Saturday, November 5, 2011

Heddy's story

This is Heddy's story. In early 2010 I responded to a Craig's list ad. I placed the ad that follows on Briar Press.
I recently responded to an ad for a Chandler & Price letterpress. I drove to the small town in rural Minnesota to look at the press. I was hoping that it would be a smaller treadle press.
The press was a 10 x 15. It had not been run for 30 years but has been kept in a dry barn the whole time. The press was a little stiff, as you might imagine. I turned the flywheel over about 10 times and knew that with a little lubrication it would freewheel easily. The press is in super shape. no welds, three sets of roller cores but the best part was this....The lady who came out of the farm house to tell me the history of the press. Heddy - all of 87 years old 5' 2" and a Norwegian firecracker of a lady. She told me how she used to make the press sing. How many impressions per hour she could run. How her boss kept it a secret from the customers that she was the one running the press. She brought out samples of her work. She showed me the wedding text type that she printed her wedding announcements with. You could tell that she loved the press and the work. This was when printing was a production job, not an art form. Her samples reflected that...Just a light Norwegian kiss, easy on the lead. I do not want the press but I do want all the other things in the barn. The grandson and Heddy want the history/legacy with this press preserved. From the beginning I thought her story should be preserved along with the press and my thought was to find someone who would help to carry this forward...If this is of interest to you, contact Jon @ Thank you in advance thinking this over.
Jon D. Minnetonka MN.
PS...we back-traced the serial # to 1895

The person to respond to my ad was Daniel Goscha.
Here is one of his initial emails to me,

Hi Jon -
If it helps to sweeten the deal, you can let them know how I am going to use the press....
I teach graphic design here at a small college in northern Wisconsin. Before that I was a professor at the University of Illinois where I taught graphic design and a letterpress class. When I left Illinois, I had to leave all of that equipment behind - it was heartbreaking for me. So, one of my goals in setting up the press here - which I am calling Red Kite Press - is to be a fine art and book arts teaching studio. It will be a place I can bring students from the college and a place where I can hold regular workshops to teach a whole new generation of designers and artists the importance and beauty of fine letterpress. This press is going to be lovingly restored and will be the main press of our little shop. I plan on naming this press "Heddy" to help preserve its history. I am hoping I will be able to get a picture of Heddy with the press while we are out there that we will be able to hang in the shop here. Its rich history and story will absolutely travel with it. Those who use a press know that we impress a bit of ourselves into a press we spend time with and Heddy's spirit will absolutely come with the press and be given a loving home here.
Thanks for all of your help Jon!
Heddy found her home.....Visit her at Red Kite Press.


No comments:

Post a Comment