Letterpress Cards For Laughs

One of the newcomers to our staff is Rachel. A cheery team-member who cuts our Flurry paper and ships our supply orders, she loves to send snail mail. Since she has joined us, she has her eye on letterpress cards that bring a laugh, Rachel shares with us her round-up of humor-filled prints to make anyone’s day. Let us know which one is tickling your funny bone in the comments below!


1. OK self care card by Sapling Press  | 2. Moving Away Card See Ya Later Alligator card by dodelinedesign  | 3. Letterpress Father’s Day card by StackCreates | 4. Domestic Adventures by HappyFinchStudios  |  5. Option To Sit card by Sapling Press


 6. Beam me up, Scottie – Star Trek card by Letterpress Jess  | 7.  Vesties greeting card by PikeStreetPress |  8. Laugh Crass Calligraphy Letterpress  greeting card by Letterpress Jess


9. Math Problems card by Sapling Press | 10.  Born To Be Mild card by McBitterson’s  | 11. How About Never? Seriously? card by Hazel and Violet  | 12. Stamp-worthy card by 12AcreStudio |  13.  Carbs card by Sapling Press

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Letterpress Picks for 2021

Looking for inspiration for that special printer in your life? Come check out our quick list of ten favorite gifts for this upcoming Valentine’s Day 2021—featuring fresh, hilarious, sweet, and extra special gifts for that certain someone.

Inspired by our Valentine’s list?  Let us know in the comments below!

Valentine's Day 2021 Gift Guide

1. Field Notes T-shirt and Field Notes from Field Notes Brand  | 2. Love Song from Fickle Hill Press | 3. Chandler & Price Platen Press enamel pin from the paper carnival | 4. Johannes Guttenberg sticker by WritersSpot | 5. Trump valentine letterpress card from DeLuce Design

Valentine's Day 2021 Gift Guide

6. Seahorse Lovers print from Anomal Press  | 7. 12″ or 18″ Line Gauge from Boxcar Press | 8.  Hedge Hug letterpress card from Dogwood Letterpress | 9.  Giant Mighty Love letterpress card from Benchpressed | 10. Wine glass stem tags from Laughing Owl Press

Top 20 of ’17 Letterpress Mother’s Day Cards

She’s the witty, smart, caring, and generally all-around-awesome human being that is the anchor in your life. Count down with us the top 20 of ’17 of the sweetest, funniest, and gorgeous letterpress Mother’s Day cards to say “Thank you, Mom!”.  Let us know what you are getting your Mom this year in the comments below!

2017 Letterpress Mother's Day cards featuring sweet, flora, funny, and beautiful messages for Mom.

1. You’re The Bomb Mom by Hammerpress | 2. To A Mother Like No Other by Hunter Paper Co. | 3. Mother’s Day Sitcom Moms by Papillon Press | 4. Queen Bee by inkwell | 5. Happy Mother’s Day postcard by DD Letterpress | 6. Wonder Mom by Luxe Papery | 7. Homebrewed by Slackline Press | 8. Good Job Mom by Steel Petal Press

2017 Letterpress Mother's Day cards featuring sweet, flora, funny, and beautiful messages for Mom.

9. Mom Thank You For Everything You Do by Color Box Letterpress | 10. Marquee Mom by Oddball Press | 11. Cheers To The Best Mom Ever by Lucky Bee Press | 12. Madre by Alee Letterpress | 13. Chillax by hello! Lucky | 14. Love You Mom by indepent1

2017 Letterpress Mother's Day cards featuring sweet, flora, funny, and beautiful messages for Mom.

15. Thank You Mummy by Paper Elephant Press  | 16.  Strongest Woman I Know by Ink Meets Paper | 17.  Right Here by Smock | 18. Mom, You’re Like a Candy Bar by Loudhouse Creative  | 19. Merci Mama by Cherry Laurel Studio |  20. Lucky Mom by Sugar Paper

Benjamin Eakin: New Beginnings with Quite Simply Cards

Letterpress finds us all and captivates us in one way or another. Benjamin Eakin of E. W. Card Crafts is no exception. From a rich printing history with his father in the newspaper business in Quanah, Texas, to navigating the transition from the old-school style of hands-on typesetting to the digital and modern age of letterpress printing, Benjamin has taken up the gauntlet of the challenges of starting a new part-time letterpress business. Armed with a small but mighty Craftsman Superior (that rode shotgun in his car on the return journey home after acquiring it), he is testing out the waters and is finding himself discovering new projects, a new greeting card line and championing the zealous ambition all letterpress printers share: the dream of getting back on press for just a little bit longer.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA), letterpress prints hand-made text-focus cards with brilliance and panache.

