THE PRESS | GORDON FRANKLIN OLDSTYLE
One day in August 2014 my dad and I got in the truck and adventured 442 miles south to a tiny town in Oregon where we had heard there was a letterpress for a good price. In the basement of a farmhouse was an 1872 Gordon Franklin Oldstyle coated in a thick layer of rust where it had sat for 50 years. Originally from Colorado, the press which I would later name “Sebastian”, had been mostly neglected and was in need of restoration. Despite age, deteriorated rollers and not a drop of oil, he ran with the same grace I imagine he had 100 years ago. I knew I had to take him home, somehow we hefted 1,200 lbs of cast iron and letterpressing potential onto a trailer and back to Washington.
After 36+ hours of power-sanding rust, painting every surface and reassembling, this Oldstyle press was ready to get back to work. Though we would have preferred to not paint or alter the press, it was absolutely necessary to remove the years of mildew and rust. We did our best to keep it authentic, even mimicking the hand-painted gold accents of vintage platen presses.
Sebastian now resides in my small home studio, surrounded by lead type, fresh Van Son ink and an endless stack of projects.
He is well loved.
INKY | CHELSEA CUYKENDALL
I stumbled on letterpress when I attended The School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. The class I had wanted to take, Typography, was full and I decided to enroll in Letterpress in the meantime. I had always been curious about the process but knew very little. I instantly fell in love with it! I spent the next three months in an old hat factory turned classroom, sweating and learning everything I could about letterpress printing. A few months after that, I had found Sebastian and Inky was born!
I've worked endlessly to learn the craft and to develop my skills as a pressman and designer. The art of letterpress has combined my passion for creating designs and putting them to paper. There’s something significant about the hands-on work of using a vintage machine and messy ink. I believe that significance translates to each page I print.
My style is easy. I like things simple, straight forward and fun. I believe that print is very much alive! In a time of more and more digitization, the handwritten note, card, and invitation is truly special. I get giddy about paper and making beautiful keepsakes for wonderful clients.
I can’t pretend that this is always a one-woman show. I have had so many hands involved in helping me sustain and navigate the life of this small business. From my dad helping me restore my press to my family and friends inspiring me, lending a hand, and cheering me on, I am forever grateful for my community. Inky would not be what it is without them.