After watching the movie at home, it seems to me that this is another form of the overarching nostalgia that people from previous generations typically seem to have. People yearn for the “old days” when people did more physical labor, did more with their hands, were exhausted by the end of the day but satisfied with their work. This kind of blue-collar thinking really shines through with letterpress. It’s a practice that has been outdated for decades, but still lingers around through the satisfaction of making something beautiful with your hands, and getting them dirty in the process. People find this to be more relaxing than making the same work on a computer or a phone, like they can leave their troubles behind and just focus on making something. I think that this sort of physicality over mentality approach appeals to small press publishers because it tracks more with what they’re about, getting the purity of the work, solely what the author intended, out to the people. It matches well with the creativity that comes with making one’s own type and manually carving it to life.
Because of this, I think that a future for letterpress exists through small press, but in poetry especially. Poetry tends to take up a lot less space, and requires much fewer words than, say, novels. So there’s a larger possibility to actually be able to be typed using letterpress. Not only that, but I think that the more people saw this, and knew the processes that went behind making it, the higher I think the demand would be for more. People like old ways of doing things. I think they would pay a lot of money for a book of poems made this way, just to own something that they can say so much work went into, especially by hand and through a process that is close to extinction. I think that it is very valuable to learn these sorts of methods that were employed by previous generations so that they don’t. These are methods that were pioneering at the time, that changed the game. I think that we should keep them around purely on that basis.
When it comes to heritage items, I would have to say that there are definitely some that would work much better if they were kept in use and some that work better kept properly in storage. Quilts I would say should be in storage, as that starts to fray and fall apart the longer that you use it. With printing presses though, it looks like, according to the film, that it would work better if kept in constant use. Overall, I’d have to say to use discretion when trying to figure out what kind of way to preserve historical pieces.