A RETURN TO LETTERPRESS To my utter dismay, I find I will soon turn 64. No idea at all how that happened but, well, here I am. I’ve worked at many things over the years, including a 16-year stint with my father and our book publishing company, software support for a book publishing software company, some time with a CPA, and my current position is the cash office of an international kidney dialysis company, among other things. Eakin Press originally published mainly Texas history and began as an extension of Nortex Press which had been printing county histories for a number of years. In turn, Nortex Press started as an extension of the Quanah Tribune Chief newspaper for the express purpose of printing county histories.

PRINTING TRADITIONS I grew up in the newspaper business in the 50s and 60s in north Texas. My father was the editor of the Quanah Tribune Chief in Quanah, Texas. At the time, the population was about 5,000. When we moved there when I was five, the newspaper had letterpress presses only. Even after a new building was built, the presses were moved the block down the town square to start a new life there.

Quanah Tribune (Texas, USA) early printing days in the 1950s-1960s.

Our pressmen and Linotype operators were all a little rough around the edges but that only served to make them more interesting. I worked at the newspaper collating papers and doing cleanup for many years. Not everyone in town knew my name but most everyone knew me as “Little Ed” – that editor’s kid. That made it rather difficult to get away with much. Eventually, the newspaper switched to offset presses but kept the Linotype and one or two of the letterpresses for job work. I used to deliver funeral notices to the stores on the square since this was a weekly paper and Wednesday might be too late to get the word out about a recent death in town.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA) posing for photos for the Quanah Tribune newspaper.

My brother, sister, and I did a lot of posing for photos to accompany news stories – for instance, posing in a wheat field for a story about that year’s crop. My father’s gone now and I’m afraid I don’t remember all the presses that were originally in the shop. There are some great memories, though, about the noise and smell of the press room.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA) as a book production manager before starting on his journey into letterpress printing.

I used to do the design and book layout for the book publishing company after years as the production manager. I was the one to first bring in a PC to test out typesetting on a personal computer instead of our dedicated Penta typesetting system. We gradually transitioned to PCs only. The designing I do now for the greeting card line, in addition to writing the text, has mostly to do with choosing a typeface for each card. My intent with the cards is to focus solely on the words to paint a visual picture for the recipient. We are so bombarded with images today that I cherish the chance to use my imagination to come up with its own visual. I’d like to think there’s a niche audience for the words I write and the look and feel of handcrafted cards.

PRINTING IN THE LONE STAR STATE My current shop is a small bedroom at home that operates as my home office and now home to my Craftsmen Superior press. I purchased the press last year from a couple who’d purchased it a couple of years earlier in New York. They ended up moving to Houston, Texas and life apparently got in the way – babies and such. I found it on Briar Press  and met the sellers just north of Houston to pick it up. The press rode in the passenger seat of my car for the trip back to Richardson – a part of the Dallas metroplex.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA) and his Craftsmen Superior tabletop letterpress on the ride home.

PART TIME PRINTER, FULL TIME FUN Sadly, I don’t print full time. In fact, the new online store was pushed back several months after I agreed to be a cousin’s executor. Sooner than expected, she died in late March of pancreatic cancer and several things were placed on hold as I tried to figure out how to handle that new job. My goal with the new online store, Quite Simply Cards, is to try to put myself in a position to give up my “day job” and concentrate on printing my greeting cards. I’m hopeful I can transition to printing full-time sometime in 2017. E.W. Card Crafts is named after my partner Tom Hayes and I. Edward is my middle name, William is Tom’s. Hence, E.W. – or Edward-William. We both worked for Eakin Press for many years in the past.The 1980s photo supplied of the two of us shows me on the left and Tom on the right. We’re a tad older now.

PRINTING FEATS I tend not to see my own accomplishments and rely on other people to point out that I’ve done something worthwhile. Yeah, I’m working on that rather poor self-image thing. Recently, however, I printed Shakespeare’s Sonnet 154 for the Oxford Bodleian Library’s call for entries to print all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death. While I pushed it to almost the deadline, I managed to get my entry there on time. I printed the sonnet under my private press name Little Boy Blue Press. I was a fun challenge taken on for the pure enjoyment of it.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA) and his Craftsmen Superior tabletop letterpress press.

BOXCAR’S ROLE Boxcar Press has been there from the beginning with help in determining how I was going to set up my press. That included walking me through why I really needed to work with InDesign to produce print-ready images for ordering the polymer plates. I also now have two of Boxcar’s Deep Relief bases to help in a faster setup and press change for printing. Answers to questions have always been readily available from Boxcar.

PRINTING TIPS Neat tricks? Well, I’m a little too new to have much in the way of tricks except for one thing. Since my greeting cards all have the same basic layout, I’ve set up Excel files with a representation of the grid on my Boxcar base. I export the type for a card to a PNG file with transparency. Once I position the polymer plate exactly where I need it, I place the type transparency in the Excel file for that card. Now I know exactly how to position the plate for subsequent runs of that card.

