Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Thank you for the memories 2014

What a year. Before it ends I wanted to thank anyone who has ever brought a card, looked at our web page, visited us at a local market, followed us on our social media or cared to share adventures in letterpress, retail, or personal dreams and aspirations. It has been a tremendous joy.

We are very much looking forward to 2015. It is filled with all the promise of new and better things. As we move forward  we have much to take from what we have learned this year and improve on next year. I have so many plans and ideas racing around in my head which I cant wait to get started on, but first its time to rest, holiday with my family and swim in the sea.

Our on-line store will be closed from the 1st  to 13th January.
We will be back in the workshop on 15th January.

Wishing you a very happy new year from the little paper house press!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Its been a while...

Its been a while since I have shared what's been going on at The Little Paper House Press in a lot more detail. I'm afraid I have surrendered to the world of Instagram with a passion, as many others have, and now share most of our news via our Instagram profile. That's not to say this is the end of this blog. I do plan to keep this channel to air, just not as frequently that's all.

Since the last blog entry back in March, and with the arrival of our much larger printing press things have not been the same. I think it would be fair to say that the entire way in which we work has changed.

The first thing that changed was the workshop. It was in need of proper lighting, ventilation and protection from the elements, so with that said I left the 'renovating' side of things to the men in my life and I headed straight to Bower Bird in search of windows. Bower Bird is a great not-for-profit reuse and repair centre in Marrickville. Their mission is to rescue, repair, reuse and resell all kinds of furniture and appliances to reduce hard waste going to landfill. Here you can either donate unwanted items or purchase a huge range of items at low prices. It really is an amazing place with honourable values at its core. This is where I found my beautiful cedar windows for $20 each.

The next thing was lighting. A few years ago  I found an old, large, dome shaped light, with a beautiful textured glass sitting in the basement of my parents new home.  I had put it in storage until I knew where to hang it. Well that day had come, so I hauled it home, removed the old flaking paint, brought a chain to hang it, painted it with black enamel paint, and put in a new globe.  When I turned it on, it was perfect!  

While the renovating continued, I cleaned the press. It had come with a lot of black grease, dust, and grime, but under all that was a green coloured press in need of a couple of minor repairs and lots of oil. I unclogged the holes for oiling with a drill bit, which did the trick perfectly. I used gumption, steel wool scourers and elbow grease to remove most of the grit. After so much scrubbing I became quite fond of its green colour and decided not to repaint it, and now actually quite love my press just the way it is. I plan to get six new spring for the rollers, as some have lost a couple of coils. The gripper bars are missing, as are the mechanics that connect the gripper bars to the press, although we have printed greeting cards, business cards, party invitations, notebooks, and a booklet cover without the gripper bars, and have not missed them. For now its all good but it is something that I plan to repair in the not to distant future.

We have been using our new press for six months now and are very happy to be printing in one quarter of the time it use to take. We also have much better ink coverage, impression and versatility to our work. With a much larger press came so many more possibilities. Its hard to believe how long, and how much work we produced on our little Adana table top. We certainly did the hard yards, and only now, with this much bigger printing press, are we fully aware just how much we learnt and how much we will continue to learn.

It has been a whirlwind of leaps and bounds over the last few months but an incredibly fulfilling, exciting and rewarding chapter in the ongoing story that is The Little Paper House Press :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Moving day for our letterpress

Our letterpress made its way to our workshop today!
With the help of some amazing professionals the move was effortless and complete in two hours!

Once it arrived I couldn't help myself - I got to work straight away and started scrubbing off years of grime, dust, oil and grease. Three hours later I felt like I had only scratched the surface, which has me reconsidering if I will repaint or not, as I'm not sure I can get to all the grime and how long it will take.
I guess I will just have to wait and see...

If I have to stick with the green, its not such a bad thing.
It reminds me of Kermit, my all time favourite frog :)

On goes the crane belt.

Holding my breath as she goes up

Between 400-600kgs up in the air.

Onto the truck

Unloading at LPHP HQ

Its a spectators sport.

It took three men to guide this letterpress into our workshop

In she goes.

Home, safe and sound! :)

There was paint under all that black grime!

I think I'm going to be here for days scrubbing away...

Saturday, 1 March 2014

An extraordinary day

There was nothing about the morning of Friday 21st February to suggest it would be an extraordinary day. I was up early, as usual with three small children. I showered, feed them, made lunches and raced out the door.

After school drop off I had arranged to meet Des Lane, who I met at The Finders Keepers markets in December of last year. We were on our way to view a treadle operated, platen letterpress that The Penrith Printing Museum was unable to accept. Rather than see this letterpress reduced to scrap metal, Des gave me a call to find out if I was still looking for a press.

We knew very little about the press we were about to see, except that it was labelled Cowans Silent Rapid. What we found was a press in excellent condition, enough metal type to service any print shop, lead furniture, quoins & keys, composing sticks, and so much more. At the heart of all this was Alex, an extremely passionate printer/owner.

As it turns out Alex and I share a similar past, both having left our homeland of Chile for a better life in Australia about 40 years ago. Fortunately for Alex, his passion for his profession as a printer, never saw him have to work as a janitor, cleaner or factory line worker as my parents and many other immigrants with very little options have had to at one time or another.
A short while after arriving in Australia, Alex and his wife invested in this letterpress and put it to work, first out of their garage and then out of a retail space in Parramatta. It was to become their livelihood for the next 30+ years, providing the home that they now live in, an education for their children and a very fulfilling life for Alex and Juanita.

Alex hung his printers apron about 10 years ago and is now off on another adventure, which unfortunately means he has to part with his beloved Cowans.

This machine must be at least 100 years old. There is no manual. I don't know who made it. I don't know where it is originally from or how old it is. But I do know that this press and I will have a long life together.

Today we move everything but the Cowans to The Little Paper House Press HQ. The Cowans will be moved by hired professionals next week. Cant wait!

I cannot express how grateful I am to have met Des Lane, who made all of this possible, and to Alex and Juanita, who are so thrilled that the press has found its way into my life.

There are very few moments in my life where things have just occurred as if by something greater and this is one of them :)

The treadle on the Cowans.

Just some of the lead furniture

Metal type draws

The Cowans. 8.5 X 12 inch platen, 3 forme rollers.

Alex and I in his workshop :)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Hello 2014

The Little Paper House Press is back and ready for more adventures in 2014.

Look out for:
- new range ampersand and honeycomb gift tags, in store soon.
- more designers market stall appearances
- I'll be hand lettering my way through the alphabet and documenting this journey via instagram. Search #alphadoodle or #thelittlepaperhousepress. You can add your own alpha doodle if you're feeling inspired!

Any maybe, just maybe this year the stars will align and we will be the very proud owners of a C&P treadle operated antique printing press. I think we are ready, but first we have to refurbish the workshop!

Lots of work to do!
Wish me luck :)

This and more Ampersand gift tags in store soon.

Honey Comb gift tags on the press.
Hand lettering my way through the alphabet. #alphadoodle

Colossal Clean Up

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