If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of our favorite new toy: the letterpress.
We bought it over the summer and drove it all the way from New Jersey to the western side of Pennsylvania, and it’s been a dream come true for us on BatCat Press. So much of what we do is rooted in traditional bookbinding, and setting your own type is about as traditional as it gets. Plus, for a few years now, at various markets, we’ve been asked by the occasional visitor if we have a letterpress, and we’re so excited to now be able to say that yes, yes we do!
A lot us on staff has found the press to be a serious addiction. We skip lunch to set type and do lockups, some of which we never even get the chance to print, but we do it to practice memorizing the type drawer and to get faster. After all, the faster we can set type, the more locks ups we can do.
We print as much as we can on the press, like our handouts for AWP and some Valentine cards, and some of the staff members have even done book covers. The height of excitement in our week is when Mrs. Baringer brings in metallic ink for us to try, or printing blocks with pictures of ladies churning butter and taking trays out of an oven. To use “excitement” might actually be an understatement!
All of our practice has inspired some dreams about what we’ll make next on the letterpress. The biggest dream, it’s safe to say, is that one day we’ll be able to print an entire book the old fashioned way. We’re not quite there yet, but as BatCat grows, we hope that the ability to will, as well. But, until that day comes, the letterpress will still receive daily attention and affection—we just can’t seem to get enough of it!
We’re so excited to share!
Layla, staff member
Olivia, post-graduate intern