Benjamin Eakin of E.W. Card Crafts (Texas, USA) simple but efficient production and design set-up headquarters.


Also, setting up one card aids in quickly positioning a new card since I can position based on the previous card – if the saying is wider than the previous card, I can center the type for the new card over the previous and so on. I save a file for each greeting card for quick reference.

WHAT’S NEXT Plans for 2017? Hopefully, I’ll be able to print full-time. No plans right now to expand beyond the greeting card line but would like to think we’ll be successful enough to perhaps purchase something like a C&P 10×15. That would be too large for my home shop, so would mean finding a small commercial office. That’s the goal in the long term. I don’t see myself officially retiring. I have no reason to believe I’d be happy without some new project in my life. And it seems I never tire of finding new projects.

We’re cheering on Benjamin as he starts his new greeting card line and a huge round of thanks to him for letting us get the scoop on his wonderful printing heritage. Catch him here on Facebook!

Letterpress inspiring hope this holiday season

Rebekah Tennis of Wild Ink Press says it so simply, “The wonderful thing about printing for a cause is that you can spur others on to action as well.”  Rebekah is one of our spotlighted printers who incorporate their creativity and presses in the art of doing good. These printers firmly believe that they benefit as much as their receiving charities in their enjoyment and satisfaction with making a difference.  Whether it’s a global cause or a local one, these printers lend their talents and hearts and urge others to take on a non-profit to help out.


A few years ago, Smock launched a Change the World card series, where 100% of profits from card sales are donated to specific environmental charities. The latest card in the series is the Rainforest card, and 100% of the profits from this card are donated to the Amazon Conservation Association to help protect the rainforests. The cards are sustainably letterpress printed on Smock’s bamboo paper, and are paired with 100% post-consumer recycled, FSC-certified kraft envelopes. Smock also offers Sunflower, a card that benefits the Pesticide Action Network; Fracking, a card that benefits Earthworks; and Fin, a card that benefits the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Smock also donates 1% of sales to environmental organizations as a member of 1% For the Planet.

Smock rainforest cards

That Grace Restored –  Kate McGaughey

At Atlanta, Georgia based That Grace Restored, we collaborate with women who have been exploited in the commercial sex industry to make fine quality handmade journals and letterpress products with the purpose of seeing the women reach self-sufficiency and renewed personal dignity. Our product itself speaks to the healing and repurposing of each woman’s life – we craft handmade paper out of used, seemingly unwanted scraps of paper and make them into beautiful, unique pieces.  Letterpress enhances the quality of our product while complementing the texture and character of the handmade paper.


That Grace Restored is a social enterprise of Serenity’s Steps, a 501c3 in metro Atlanta that helps women step out of the sex industry. That Grace Restored was launched as an employment and vocational development opportunity provided through Serenity’s Steps in October 2013. We currently employ two women at approximately full-time hours and two women on a contract basis. We print on a Vandercook 215, a Vandercook SP15, or a Chandler & Price Old Style platen press 8×12.

We are selling holiday cards currently. We keep our designs simple and elegant to allow the marriage of our printing and handmade paper to tell a story. Each product speaks to the beauty found in the imperfect. We use rubber-based inks. Our paper is soft and takes on beautifully deep impressions well without straining the relic machinery. By purchasing this product, our women have an opportunity to receive a fair wage as artisans and achieve goals through vocational development.

May Day Studio – Kelly McMahon

In the fall of 2011, Hurricane Irene swept through the state of Vermont, causing the water levels in all of the rivers to rise, and subsequent widespread flooding and massive destruction. A few months after the hurricane, Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio was driving though one of the hardest-hit areas, and was astounded that entire towns still seemed destroyed and abandoned, fields of flattened crops where thriving farms once were, and the amazingly new wide and deep rocky paths of the rivers. Many of Vermont’s towns are built on rivers–which makes them lovely to live in, and terribly dangerous during high waters.


Kelly saw patterns in the destruction and out of this, designs were born, She started with small, simple sketches, thinking that a little card line or something would come of it…but the designs couldn’t be contained! They are now 18″ x 24″ hand-carved linoleum blocks which she has turned into gift wrap and tote bags. She calls her design Field print, which represents Vermont’s gorgeous fields of thriving crops.

It seemed a natural leap to think of the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund and donating 10% of her sales from these items to this organization particularly because it was founded by Vermonters, for Vermonters, in a time of great need.


