Workspace Spotlight: Headcase Press

Letterpress printer Nicole Monforti of Headcase Press has a dual career.  When she isn’t finessing ink through her presses, she makes jewelry from recycled lead type in her New Bedford, Massachusetts studio.  This printer and designer is all for following wherever her art and presses take her.  Recently, she completed a custom order for cufflinks for some of the cast of the Disney Broadway musical “Newsies,” and she can often be found at local artfests in the eastern Massachusetts area. Nicole is a proud member of Ladies of Letterpress and will be displaying her stationery and jewelry for the second year at the 2012 conference in Asheville, North Carolina in August. Walk through the door of her workspace and take a look around.

THE PRESSES: I have four – A 10 x 15 Heidelberg Windmill, a 8 x 12 New Style C&P, a Vandercook 14 proof press and a 3 x 5 Kelsey that I use for demos at shows.

SIZE OF PRINT SHOP: About 800 sq. ft in a shared space of 2,000 sq. ft.

TYPE OF SHOP: Commercial.

THE LOCATION: The space itself is great – it’s an old mill building so it has lots of old industrial elements and high ceilings.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE SHOP: I love the paint job in the shop, especially the red stripe (which was not easy to get straight!), and the history of the building itself. I love thinking about all of the things that have been made here over the past 100 years.

NUMBER OF PRINTERS IN SPACE:  The space is shared with a classical figure sculptor and one printing intern (Will is the red haired guy). He’s a recent Montserrat College of Art (my alma mater) graduate and he works for me as a part time pressman.

MOST VALUABLE SHOP TOOL: Probably my slug cutter, making the jewelry without one would be nearly impossible. After that, it’s a three way tie between tweezers, a pica ruler & locking quad guides.

FAVORITE INK: Holyoke Fine Papers (a local company) makes rubber & soy based inks that I really like. I’m partial to their “moss”.

SOLVENT OF CHOICE: Colorlok Glaze Off works miracles!

PLATE AND BASE OF CHOICE: I use the deep relief Boxcar base for the C&P and the standard for the Heidelberg. I’ve used them for the past year or so.

OIL OF CHOICE:  Mobil DTE oil extra heavy for the Heidelberg. WD40 for squeaky parts on the C & P.

WHAT TYPE OF RAG DO YOU CLEAN UP YOUR PRESSES WITH:  Old T-shirts. I think the jersey material works best.

FLOORING MATERIAL: Gorgeous wood floors!

FLOOR PLAN TIPS:  Keep your paper cutting/folding station far from the presses, because you just never know….

PIED TYPE: 300 lbs currently, waiting to be cut and turned into jewelry. (Hell box donations are always welcome!)

ORGANIZATION ADVICE: Post-it notes, I have them on everything.

PRINTING ADVICE: Make sure you have room to move around. I crammed things in at the beginning and I’ve since re-arranged about 4 times to make it more user friendly.