Moontree Letterpress is a small letterpress studio located in the rural town of Durham, Pennsylvania, situated next to the Delaware River in beautiful Bucks County. Designer and printer, Rebecca Kutys, is passionate about her work and takes pride in the quality of every finished project that leaves the studio. When you work Moontree Letterpress you are supporting a small business and ensuring the preservation of a craft: the historic form of letterpress. Check out some photos of the studio in action, and read more about the process of letterpress below.
What is letterpress?
Letterpress printing is the ‘relief’ printing of text and image using a press with movable type or plates, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain an image. Invented by Johannes Gutenberg, it was the usual form of printed text from the mid-15th century until the 19th century and replaced hand-written calligraphy. If you ever have the opportunity to admire a 15th Century book you will see the enduring and timeless quality of letterpress. Letterpress fell out of favor as more efficient forms of printing were developed, but has recently experienced a renaissance with the renewed interest in craft and handmade objects.
Letterpress machines are impressive: heavy and substantial with thousands of mechanical parts. They come alive with a cacophony of clinking, clunking, and whooshing. The star of our studio is our beloved Heidelberg Windmill press, which inks plates and then presses against soft, cotton paper; not just printing graphics but also leaving shaped impressions on paper. Letters and images look crisp and sharp on the page, and as you run your fingers over the surface you can feel the recessed texture of the type. So in both look and feel letterpress is distinctive. It is an enduring art form that produces beautiful, elegant and unique pieces.
Minimizing environmental impact is a core value at Moontree Letterpress, and great care is taken to keep the studio carbon footprint minimal. Year by year, the commitment to eco-friendly methods of production is strengthening. Currently with platemaker, guillotine cutter, presses and supporting equipment fully on site, emissions from outsourcing any phase of production is zero.
Following production, all letterpress plates are recycled. In-house paper stock is made from 100% recycled, acid-free rag cotton. This stock is tree-free. Any scraps left over from production are saved for year-end holiday tag printing. And scraps less than 1" are shredded and composted.
to Zachary Hartzell for his excellent work in photographing me at work in the studio. -Rebecca