She prints her wrapping paper on a Vandercook SP20 at Green Mountain Letterpress in Fairlee, Vermont, since her little Vandy SP15 isn’t big enough. The wrap is printed from linoleum blocks, onto Mohawk text weight paper using Van Son inks. It’s available online through her Etsy shop and in stores around the country. Her design has also launched a screen printed tote bag whose sales generate a donation to the Vermont Foodbank.

Bristol Letterpress – Tracy Oakley

Working small and from your kitchen table can also reap donations to worthwhile charities. Tracy Oakley runs Bristol Letterpress from her studio (kitchen table…) at home, working on a vintage 8×5 Adana letterpress machine, which is gorgeous but sometimes temperamental.

Tracy sells through her Etsy shop, local shops, craft fairs and Cappuccino Cards. Cappuccino Cards is an online shop selling a fabulous range of beautiful artists cards and prints, all of which donate to charity. Helena Golunska, a good friend, runs this business – they set it up together, along with Bristol Letterpress, and so both are involved with each venture.


The letterpress Christmas cards printed this year are generating funds for Bowel Cancer Research and St. Mungo’s – the more money the charities get, the happier they are. Bowel Cancer Research is a cause dear to our hearts as Helena and Tracy have both come into contact with the disease through close family and friends. St. Mungo’s does some great work supporting those affected by homelessness – an issue that is particularly hard to deal with at this time of year when winter nights are cold and long.


When Tracy is not printing, she’s quaffing endless cups of tea with her South West England based Home Working Collective – a group of like minded people who work from their residences. Many of their items are sold through Cappuccino Cards, which is based on the principle that every card you send, all year round, could make a difference to a great cause. Each card sold on the site donates a whopping £1 to charity (a third of the price) and the customer gets to pick from 12 well deserving causes. Prints donate 10% of the retail price – so everything you buy on the site does some good!

Wild Ink Press – Rebekah & Matt Tennis

Over on the West Coast in California, Rebekah and Matt Tennis live their cause – Orphan Care. All three of their amazing children were adopted internationally, as orphans, so this cause is very personal and dear to their hearts. There are over 150 million orphans in the world. “Orphan” doesn’t just mean a boy or girl who has lost one or both parents, but it can describe a child who faces the world without the provision, care and nurturing that a family provides. There are also many ways to help the orphan – not just adoption, but also fostering, feeding, mentoring and providing for health and education. She and Matt give each year to several wonderful organizations with services that include foster care, feeding, education and clean water for orphans in the birth countries of their children (Pakistan and Korea).


“People love to be generous, I’ve found, which is wonderful. So, instead of Matt and I just giving money towards orphan care ourselves only, we can do that, but we can also say ‘here, let’s do this together and we can raise even more and make a big difference.’ It’s been great to involve other people in the cause.”, says Rebekah.

Rebekah’s four card designs are very influenced by the cultural heritage of her sons. They are from Pakistan and Korea, so the notecards were inspired by an intricate wall pattern found in Lahore, a tile pattern from Islamabad, as well as a lovely Korean celadon vase pattern, and lattice wall from a temple. She has interpreted and hand-drawn the pieces, and printed them in cultural colorways. It’s fun to have these pieces to show her boys their heritage. The notecards are sold as boxed sets of six and a little over $2.25 of each boxed set goes to orphan care – it adds up quick!



In their recently expanded and renovated digs — which used to be an old soda bottling plant — they print on three Heidelberg Windmills, old style Chandler & Price 10 x 15, a 1912 Golding Jobber, and a Vandercook Uni III.


Many thanks to these inspiring printers for sharing their cards (and causes!)! Are there some charitable letterpress cards that we missed? Share details with us in the comments section below!

Printing Ace: A Look at Albertine Press

Shelley Barandes, the printer behind Albertine Press, is inspired by architecture and fine custom letterpress printing. It’s no surprise as both trades support the meticulous nature of crafting complex and carefully devised works through attentive planning and design. And like architecture’s founding core values: beauty, durability, and utility—Shelley’s letterpress printing has it in aces.Beautiful popping color on Albertine Press cards

THINK INK Professionally, I am a trained printmaker who spent five years post college working in architecture in Paris and New York before coming back to printmaking, and then letterpress, where I stayed for the past nine years. I’m also a mom to two apprentice printers (4-year-old and 9-month-old girls), both of whom have grown up in the studio. I take the little one with me every day to the studio where she serves as mascot and favorite distraction.

Letterpress pieces from Albertine Press and Shelley Barandes

FIT TO PRINT I have a printmaking background but was turned on to the Center for Book Arts in New York City where I took my first class in hand typesetting. That was the beginning of the end of my architecture career as I started printing more and more, taking on custom jobs and started Albertine Press.

BEAUTY IN THE BAY STATE Our studio is located in an industrial building in Somerville, Massachusetts which also houses two (yes, two) chocolate companies. Our neighbors down the hall (EH Chocolatier) routinely bring us over trays (yes, trays) of “mistakes” which we happily consume.

