A Look Inside Meshwork

When we travelled to Meshwork Letterpress last week, I learned so much about the Letterpress and Printing. After watching “Pressing On,” I had a good idea of how the letterpress worked. But, to see it in person and try it for myself, it gave me a much better appreciation for the letterpress and small businesses. 

We started out the trip by seeing different projects that were done by Mesh Works. The projects varied from business cards, to books, and poetry collections. Mesh Works also does a lot of work on stationary, invitations, and announcements. It made me realize how important it is to support and utilize small businesses.  We then were given a demonstration by Haylee Ebersole about how to properly set up text and the attention to detail that it takes to set up the text and the furniture in the cast iron frame. Once, the text is set up and secured it is place on the letter press. The ink, which is similar to a rubber like substance, is then placed on the circular press which is then rolled evenly across. I was very surprised about how little ink is actually used for the press. It supports the idea that less is best. We were able to see the press get used and how sometimes, you have to test it a few times to get your letters or images in the spot you want. After everything is prepped, it’s all about printing your image. I was surprised how fast you can print them as an expert. 

The Letterpress itself
Photo/Image by Elspeth Mizner

After the demonstration we were able to play with the text ourselves and set up our own things to be printed, some chose complex phrases or images, other chose simpler ones. I loved how everyone chose something that was unique to them and no matter how many times you printed something, no two would be the same. I love that unique aspect about letter pressing. It was satisfying at the end of the experience to have something that I made from start to finish, from choosing the design, laying it out, and physically printing it. I really enjoyed the excursion to Meshwork and meeting and getting to work with Haylee Ebersole. She was so knowledgeable and kind to let us use her space and try everything out on our own while offering support and advice. This was such a fun experience and unique way to put what we saw and learned in the film in action and get our hands a little dirty at the same time too.

My finished product
Photo/Image by Elspeth Mizner

I also found this article that shares the importance of the letter press and the history of the letterpress. It made me get a better understanding of the letter press before going on this excursion. The article can be found here.

2 thoughts on “A Look Inside Meshwork”

  1. The link that you provide, to a summary of the history of letterpress on another small letterpress shop’s site, seems to emphasize how letterpress was itself a “new” technology once, and one that evolved and improved through time. Which, really, was not a point of emphasis in the film (which focused on the “age” and present-day “legacy” of letterpress). Maybe, letterpress is still evolving, into art form, and will continue to absorb new technologies as such to suit its new purpose.

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