Boxcar Talk With Sarah Adams

From the finer potions of foil and embossing, to serenading the presses with the deep tremble of the baritone saxophone, to attaining graphic perfection, Sarah Adams, the printing maven behind Letterpress Graphics, Inc. knits together all of these aspects into one extraordinary tapestry of craft and creativity. In between runs, we were able to catch up with her to get the scoop on printing the dream in the Lone Star state.

I, PRINTER 23 year business owner; ‘85 Journalism/Print grad from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce); loves the art of foil stamping, embossing, die cutting, print…anything related to torturing oneself on LP’s.  Personal:  love snow sports, motorcycling, hiking on my 25 acres in Ithaca as much as possible, and music.  Not sure how I forgot my other favorite “machine”, the [1927 “Chu Berry” baritone] saxophone. It’s my other break from this madness, playing bari sax in the local community band.  I play the darn thing while I’m running presses  (those dastardly long runs)! Like antique LP’s, it’s pure love!

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT I was a journalism student at East Texas State University, whose interest in finishing started through a work-study program. I held two jobs—one as circulation manager of the newspaper, The East Texan, and the other was working in the print shop running a C&P newspaper web press, Kluge, Baum folders, Heidelberg offset and working in the bindery.

As a senior in 1984, I needed to burn internship credits and heard from a friend who worked for a Dallas finisher that the owner was always looking for help. I did the internship, and then in 1985 started full time after graduation as a Kluge foil stamp/emboss trainee (with a Bachelor’s degree).

LETTERPRESS IN THE LONE STAR STATE We’re located in 10,000 square feet of awesome production space in the thick of dynamic downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Practically walking distance to world class entertainment at the Bass Hall and on the west side we have the museum district, The Modern, The Amon Carter and Will Rogers complexes, adjacent to Trinity Park and the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. Awesome city!

PRINTING MENTORS My finishing mentors would be first and foremost, my former instructor at ETSU, Lyndal Burnett, who taught me the beauty and simplicity in these machines and what they could do.  Gary Long, a former Drawing Board foil and emboss expert, gave me the finer points of foil and emboss make-readies.

FULL TIME FUN I print, foil, emboss, and die cut and I’ve been involved in the trade full-time since 1985; I’ve been self-employed since 1989.

PRESS HISTORY A 50’s model N-Series Kluge, her name when I started in mom & dad’s garage…… was “Ed” (Edna).  Then came Ted (Theodora), Fred (Fredrique), and Ned (Nadine).  So you can imagine the cussing when the pressure was on to be running 3-4 at once…

Anywho, all the “girls” are still in production, along with 5 others (we ran out of names).  For years my guys have referred to Edna as “Grandma”.  She’s been in service daily now since 1989.

PROUD MOMENTS Growing with the people and associates over 27 years that’s landed us here; leading 17 fantastic people in our quest for graphic perfection for our clients.

BOXCAR’S ROLE Boxcar Press has been a tremendous help with expertise in getting things off the ground in the deep relief “hobby”. The plate set up…and of course their amazing ability to read these files and see what will (and won’t) work.  I loved my tour a few years ago, too — Cathy was so kind, and we had a fantastic lunch!

SHOP TIPS Business/life….it’s all the same thing to me.  Most important lesson to succeed:  Quitters never win, and winners never quit.  Carpe Diem! 2013 is on its way!

WHAT’S NEXT 2013 brings my 50th year on the planet, and with it, plans to visit Germany (my partner’s native land). On the business front, plans are to work with our clients on expanding our service offering (to be determined!), and with any luck, more and more exciting print projects from my amazing designers!

Big heaping round of thanks out to Sarah Adams for letting us get the sneak peak at Letterpress Graphics!