A few years ago Sarah’s friend, Audrey, purchased a small early 20th century hand letterpress that until recently was in storage. Since we live in a community of artists, someone is always interested in finding new ways to create unique pieces of art – artifacts that are pleasing to the eye. One of those artists, Stephen, gave some of his studio space for the press to be mounted and used. As an “inaugural” run Audrey, Stephen, and Sarah created some artwork to be made into plates for the press.
Letterpress became famous in the West when it was first used by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century. Before that, in the 11th century the Chinese had invented it using ceramic typesets for the lettering. This methodology for printing was used for over 500 years before losing prominence in the age of the computer. In the last two decades letterpressing has become popular as an artisanal form usually used for special mailings or artistic artifacts.
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Sarah designed our Christmas card this year to be printed on the letterpress. This design required two separate presses—one for each color of ink. In all, we did over 800 pulls of the press to create these artifacts.
From the Gospel of Luke the card shows visually that powerful moment when Jesus, the Word, became incarnate. The act of swaddling Jesus was not just a method of warming and protecting a young newborn, it was also evidence of the historical moment when God became flesh and lived among us. We can see why the angels proclaimed “Glory to God in the highest”!
Each card was then numbered and signed by Sarah and is suitable for framing and hanging.
Below are two videos of Sarah doing each of the two different print pulls.
Kirk & Sarah