At Silverplate Press, I print in a vintage fashion, using heavy duty equipment from the turn of the 20th century, hand-made wood and lead type, hand-mixed ink, using time, patience, a keen eye for perfection and a whole lot of love. The results often leaves a deep impression in a sheet of paper that you can feel – this is unique to letterpress printing and gives your special piece a recognizable premium result.
I operate Silverplate Press out of my live/work loft in Toronto. This basically means that I have a giant Vandercook 320G letterpress in my living room. I often think that I am just incredibly lucky I am that my life has led me here.
My love affair with letterpress is only a few years old. I took a curiosity letterpress workshop with Tanya at Snap & Tumble, which was incredible! Possibly life-changing, in my case. This was the first time that I set type, mixed ink and pulled the handle on a tabletop platen press... the result was an impression that I could feel, not just in the sheet of paper. This was my very taste of the beauty of printing, and I was in love. From then on, I was hooked. I took a class with the incredible George Walker at OCADU, where I learned the in's & out's of letterpress on a Vandercook proof press. I printed until they locked the doors on me. Every second spent on the Vandercook was my little piece of heaven, and at the time I thought that love affair with letterpress would have to be over. When would I ever see a Vandercook again?! Well, as it turns out, not long. Through the magic of kijiji and some damn good luck, I stumbled upon a 320G! It was dusty, and dirty and clearly neglected – in need of a good home. With the support of my totally awesome husband, Justin, we bought it!
And just like that, we had to move. At the time we were living in a tiny 485 sq/foot condo, and there was no way it was going to fit, and we weren't convinced the floors would hold all 2000 lbs of it. We jumped in with two feet! About a month later we moved into an old toy factory... one of the few left in the city that haven't been converted into trendy condos. It's still full of artists and musicians and yoga studios, and it was a perfect home for this press. We made sure the freight elevator and floors would hold it before we even considered it. A few months later we made arrangements with Craig from Don Black's Linecasting to move the press. That is an entire epic story in itself, and if you'd like to see how it all went down, check out this blog post I did about just that.
Thanks so much for stopping by and reading about all these shenanigans that go on here at Silverplate Press. If you ever feel like asking some questions about letterpress or just feel like sending me an email; you can send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to hear from you soon.
Elsewhere on the internet:
Personal website & blog // Amanda Keenan