Letterpress printing in Toronto has experienced a resurgence of late. Since the dawn of the internet, geek chic has reigned, so it makes sense that a love for typography would resurface. Combine that with the maker/DIY takeover, and you've got yourself a town full of folks seeking out letterpress printers. There's still a handful of them in the city, some of which have been around forever and some of which are newly founded.
Check out these five Toronto printers who still practice the art of letterpress printing.
Mundy Brothers has been operating as a family business in the city for about 90 years, and they're still rockin the art of letterpress. They use vintage presses to create wedding invitations, custom art prints, illustrated stationery and business cards, among other printed treasures. Mundy Brothers was run exclusively as a letterpress printer up until 1959, but they mix in more modern forms of printing now to offer a wider array of options. You'll find their current operation in full force at Keele and Lawrence.
Trip Print Press
There's no ambiguity here. As Trip's website makes clear, this is a printing office. It's a fairly new operation, having been nestled into 224 Wallace Ave. since 2005. What's more, this is an organized printing press. They pride themselves on having orders done in a timely fashion, and doing it right. We chatted with proprietor Nicholas Kennedy back in 2007, and he told us he's interested in the form because it keeps evolving. He specializes in fine mercantile printing, business and social stationery, special projects and more.
bookhou is run by husband and wife team John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj, who operate a truly multidisciplinary business. They dabble in and teach so many different art forms, from textiles to sculpture, painting and furniture. The shop is at Dundas and Bathurst, and they host letterpress workshops there from time to time to pass on the art form. They teach basic letterpress printing on a C & P Pilot platen press, and students get to make their own stationery or cards using wood and lead type.
Lunar Caustic Press
Funnily (and fittingly) enough, Lunar Caustic Press's website is still under development. The Queen and Spadina outfit works with local designers to create unique prints, and they specialize in die cutting, foil stamping, and embossing, alongside, of course, letterpress printing. Run by Neil Wismayer, the company is one of the city's foremost ambassadors of this art form.
I feel the need to love this place based on its name alone. Someone is at Dundas and Lansdowne, and they bring a great, anything-is-possible attitude to their work. Alongside letterpress, they offer digital and commercial graphic design and brand consultation services. Besides invitations, business cards, stationery and posters, they can also help with projects involving custom binding, embossing, engraving, and die-cutting.
Graven Feather is an art gallery on Queen St. W. near Crawford St. It's run by three artists, including Pam Lobb (printmaking), Erin Candela (illustrator) and Jessica Bartram (watercolours and paper sculpture). The gallery space offers workshops, including one where you can learn to make letterpress cards using lead type. There's a community-oriented atmosphere here, and walk-in wanderers are well loved, so if you have any questions, feel free to pop in and ask.
Did we miss a letterpress printer in Toronto? If so, please add it to the comments below
Photo from Trip Print Press's Flickr Stream
by Sarah Ratchford via blogTO