In 2015 I had the privilege of spending a year studying typography and letterpress printing with Barry Moser, a distinguished artist and fine human being, who taught me the craft of printing with reverence and love. I spent all the time I could in the pressroom, a magical place filled with cabinets of lead type, spools of string, and beautiful pages of printed words.
Upon graduating (aka being kicked out of the print shop) I wanted to continue to learn and create, so I bought a small printing press which now lives in the basement of my studio apartment in Belfast, Maine. I've named it Squeezebox Press in honor of my other favorite object/hobby, my little button accordion! I use my press to make stationery, postcards, posters, broadsides, and whatever else anyone wants to have pressed beautifully onto nice paper.
Emma is a recent graduate of Smith College with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. She was fascinated by Smith's printshop as soon as she saw it, and has been printing since 2015. In addition to letterpress printing, she enjoys playing traditional tunes on the fiddle and button accordion, writing letters, singing, knitting, and dismantling oppressive systems. One of her childhood nicknames was "the Project Queen", a title she carries proudly into adulthood.
All photography provided by Baron Collins-Hill
About the press
My press is a restored Craftsmen 5x8 platen press, made in Boston Mass. It was probably made sometime in the early 20th century, but I've had trouble finding specific details (if you are an expert on this, please get in touch!) I bought it in the first days of 2017. Being so small certainly means it has limitations, but it can do an impressive range of projects for such a little machine, and I adore it!
I learned how to set lead type in college, but because I don't own a house or a letterpress studio, I do most of my printing from polymer plates. I do have a small collection of antique lead and look forward to the day when I have more space and can do more work with cool old type!