The 2014 Letterpress Trail, part one

This summer we decided to hit the road and see how many letterpress shops we could visit in a week. Thanks to our friends at Firecracker Press, we have a handy Letterpress Trail map, which is an attractive way to keep track of our stops. jocarWe drove down through Indianapolis to Nashville to visit our friend Celene at Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest letterpress shops in the country. It is now housed in an incredible new venue as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and includes a gallery and retail space as well as the actual shop.

hatch11Jo and Celene messed around with some of the large wood cuts for historic posters.

hatch13Check out the beautiful space. Hundreds of cases of types, a handful of presses and a whole lot of gumption (can you say 600 posters a year?)



hatch18I took most of our photos at the end of the day so you don't get the buzz of a working shop, but it was indeed humming! Jim Sherradin was still around, working on oversized pieces for the gallery.




hatch20This is an amazing wall of wood type that measures over 20 line, or approximately 3.5".

hatch4Jo got to hold this large wood type J, as well as hang with the shop cats, Huey and Maow.


hatch16We had a fantastic time exploring Hatch, not to mention enjoying the tasty pulled pork that was on deck after the shop closed. Can't wait to visit again.

hatch14Our next stop in Nashville before heading out was to Isle of Printing. We're big fans because they are fellow Press Bikers, with a mobile station on wheels as part of their Our Town project. Check it out!

This giant press was used for a project we got to see on the outside of the building. Do you see something vaguely pie shaped?

isle1They have a large shop with tons of space for printing as well as exploring their numerous public art projects that are taking over Nashville.

isle2And here are the pie shaped prints, pasted on the wall outside! One might think Jo coordinated her outfit for this shot with Bryce, the leader of the gang.

isle4After our stay in Tennessee we headed up to Cincinnati to visit Steam Whistle Letterpress, friends we made while at the National Stationery Show. Brian has a fantastic shop in the Over The Rhine area of the city, and makes some lovely, vintage-inspired prints and cards with metal type, wood and hand carved cuts, all things we can get behind.





steam4We took the opportunity to pick up some great cards and talk shop. Brian's awesome business cards fold into actual steam whistles, and he paused a moment to show Jo how it worked. How's that for branding!

steam2Another friend we made at the Stationery Show was Maya from Visual Lingual. She is one half of the team that makes seed bombs, little portable gardens you can plant anywhere! We picked up a few sacks and can't wait to get them started. You can find their work all over Cincinnati as well as nationwide.

visual1And luckily for us, Maya pointed us to the American Sign Museum, a glorified warehouse full of signage from around the country that has been rescued from the dump and obscurity. This is a must stop for anyone interested in Americana, neon, sign painting and letterforms.

sign3We'll be back soon with Part Two of our Letterpress Trail, which picks up in Columbus!