FN#48 United States of Letterpress
FREEDOM OF THE PRESSES
Field Notes’ 48th Quarterly Limited Edition for the Fall of 2020 is the “United States of Letterpress,” which features the work of nine independent letterpress shops from across America. This series demonstrates a wide array of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and love for the age-old and tactile process of letterpress printing.
With the help of their friends at Finch Paper of Glens Falls, New York, and The French Paper Company of Niles, Michigan, each shop was shipped a different color cover stock (all from French’s Pop-Tone line) and specified the same two ink colors (Rubine Red and Process Blue) for all of them. The results are as varied and thoughtful as the participants involved.
Continuing a tradition embossed into the history of American letterpress printing, the layouts, themes, and messages are highly personal statements about heritage, geography, tradition, and social issues, and they also demonstrate the diversity and strength of today’s letterpress community.
If you haven’t done so already, please take a few minutes to meet the creators of this edition in the short documentary film Field Notes produced to accompany this release.
Includes one cover designed by Full-Circle Press of Nevada City, California. One of two by Genghis Kern of Denver, Colorado. One of two by Mama’s Sauce of Orlando, Florida.
Includes one of two cover designs by Springtide Press of Tacoma of Washington, One of two by Brad Vetter of Louisville, Kentucky. One of two by Ben Blount of Evanston, Illinois.
Includes one of two cover designs by MATTER’s Rick Griffith of Denver, Colorado. One of two by Erin Beckloff of Springboro, Ohio. One cover by Starshaped Press of Chicago, Illinois.
Skylab Letterpress of Kansas City, Missouri printed our designs for each book’s flyleaf, including a reproduction of a border from the Bay Psalms Book (1640), thought to be the very first book printed in the American colonies.
Lake County Press, of Waukegan, Illinois, pre-printed the Field Notes elements on the exteriors and interiors of the cover stock, which was then trimmed down from standard 26″ x 40″ press sheets to 8.5″ x 13″, with the art arranged 2-up on a sheet. One color was sent to each printer.
The printers utilized any and all methods at their disposal, with the only dictate being that they print a 2-color design using our specified red & blue inks.
The covers and flyleaf sheets were shipped back to LCP, where light tan Graph Grid interior pages, printed on Finch Opaque Smooth “Bright White,” were waiting. All the elements were then collated, bound, stapled, and cut, and the 3-Packs assembled.
This project was produced through the craft and creativity of twelve printers around the country, with the help, gumption, and know-how of countless others, passed down by job-printers, collectors, and hobbyists over the last several centuries.
3 books per pack | Graph Paper | 3½” × 5½” | 48 pages each