THE PRINTING PROCESS I design our wholesale line of greeting cards and note sets as well as much of our custom printing. Drawing from my architecture background, many of our designs feature cityscapes, which I’m particularly drawn towards. For a new city sketch I’ll do a lot of research to pinpoint iconic scenes, buildings and elements of a particular place and start sketching from there. My style of line drawing translates well to letterpress, so aside from cleaning up the images a bit, they’re ready to use for printing.

Albertine Press and Shelley Barandes' Kesley press and printing helpers

FULL TIME FUN The studio is a full time business, which was always the goal. In addition to me (and I’m behind the desk more often than behind the press these days) Albertine Press has four full time production folks who oversee the custom printing and the greeting card line, as well as two interns.

PRINTING FEATS I’m proud that our work has been recognized both locally and nationally in the press as well as for some awards. I’m also really excited to see that several of my former interns and employees have gone on to start letterpress companies of their own.

PRESS HISTORY A Kelsey 5″x8″ that I found at a flea market. The Vandercook arrived not too long thereafter so it was really just used for letterpress classes. I’m waiting for my daughter to be old enough to start using it.

Detailed letterpress pieces of Albertine Press

BOXCAR’S ROLE All of our plates are Boxcar plates and I have printed exclusively with the Boxcar base / plate system from the beginning. The fast turnaround and super customer service and attention to detail have made it a real joy to have Boxcar as our partner. At times I look at the volume of plates we create and think about getting a platemaker, but then I think about how well you guys do it and I am just so happy to let you do what you do best, and you really do.

WHAT’S NEXT I could fill a book with my future plans, many of which I have to put on hold while I juggle the business and the girls. That said, I’m excited about the new designs planned for release in the new year – more city sketches, of course, but also some more organic designs, like fruits and vegetables.

Big round of thanks out to Shelley for letting us take a sneak peek around Albertine Press!

Malcolm’s Letterpress Dinosaur Cards

Today we’ve got a special treat to share — and if this story doesn’t make you saw “aw!”, we’re not sure what will. We recently had the pleasure of letterpress printing these amazing dinosaur cards for Malcolm by way of his amazing Aunt Whitney, who shared the story behind his cards with us.
Malcolm's letterpress dinosaur cards
Malcolm is 5 1/2 years old. He is a prolific dinosaur artist filling many sketch books with dino drawings, in addition to a few trucks, helicopters and airplanes. We wanted to share some of Malc’s drawings, so we decided to have some letterpress cards made at Boxcar Press. We used a collage of his favorite drawings to make the postcard. Because he’s left handed, Malcolm signed his work with his backwards signature. Malcolm LOVES his first letterpress printed piece. The first card goes to Grandma Dorothy!  
The photos above show Malcolm with his artist’s easel, his bedroom wall (which is naturally filled with dinosaur drawings) and his newly printed dino cards. Big thanks to Malcolm’s Aunt Whitney for letting us share this fun story!

Letterpress That Changes the World

With tidings of good cheer and peace on earth to all men in full swing, we thought it’d be fitting to celebrate the holiday season with a tribute to the remarkable letterpress pieces of truly talented & dedicated printers giving back to their communities. We gathered some of letterpress’s finest for this installment of our  roundtable series. Check out the uplifting responses this immensely talented group has to offer and find out how they’re changing the world, one card at a time. Be sure to tell us about your own charitable projects in the comments section below!

Kathryn Hunter – Blackbird Press

The notebooks: Madeline Ellis of Mimosa by m.e., a local jewelry maker, in town (Baton Rouge, LA) and I started a conversation about collaborating on a project together. So after conversations we decided to do something focusing on our US states, a handmade notebook and necklace. We started right before Hurricane Sandy, but we also knew from living in many hurricane seasons in Louisiana (and felt the impact) that the “state” sets had potential to help with relief whenever the people of a state are affected by some sort of hardship. We started with the states Louisiana and New York (because I was going to exhibit at an Indie craft market in Rochester). As soon as Hurricane Sandy made landfall we agreed to make a New Jersey set as well. At that point when the New York & New Jersey sets were ready to sell we decided to give 50% of the sales to Hurricane Sandy relief. So far we’ve donated to the Red Cross and to the Humane Society to help with recovery (we are both big animal lovers too).

The community reaction so far has been good. Most people are amazed that we are giving anything to charity which is so strange to me. But I think it makes people feel good when they spend money on things that help in some way.

We’ve also had a month long sale in the past to help Tsunami relief in Japan, where we gave 50% of sales. We’ve also given a percentage to the Natures Conservatory or other groups that help restore the Louisiana coast from the sale of our last three limited edition calendars.

