re stepping inside their printshop (anyone else obsessed with that cactus wallpaper??) and learning more about their love of letterpress:
Hi girls! First off, what do you love most about letterpress printing?
We LOVE letterpress for its analog process. There is something so special about hand-feeding each sheet of paper through our press and watching the ink transfer to the paper. We are also OBSESSED with colors and love mixing any color we could possibly think of. Plus, there is this magical moment of first putting the ink on the press and watching it distribute across the rollers.
We’re big fans of the California Landscapes collection. Which print is your favorite?
Designing and printing the California Landscapes was all really fun. We had favorites in the design phase and also had totally different favorites once they were printed. I think Death Valley and Tahoe are our favorites.
You also offer workshops. What can an attendee expect when signing up?
Our workshops always consist of a bit of history about letterpress printing and the Vandercook press. As a group, we pick one Pantone color to print in and we show students how to hand mix the ink. We also cover the basic setting up the press and each person hand-cranks their own set of cards. We have a few different types of workshops. In some, students customize each by lining the envelopes from assorted paper (patterns, colors, old books, dictionaries, and encyclopedias). In other workshops, student get to customize the cards with watercolor. (You can also expect a glass of rose.)
Cheers to that! You do a lot of custom work — both for events and businesses. What is one project you really enjoyed?
We really enjoy meeting rad couples getting married and designing and printing their wedding suite. It’s always fun to see what they are inspired by and translating that into “Western Editions” style. Plus, we get crazy on the small details, like hand-stamping names on linen bags, wax sealing, and tying everything up with string.
We have to admit, these might be our favorite wedding invites you’ve done. Finally, what is one thing people might be surprised to find out about letterpress?
People are surprised to learn that we oil our press with unicorn tears. Not really! But just like unicorns, these presses are becoming extinct and are not manufactured anymore so it’s all about using and preserving the surviving printing presses.
To learn more about Western Editions, click here.