Firstly, I’m going to give a quick note that if any of my past Dungeons and Dragons party sees this, please do not read further into this, it will spoil some surprises for you. You’ll thank me later. 

My class recently had the amazing opportunity to visit The Meshwork Press and even try to make a design or two of our own. And overall, I’d love to do it again in a longer span of time where we could make multiple designs and test out ideas more. I had a few ideas going into the letterpress but was not yet sure which would be possible or allowed. Luckily, one design I had would fit perfectly into the instructions we were given. Haylee Ebersole had asked us to try to use only one line of text, so I decided on a card-like print for my Dungeons and Dragons group. In our past campaign, our party was named “The Rat Pack.”  

[Picture taken by Matis Stephens. The picture shows two prints of The Rat Pack design, one on dark grey paper and the other on brown. A couple examples that Haylee had shown in the introduction to our class are in the picture as well. These prints say “HUGS”]

Setting it into the chase took more thought than I had originally imagined. I have rarely had to make things backwards and upside down, so this was a bit of a process. In the end it still needed adjusted before we put it though the press. This is likely the biggest part of the process that I’d be interested in perfecting if I ever have the chance to practice it more. 

Printing the cards on the letterpress was easily the most entertaining part. We slid and locked the finished chase into the press. My favorite part of the process came after we slipped in the paper to be printed on. Admittedly, I was at first very cautious with the wheel. Thinking back, especially since we saw it run on a motor in our introduction, me pulling the wheel would likely not do too much. But I of course did not know how hard to pull the wheel at first, especially at the hardest point of spinning when the press is pressing the image into the page. Eventually, I got accustomed to the process, feeling similarly to a pirate pulling something aboard a ship. 

[Picture by Matis Stephens of the large letterpress at the Meshwork Press. The edge of the wheel which is mentioned in this article is to the far lower left corner of the picture.]

With permission to print multiple copies and the next group still preparing their chase, I printed off multiple copies of my prints. I hope to add a cute rat print below the text on them all so that I can send them off to my members in that group. I think they will like them, much like I liked working in the studio. If I could do it again with my knowledge now, I think I would definity try some more intensive designs, or at least ones that are more than one line. 

Work Cited 

Ebersole, Haylee. Meshwork Press, 2021, https://meshworkpress.com/

2 thoughts on “[THE RAT PACK]”

  1. First of all, I love the idea of adding a rat at the bottom on your prints! It’s a minimalist look that’s still quirky in an endearing way. I also want to comment on your comparing the wheel of the press to a pirate hauling something on a ship. I worked with the tabletop press, so it was a little more intimidating to witness the letterpress in motion, though it’s interesting that it’s quite easy once the motion is down.


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