Basically, it’s my intention to always give back. And letterpress is such an amazing way to do that. With the history of manifestos to Constitutions, letterpress printing has spread the word of progress and restoration. Honestly, I haven’t had the time to do more projects like this (hustling to keep this small business growing keeps me busier than ever) but we try wherever we can. I’m excited about the “state” notebook/necklace sets because I think they will be able to help when places need it.

Jennifer Parsons – Tiny Pine Press

I got involved with the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2008 when I designed their first Gala invitation. I had worked with Mariska Hargitay (founder and president) in the past on her custom stationery orders, so they reached out to me to see if I would be involved. It was a very simple invitation which was printed digitally because of the quantity and scope, but I was honored to help such an amazing group get the annual fundraising started. It was obvious from the get go that the Tiny Pine Press aesthetic really meshed perfectly with JHF. I quickly became friends with everyone who worked at the foundation. I went to the first Gala and was incredibly touched by their message and vision for helping heal, educate, and empower.

Jen Parsons Joyful Heart

Joyful Heart particularly spoke to me and my own personal healing as a survivor of abuse. One of the things that JHF focuses on in its programming is art therapy: working with your hands to express yourself. They put a lot of emphasis on the healing effects of being creative and putting things on paper. Journalling and collage help the mind relax and in a way focus on self healing. When I learned about this, I realized that printing and graphic design does this for me. Once I am focused on the press, I am able to feel free–which is the ultimate goal.

As I got more and more involved with Joyful Heart, I noticed they focused very much on gratitude. And what way to express gratitude but through the old fashioned mail. So as a gift for the 3rd annual gala, I designed the gratitude cards (it’s my handwriting!) and printed them up on my Chandler & Price 10×15 press. Loving every one. Then I glued rhinestones, as a nod to the sparkle of life in each of us and the element of fun and silliness. After the response from the gala, I decided to produce them in bulk and donate all of the proceeds to Joyful Heart. It was the least I could do after they helped me so much in my healing.

In life it is important that even though things are tough and overwhelming sometimes, we have to keep breathing. This is another message that Joyful Heart has given me that I wanted to give to everyone else. So a couple of years later, I decided to create the “inhale peace, exhale joy” cards, and we put them on Etsy with all the proceeds benefiting the foundation as well.

Overall, the response to the Joyful Heart cards has been great. Sometimes people buy them for themselves and some give them as gifts. Either way, I am happiest when lots are selling so I can keep making more. It makes me feel really great to give back in a way that comes easy to me.

Another special project that I’ve worked on was creating one-of-a-kind pieces for a Japanese letterpress project to benefit orphans of the tsunami n Japan last year called Letterpress of Pray by Bluemoon Letterpress. For this one, I was in a stamp store and so inspired by beautiful vintage Japanese postage stamps that I created a letterpress piece around that. I wrote in my handwriting my prayer for the japanese orphans, and I put a Japanese stamp and an American vintage stamp in “to:” and “from:” boxes. I made twenty of these and shipped them off to Japan with hopes that someone would value this little piece of art enough to help a worthy cause.

Maggie Cambell – Campbell Raw Press

I’ve wanted to build giving back into our business for at least the last year. When I heard Harold talk about the way Boxcar & Smock have made this into part of their business, I felt like I had found a model and wanted to do the same, sooner rather than later. I think making beautiful stationery is as noble as any other pursuit you love, but I also wanted to give something to folks who were doing the hard work in the world, making life better for whoever they could.

Maggie Campbell Autograph

There are a couple of areas that appealed to me right off the bat. I knew I wanted to do something with women and children who needed more than they had or were in bad situations. I found Safe Horizon through Charity Navigator and we support them now with 5% of the sales from our Autograph Cards. They assist victims of domestic violence and child abuse and have offices in many of the NYC courthouses, so they’re very present and accessible.

Maggie Cambell Over Through Woods
Maggie Campbell Joy

We also had a dear friend from high school, Josh Casteel, who died this past August of stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer almost certainly because of his military service in Afghanistan, tending burn pits, after he became a conscientious objector. 5% of the sales from our new holiday cards (Over the River & Joy to the World) go to Iraq Veterans Against the War in his honor.

Maggie Campbell Calendar

Finally this year, my mother in-law was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been a pretty terrible way to put all of our priorities front and center. $15 from the sale of each 2013 cyanotype + letterpress calendar and $5 from the sale of each Book of Days perpetual calendar go to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, which funds research to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s.

We’ve gotten incredible feedback about all of these donation initiatives. My mother in-law is extremely proud of our contribution to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and that organization actually interviewed me recently and will feature our calendars in their upcoming newsletter! Also, customers who come up to my table at craft fairs and who buy my cards online are excited to find out that they’re doing a little something extra good with their purchase. It’s incredibly rewarding, and I’m excited to write some substantial checks to all 3 of these organizations at the end of this year!

