In this episode, I talk with Jessica White — the co-founder of Ladies of Letterpress and author of the book Letterpress Now. She’s immensely influential in the letterpress community and also just a really fun person.
You’ll hear one of my all-time favorite letterpress stories about how Jessica snuck into her university’s print shop in the middle of the night with an accomplice to… learn to print letterpress. That was her first experience printing.
She also talks about some of her experiences learning letterpress as well as acquiring her first (and second) press. She raises some valuable lessons about slowing down and how letterpress helps her do that.
Photos by Nathan Rivers Chesky, Courtesy of the Southern Highland Craft Guild
2:02 — Jessica’s background. 3:03 — Jessica’s “midnight adventure” learning to print letterpress. 8:01 — On writing her book, Letterpress Now and how she said “no” the first time. 12:50 — How Jordan carved linoleum for the first time and got it backwards. If only I’d used Jessica’s book. 13:56 — Jessica’s first printing press. 19:05 — Discussing the resurgence of letterpress. 22:33 — The letterpress process and the value of slowing down. 26:05 — Learning to print letterpress without apprenticeships. 31:02 — The high demand for Vandercook printing presses, and Jessica points out that the wildly expensive press isn’t needed to create great prints. 34:50 — “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” 35:29 — Wood and linoleum block carving. 39:15 — How to mount linoleum blocks to wood MDF. 41:02 — Creating Ladies of Letterpress. 46:28 — Being a woman in a historically male-dominated field. 49:00 — Upcoming Ladies of Letterpress conference. 51:32 — 1/2 + 1/4 pilot’s license does NOT equal 1 whole pilot’s license.