Did you hear about Snail Mail My Email a few years back? A gentleman named Ivan Cash proposed that people send email messages for volunteers to convert into paper missives, to be sent around the world. And it worked! Hundreds of people participated and thousands of pieces of mail were sent. The fruits of that fun project have been published in a book. What a perfect gift for uh, Easter? Tax Day? Or maybe just cuz.
Yet another example of the creative potential in using the scope of the internet to foster the handmade.
Viva Snail Mail!
To kick off Viva Snail Mail’s profiles of cardmakers, I thought I would pick Albertine Press, a design and letterpress print shop from my hometown of Somerville, Massachusetts. I asked Albertine boss, Shelley Barandes, a few questions.
Viva Snail Mail: What is letterpress?
Shelley: Letterpress is a relief printing technique harkening back to Gutenburg and his famous bible. Raised type and images are inked on their surface and then pressed against paper, transferring the image. We use a Vandercook flat bed cylinder proof press which dates back to 1934 for most of our work. We also have eight other presses of various vintage and function that we use here and there (often for teaching).
VSM: What do you love about paper?
Shelley: I’ve loved paper forever. As a kid I was obsessed with making origami boxes, and created all kinds of collages with magazine clippings and other decorative papers. I love the texture of the papers we use in the studio – they’re mostly heavy weight, cotton stocks, soft to the touch and often pillowy. It’s really luxurious and so lovely. Don’t even get me started on paper marbling…
VSM: What’s the best paper mail that you have you sent and received in 2009?
Shelley: The best papers I’ve sent in ’09 are definitely the announcements for our new baby Sadie. Friends and family helped print them at her baby naming ceremony (yes, held in the studio) and I love sending them out into the world.
The best paper I’ve received is a package of letterpress prints, part of a print exchange I participated in. It was such a delightful treat to open it up and discover all of the creative prints that each of the other studios produced.
VSM: Thanks Shelley. Your work is lovely. Viva Snail Mail!