I’ve had a lot of printing in my life lately.
My friend Fiver, who has always been an artist, has specialized in fine art printing over the last few years. I’ve spent a lot of time watching her make prints. Then last year I blogged about three different Joburg printers (see here and here and here).
I guess it makes sense that I started off 2018 by printing my own business cards.
It all started when Fiver offered to make some customized linocut prints to turn into a new header for my blog. The linocuts are finished and the header is still in progress. In the meantime Fiver and I decided to turn the linocuts into business cards and print them using the old-fashioned letterpress printers at ImPRESSed Studios.
Here’s a quick step-by-step of how we did it.
Making 2Summers Linocuts
Fiver started by sketching various modes of transport I’ve used in my travels through Joburg and the rest of South Africa. She turned each sketch into a separate lino plate, including edges inspired by South African Shweshwe fabric. After the lino plates were cut, they were ready to be printed.
Once the ink was on the lino plates Fiver lined them up on her printer and laid thick paper on top. She ran her big roller over the paper and voila, we’ve got prints.
Lovely lino prints. By the way, you can see more of Fiver’s work on her @rabbit_productions Instagram feed.
These big sheets of paper would eventually become my business cards. We let the prints dry for a couple of days, then took them to ImPRESSed.
Printing Cards with Letterpress
I first visited ImPRESSed back in August and have been wanting to print business cards there ever since. Martin and Ania, ImPRESSed’s owners, are amazing; they’re so passionate about what they do and they love teaching people how to use their printers, some of which are more than 150 years old.
Fiver created a design for the front of my business card and sent it to Martin. Martin turned the design into a letterpress plate, using a laser-cutter machine.
Martin finished the plate by cooking it in the oven for 30 minutes. Then it was ready to print on. We went back to the studio and prepared the paper.
We decided to print the front of the cards with dark orange ink.
Time to print. Fiver and I took turns cranking.
In a couple of hours we printed a couple of hundred cards. Martin cut them to size on a scary paper-cutting machine called a guillotine. Then they were done.