Letterpress has chosen to follow Carrie Durand of Luna Letterpress. From a chance meeting when taking courses while working towards her BFA to a remarkable internship at Sesame Letterpress followed up by a very lucky bid for a Chandler & Price from a friend. Now both a freelance graphic designer and printer, Carrie ponders over beauty of hand lettering and expanding her stationery line. We caught up with her to see where the journey has taken her.
PRINTER-DESIGNER EXTRAORDINAIRE My name is Carrie Durand and I am currently located in Brooklyn, where I live with my boyfriend and my cat. I graduated with a BFA in graphic design from SVA in 2010. I currently work as a full time graphic designer in Manhattan.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT I first took a letterpress class with Dikko Faust the second semester of my senior year at SVA. I have always loved antiques and was newly inspired to work heavily with typography. Letterpress is essentially a marriage of those two things, so it seemed like a fun and interesting class to take. Plus, I have always enjoyed working with my hands. Little did I know how much I would grow to love it. I knew I had found my niche.
After I graduated, I sent a ton of emails to local studios and shops trying to get some more experience under my belt. I knew I had a lot to learn still and I was eager to gain more knowledge. I finally got a response from Breck Hostetter at Sesame Letterpress and I landed an internship at their studio in Brooklyn. I worked with them once a week for a little over a year. When I first began it was a lot of organizing & stuffing envelope liners but over time I got to print jobs and mix inks and by the end of my internship I was getting paid to design for them on a freelance basis. I loved my time there and I owe a lot of my knowledge about printing and about the business aspect of this field to them.
After leaving Sesame, I had no access to a press so I spent my free time focusing on my lettering. About a year later, my friend Roisin Reilly (an artist and interior painter, who I worked with during my internship at Sesame) randomly bid on a Chandler & Price press on ebay and won. She didn’t know a lot about letterpress but she heard me talk about it every day at work and I think it interested her.
I don’t think she thought she would actually win the bid on the press but she did and it changed everything for me. She had it installed in the basement of her house (which happens to be a historical landmark in Haverstraw, NY) and I started going upstate to print. My first job was Rosie’s wedding invitations! Luna Press was officially born.
PRINTING MENTORS My senior year at SVA, my portfolio instructor was Louise Fili. She was the one who originally opened my eyes to letterpress. Louise is a big supporter of all things beautifully made and she is the person who has inspired me the most in terms of design and production. She showed me the beauty of lettering by hand and the loveliness of paper and print.
PRINTING FEATS Since I work full time as a designer, I work on freelance and personal projects in the evenings and print on the weekends. I’m hoping to eventually transition to make printing my full time job. My biggest project is a line of silly stationery. I like for all of my personal projects to be beautiful but also have a sense of humor. It makes the process all the more fun for me if I can make people laugh or smile when they see my work. I’ve been selling my cards on Etsy as well as some local craft fairs and have been getting great responses so far!
BOXCAR’S ROLE Boxcar has been so helpful to me since the beginning. I was first introduced to them through Sesame Letterpress and I’ve relied on their amazing turn around and customer service ever since. They have been so helpful to me and have answered any questions or concerns I’ve had since day one. I couldn’t have come this far without them!
SHOP TIPS The best tip I could give to new printers is, trial and error will be your best teachers. It helps to have a great initial training by people who know what they’re doing, but beyond that, read a ton of books and just keep working and eventually you’ll perfect the process. I have come such a long way from where I started from and I still have a ways to go, but the learning process has been so fun every step of the way.
WHAT’S NEXT As for what’s next for me, I plan on expanding my freelance work as well as my stationery line. I have plans to sell at Brooklyn Flea this winter, which is an amazing place to be around other local creatives and network. A personal goal for 2014 to see my cards sold in local stationery stores and boutique shops. Good things come to those who work!
A huge round of thanks out to Carrie of Luna Letterpress for letting us get the full scoop!