 Shauna Rue – Purple Ink Press

Shauna Rue Purple Ink Press

I had the Boston card available for sale in my etsy shop, so when I heard about Owen Carrignan, I knew the card was a perfect fit. Owen was a 6-year-old boy from my town who passed away from complications related to a sudden E. coli infection. The Owen E. Carrignan Sports Scholarship Fund was established to keep alive his love & spirit, and to celebrate his love of Boston sports; 100% of the proceeds from the Boston card are donated to the fund in his memory. To hear that a young boy died so suddenly was heartbreaking, but I was shocked to learn that he was actually my cousin’s wife’s nephew–although I had never met him.  Selling a card in his honor was the very least I could do.

Shauna Rue

The card has been very popular, despite only being available on Etsy.  I look forward to selling it at next year’s fundraisers, which will certainly generate more sales.

In terms of other projects: just last week I sold an assortment of letterpress cards at Kai’s Holiday Village, a fundraiser that was held in memory of a local 2-year-old boy who recently lost his battle with an inoperable brain tumor. 100% of the sales went to support Kai’s Village, a newly founded, (truly!) grassroots group that provides support to families affected by a serious illness.  Kai’s mother, Kerri, expressed an interest in creating a line of stationery that can help support some of the organizations that were invaluable to her son during his fight, so I look forward to making that a reality for her in 2013.

Additionally, I will be adding a donations section to my wedding suite offerings (sometime in early 2013): when couples give a designated amount to a registered charity, I will print coordinating reception cards, coasters, etc. for free.

I love what I do.  And when I can help others in the process, it makes my amazing job even better.  Sometimes I feel like one card sale isn’t going to help much, but then I remind myself that following is worth remembering: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margret Mead)

Tess Darrow & Kara Yanagawa – Egg Press

We have donated to organizations large and small, all to organizations that we believe in. We teach an elective class on letterpress and screen-printing to one of our local schools, the Metropolitan Learning Center. The class had fun learning about business, technique, and art while having fun with hands-on training and talks of the printing industry. Cards sold at a sale in March, 2012 went to benefit the MLC.

Egg Press Mercy Corps
We have proudly printed pieces for American Foundation for Equal Rights, Tie The Knot, Mercy Corps, Operation Hope and Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. Last December, Egg Press was able to donate their time and printing expertise while partnering with Mercy Corps on their holiday card. A piece that supported the Mercy Corps vision of worldwide education, providing communities with emergency response, conflict management, micro lending, and more.

Egg Press Breast Cancer

In addition we have donated countless gift baskets for fundraisers to benefit public schools and local organizations. Last year, Tess designed a “good luck with your boobs” card to send to friends with upcoming mammograms or those dealing with breast cancer. A percentage of each card sold is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Tia Blassingame – Primrose Press

Tia Blassingame Blues Print

I approached musician and composer Dave Eggar of Deoro, whom I had met during an artist residency at MacDowell Colony, about collaborating on a project. I really wanted to work on a piece about blues music, which I adore and constantly have playing in the studio. He was amenable to such a piece. He was on tour and I was in graduate school at the time, so we tried to conceive of a collaboration that would work despite our schedules and distance. I felt it would be interesting for people to hear a musician verbalize the significance of blues music, particularly a musician that is not specifically a blues musician.  The idea that this music would affect musicians across genre seemed intriguing to me. I particularly liked this idea of an artist expressing themselves in a manner outside their discipline. In this case, we have a musician writing a poetic piece about blues music.

From its inception, Primrose Press has had a charitable aspect to it. A portion of all sales are donated. Over the years, Primrose has donated to local organizations like the Connecticut Food Bank, as well as international charities like HelpAge. Dave and I talked about donating the sales proceeds to a music-related non-profit organization. He provided invaluable input regarding organizations that were not only reputable, but whose mission we might wish to support. The Blues Foundation with their Hart Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) just seemed like the perfect organization for the project. As a lover of blues music, it always bothered me that those talented blues men and women are too often forgotten as they age. In the scheme of things and in relation to the joy that their music has given me, it is a tiny thing to print these cards and donate the proceeds.

This piece [, the Blues Letterpress Note Card,] involved an extended print day of playing around with metal typefaces, ink, and sending probably too many photos and text messages to my collaborator. The text that Dave wrote was so beautiful. I always enjoy setting type for poetry. Usually it is my own poems that I am setting, editing, and obsessively re-editing, so it was a pleasure to pick a subtle typeface and set his writing.

