Last year we was the first we had ever heard about the International Printing Museum and its Printers Fair (it's off the beaten path in Torrance and pretty amazing... a hidden LA gem for sure!), but sadly it was too late to attend. When it came around again this year we jumped at the chance to volunteer and check out the fair. It was a fantastic with print lovers from all over the world (yes, world... Japan, New Zealand, and England to name a few). While there we discovered a letterpress artist who also happens to be co-founder Sharon's neighbor... small world indeed. We asked her to tell us how her day as a vendor went at the fair.
Q: Tell us about your shop? What do you make? How long for? What's the process?
A: I run Metal Doily Press which is my design and letterpress print studio. I specialize in letterpress printed goods like wedding invitation suites and greeting cards. I also offer flat printing alternatives and hand lettered items like save the dates or wedding day signs. I formally began (as in legit with a business license, website, readymade goods) in 2012. I informally began in 2008 (buying my press, designing/printing friends wedding invites). I design all my pieces digitally and send away my art files to Boxcar Press to have polymer plates made. I then use those plates in my Chandler & Price New Series press.
Q: How did you hear about the Printers Fair?
A: I found out about it by keeping up on posts on Briarpress.org which is a great resource website for all things letterpress. It has a very useful troubleshooting forum and a classifieds section where you can look for a press of your own!
Q: What's the application and jurying process like? What requirement do you have to meet?
A: The sign up is process was much more straightforward than your typical craft show. For the Printers Fair you simply pay the fee online through their online system when they announce that you sign up!
Q: What was the Printers Fair like? Who was there? What could you do?
A: The fair went really well! It's nice because the crowd is well versed in the technique and have an appreciation for the work. I'm not having to first explain what the process is so I feel that the conversations are enriching for both the vendors and visitors. Another reason this fair is great is that it's not all vendors just selling stationery, there are also great resource-based vendors like paper suppliers and press part suppliers. So if you're looking to get started in letterpress this is a good place to start.
Q: What kind of vendor would do well here or not do well here?
A: Any vendors that are creating good thoughtful work based in paper arts will do well here.
Q: What should people considering the Printers Fair know about it?
A: From a logistical stance, internet access is not great so if you normally rely on a Square reader to process payments I would bring your own mobile wifi port or stock up on cash to make cash transactions!
Q: Anything else?
A: If you're thinking about venturing into letterpress I suggest taking a class and then watching as many YouTube videos as possible. Once I understood more and more what the particular press I own could and could not do it made it a lot easier to design with those specifications in mind.
Q: Where can people find your stuff?