Questions we may or may not ask ourselves and others day in and day out:
- Is letterpress printing still alive?
- Has it truly found a way to assimilate into our modern culture of machines that do most of the work without human supervision or interference?
- What difference does it make whether a press prints its texts using a letterpress or a more mechanical source?
The answers to these are quite simple. Yes. Yes. And, of course, a fairly large one.
See, when talking about the survival of the letterpress in the modern world, it’s pretty reasonable to say that the concept of formatting documents and printing them manually is barely sustaining itself on bread crumbs. Overall, letterpress printing remains quite underappreciated in this day and age. However, with the current uprising of “vintage culture” and “old-school taste,” letterpress printing is beginning its ascent into more or less safe waters. Hopefully, more and more people begin to appreciate the process of this less automated, more personal, work ethic-based printing in the coming years.
The idea of letterpress printing currently depends on the people who wish to revive the practice of using your hands to creatively set up a page to print, to select textures and colors and other wonderful media and designs and fonts and all the jazz that used to interact with readers in a physical way which would awaken their senses and engage them in a text in a way that a standard modern printed document can only dream of. Among such revivalists are a multitude of small press publishers. The staff of these presses oftentimes print poetry, fiction, and other forms of literature in a strikingly physical format that truly brings out the vivid voice in a collection of words. Eulalia Books takes part in this process with the help of Haylee Ebersole, a letterpress artist stationed primarily in Wilkinsburg.