I've put together a small gift guide for the letterpress enthusiast that's on your list for the holiday. Ever since I got interested in letterpress printing there never seemed to be an end to the list of things that fed my learning or enjoyment of it. The items I've selected are ones I'd personally love to find under my Christmas tree but I hope it gives you some ideas as well.
A. Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop: This book about Nashville's Hatch Show Poster Shop is a feast for the eyes. Rich details of posters, music concert announcements, advertising ephemera, letterpress history - it's all there. This would be a welcome addition to a letterpress lover's library.
B. Elementary Platen Press Work by Ralph W. Polk: Any and all printing manuals will find a prominent place on my bookshelf for easy referencing. This book is specific to the platen press but I'm pretty sure there are details and methods that can be loosely transferred to other presses. No matter what stage a printer is at, going back to the basics is a good idea.
C. Van Son Gold Ink: A couple of Christmas' ago, my husband got me 2lbs of metallic inks. To this day, I only use them for special prints and treat them as if they were actually precious metals. It's not quite a must-have but definitely a nice-to-have.
D. Typeface, the film. I love a good movie. Especially if it's a documentary about anything type- or letterpress-related. Just the idea of sitting by the fireplace, with a cup of hot cocoa and watching the story of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum unfold gives me the warm fuzzies.
E. Holiday Ornament from Briarpress. This is just cute and holiday appropriate. It can even be personalized with photos or a greeting. Definitely easier to wrap than an actual press.
F. Printer's Tray: These vintage trays are great because if they aren't going to serve a functional purpose, they'd still look sweet on a desktop or as a wall hanging. I'm always in need of trays like this one to store unsorted type or type that didn't come with a whole font. Spacers, ems and en quads would also find a home in one of these. Whatever the case, anything that helps this printer organize her studio gets a thumb's up.
Other ideas include:
+ gifting a spot in a letterpress workshop in a neighborhood/city near you
+ wood type (Etsy's got some great vendors who sell small collections)
+ The Little Book of Letterpress by Charlotte Rivers
Let me know if you've got other gift ideas for letterpress lovers, I'd love to hear them.