I mixed up a blue ink, printed a background layer, and then realized that I wanted to build up the background with multiple colors before printing the text. Knowing that I had a limited time on the press, but not wanting to short change the piece. I figured the best way to do this without losing time cleaning the press, and re-inking was to add and mix colors on the press. Obvious for most seasoned printers, but at that time I was a bit of a purist wanting a clean press between color changes. So the piece started from one blue, and then builds into several that are all within the same family with just the addition of blues and blacks. During the print run as I was texting photos of lock-ups and pieces in the drying rack, Dave announced that he had just been nominated for the Grammy. So after my “Shut up!” text had been sent to him, I nervously locked up the final layer of the piece: his text.

People have reacted amazingly to the piece. It was a limited edition piece, and is almost sold out. I printed some additional small postcard size prints on variety of blue-colored Crane’s papers, and those are still available at the Print Center in Philadelphia.

I recently discovered Black & Missing Foundation, Inc. This is an organization run by two woman in D.C. that helps publicize the plight of missing African American children and adults. Basically, they give a voice to invisible people whose stories are not featured in the media. A percentage of purchases made during the month of December from Primrose Press’ Etsy shop is donated to Black & Missing. I look forward to offering additional collaborative limited edition prints that will benefit ailing musicians.

Tia Blassingame Al Mutanabbi

Other charitable projects: [I am a part of] the Al-Mutanabbi project. It has several parts, and the first was letterpress broadsides. The current one features artists’ books. It involves letterpress printers/bookmakers from across the globe. I created a print (handset letterpress & etching) for the broadside portion; and am finishing up my artists’ book (letterpress). The project was inspired by the bombing of the bookselling street in Baghdad. The broadsides have been exhibited internationally, and soon the artists’ books will be, too. The artists’ books will also become part of the permanent collection at the National Library of Bagdad.

Jennifer Larkin – The Paper Peony

Jen Larkin

I’ve been designing and printing wedding stationery and invitations since 2002.  In 2006 I began taking letterpress classes in the evening at Columbia College here in Chicago.  I, like many, became smitten.  I enjoyed the time intensive task of pulling each card, by color, off the Vandercook. Inspecting every lovely unique print. For over a year I rented time through the college printing custom cards and stationery. In 2007 I opened The Paper Peony on Etsy.

Excitingly in late 2007, with the help of Briar Press, I acquired a sturdy well kept Chandler & Price Pilot press from Milwaukee. For $1,000 I considered it a gift, and luckily my supportive husband Shaun agreed.  It came with ink, cotton paper, 2 drawers of metal type, tympan and more…we were able to carry the 250 pound press to the basement to the sweet little studio my husband built for me. In 2009 we began searching for a larger press. By October ‘Gretchen’ was delivered in the rain to our garage from KY at 7am.  An 1,100 pound Vandercook #4 that needed tons of care.

A few years later I released the lettersass™ card line including sassy sayings, petit cards and simplicity with rounded corners and stripes.  The cards bring some humor to life milestones like marriage, having a baby, birthdays, graduations and more.

In 2011, I found out my lovely college roommate Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had no risk factors, she did everything right. Her cancer had been forming for a while, and was only going to get worse. It was an easy and an instant decision to create a lettersass card that would spotlight breast cancer.  Most importantly, because I could donate a part of the profits to help find a cure. I’ve had amazing feedback locally – especially from sisters of cancer survivors and the ones still fighting. One of the things Jenny most wants women to know is how ESSENTIAL it is to have mammograms, as SOON as possible. Her cancer would never have been felt. A mammogram is the only way she would ever have found out.

If you’ve got photos online of your letterpress work that is for a great cause and you’d like to share them, please include a link in your comment!

A Sweet Suprise From Igloo Letterpress

A delightful surprise awaited us in the pre-press department of Boxcar Press two mornings ago, bearing sweet tidings (and cookies!) from the baker/printer extraordinaire behind Igloo Letterpress, Allison Chapman. The last of the delicious cookies have mysteriously vanished but in its place is a big thank you going out to Allison for the wonderful present!

Letterpress love: 10 favorite letterpress cards for valentine’s day

We’re seeing lots of great designs come through our platemaking shop these days — so here are a few favorite letterpress cards from some of our talented platemaking customers. Have favorites of your own? Want to share your own letterpress valentine’s day work? Comment below!

letterpress cards valentine's day

1. I love you so so much greeting card by Pink Orchid Press | 2. I love you card by Blackheart Letterpress | 3. Letterpress love tags from Sweet Harvey | 4. Love you like a blank loves blank card from The Hungry Workshop | 5. Valentine’s Day Love Birds by Blush | 6. Hypno Cat by Anemone Letterpress | 7. Valentine postcards by 1Canoe2 | 8. Pigs in Love by Twin Ravens Press | 9. XOXO by Studio SloMo | 10. Love to you Valentine from The Permanent Collection