Rob LoMascolo: The Call of Letterpress

We enjoy hearing from wonderful members of the letterpress community on how the printing tradition has inspired them to their true calling. Aurora, NY-based Rob LoMascolo of The Press of Rob LoMascolo shares with us on why he is smitten with the printing tradition.

Why do I love letterpress? Letterpress appeals to me on many levels, but I think it is the tactility of it that appeals foremost to many of us. You can feel and see the difference. When looking at crisply printed type with just a slight bite into the paper one gets the sense that each and every letter is a physical thing, not a digital recreation of a thing, but every letter is a real actual thing that is very much part of that printed sheet.

My mom likes to tell people that in first grade we kiddos were all asked what we wanted to do when we grew up. Most of my classmates wanted to be athletes, firefighters or follow in their parent’s footsteps, but I wanted to own my own museum!

Yup, visitors always say my shop is like a working museum. Letterpress combines my loves of history, art, design, books, old machines, and above all, it has a realness about it that is lacking from so much of our digital world.

As much as I love letterpress for all those reasons, the reason I do it is simply because I have not found any better way.

School Art Budgets Get a Boost from Boxcar Press’ Annual Paper Giveaway for Teachers.

Pulaski Academy Art Department teacher Stacey Walton reached out with photos and praise for our Boxcar Press paper giveaway for art teachers.  “If not for your generosity my budget would not allow for my students to have so many more opportunities and variation in art supplies as they do now,” writes Stacey.

The Pulaski, New York art instructor is referring to our annual giveaway of printing papers and more to art teachers at local schools.  Boxcar Press gathers a wide variety of items no longer needed for printing projects and it’s not just limited to papers.  It varies from year to year but can include papers of all types, patterns, and sizes, envelopes, surplus cards, packaging, transparencies and colored foils.

2017 OctoberTeacher Giveaway

Stacey included photos of just a few examples of how creative her classroom students were.  Some of the paper is perfect for oil pastel and acrylic painting. They use the patterned papers in their art journals a lot. They also use them for after school craft projects, including Fall signs, wreaths, and ornaments (by curling the paper and putting it inside glass ornaments – they come out beautifully!)  The solid colored papers (especially black) are great for mounting backs.  

2017 OctoberTeacher Giveaway

Some of the items offered are not papers or materials but plastic boxes formerly used for card sets and the cards themselves.  The students use the boxes of plastic covers as palettes for painting, printmaking, etc.  They are perfect because students can close them up and save them from day to day rather than washing the paint off every class.  Stacey writes, “This is a huge saver on paint for us, and super convenient for the students as they do not have to re-mix colors from class to class.”

2017 OctoberTeacher Giveaway -art journals

2017 OctoberTeacher Giveaway - art

“I have had students paint little boxes to use as stands for ceramics and sculptures for displays.  We used the foil rolls we got last year as decorations for our school dances. I also use the “Thank You” cards any time an organization or business donates something to our program.  Our secretaries use the Thank You cards as well (I found a set with our school colors, so they were perfect).  We even give them to students who need thank you’s to send out when they get things like awards and scholarships.”

Thank you Stacey for the feedback and artwork.  We enjoy providing what we can to enrich school art programs and are astounded by the creativity and breadth of how the supplies are used. We encourage other art teachers to let us know in photos and words how you have used our give-away items.

This year’s annual paper giveaway for teachers is Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 from 2:30-4:30 PM and questions can be directed to Boxcar Press at 315-473-0930.

Whacking is sometimes needed

When diecutting shapes, a metal jacket is used on the platen instead of oiled tympan paper. This protects the press from the sharp cutting edges of a die. To coax the jacket and its springy clips into place, sometimes we use a mighty “32 oz Rubber Mallet” to tap it into place. Tap, tap with the mallet’s wide surface area and the jacket is locked in and ready to start getting in position. Wielding this 32oz rubber mallet makes me feel like Thor.

die cutting equipment at boxcar pressdie cutting process at boxcar press


Get your goggles!

We put together a stack of eye-popping set-up sheets with layers and layers of our neon Day-glo ink that had been run through the press several times. The glowing result became a light source of its own! This is the Bella Figura design Polka Stripe designed by Erin Jang. It is a design meant for Great Fun!

neon letterpress at boxcar press

Central New York Couple’s Letterpress Excursion

Letterpress love is in the air! Or at least that’s the case of this soon-to-be-hitched Central New York couple, Douglas Trojan and Erin Reynolds. The pair printed custom letterpress invitations for their upcoming Big Day, and the experience has brought them closer by means of laughs, inks, and whole lot of printing fun!

The couple caught up with us first with a nifty visit last month to get the full tour of Boxcar Press (as well as to get a few pointers on their project). Armed with good advice, Douglas and Erin purchased their custom made plates and the rest is history.

Check out their printing adventure from start to finish here and get a sneak peak at the finished invitation!

Local AIGA Branch Tours Boxcar Press

Boxcar Press started off February with a tour group from the local branch of the AIGA. These tours are a great opportunity for us to not only show what our company has to offer, but also helps us encourage and inspire people to pursue designing for letterpress projects. The group size consisted of about seven graphic designers. They showed great interest in the process from design to platemaking all the way to finishing.  Everyone enjoyed watching the printers at their windmills and rubbing their fingertips over the impression in the paper.  As letterpress continues to grow in popularity, we find graphic designers who visit are more knowledgeable about the craft than just a couple of years ago. A big thanks to these designers for stopping in!