Parsons typeface

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Over the last few weeks I’ve had a couple of people ask me for a business card but, alas, I guess I didn’t think I needed one until people started asking. Rather than have business cards printed the modern way, I decided to print my own on my Kelsey Excelsior Platen Press. I chose the same card stock that I use to print my greeting cards (118 lb 100% cotton paper) and blue ink because, well, blue is my favourite colour. I also used both Garamond Open and Parsons typeface. Here are the results: simple, but full of texture, which is what I love about letterpress.

Pebbles & Buttons Editing & Letterpress Business CardPebbles & Buttons Editing & Letterpress Business CardsPebbles & Buttons Editing & Letterpress Business Cards


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Dots & Loops Handmade storefront window. Picture retrieved from Dots & Loops Handmade Facebook Page’m not native to Nova Scotia so it was only about four years ago that I first set foot in Lunenburg and was blown away by its beauty. I had already lived in Halifax for about four years but had never really had the opportunity to venture past the city limits to explore other parts of the province. Now Lunenburg, with its beautiful waters, quaint shops, and The Knot Pub (which looks like something straight out of Harry Potter) where you can get the best club sandwich and a real Caesar salad (real because it’s made in the traditional way), is one of my favourite places to visit. With my lack of a vehicle, however, I’m sad to say that I don’t get to visit Lunenburg as often as I would like. But, even though I haven’t been to Lunenburg in a while, a little piece of my heart and soul now resides there in the form of my letterpress cards.

Dots & Loops Handmade, a cute little boutique that specializes in hand-crafted items from crafters and artists in Nova Scotia and around the world, now carries the following letterpress and watercolour painted cards made by yours truly.

"Happy Birthday" letterpress card with watercolour painted accents“Happy Birthday” letterpress card with watercolour painted accents. Printed with 12 pt. Parsons lead type and a metal cut.

"Hang in There" letterpress card with watercolour painted accents“Hang in There” letterpress card with watercolour painted accents. Printed with 18 pt. Garamond Open lead type and a metal cut.

Tall Ship / Schooner letterpress and watercolour painted cardTall Ship / Schooner letterpress and watercolour painted card. Printed with a metal cut.

I’m very happy to be working with Dots & Loops, supporting local small businesses and artists, and hope I can get up to visit them in person very soon (and maybe grab a club sandwich while I’m there).

For more information about Dots & Loops and to see some of their wares, visit the Dots & Loops Handmade Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter @DotsLoopsShop. The above cards are also available at Carbonstok in Halifax and in my Pebbles & Buttons Etsy Store.

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After Mother’s Day — once I saw how popular my Mother’s Day cards were with friends and family — I decided it was time to start taking my letterpress printing a little more seriously. I’ve been selling my letterpress cards to friends and on Etsy for quite some time now, but for the last couple of months I’ve been itching to approach a few retail stores with the intention of selling my prints on consignment. I didn’t, though — I was too afraid to take the leap. I’m still learning, I kept telling myself. I’m still making mistakes. But, even so, my prints are improving all of the time. I may not have a degree in graphic design or ten years or more of printing experience behind me like many letterpress artists who sell their prints, but the quality of my prints are getting better with each design I set. Any day now I’ll start contacting businesses, I kept telling myself. But I didn’t.

Then the owner of Carbonstok on Barrington Street saw my blog post about the Letterpress Gang Wayzgoose and asked to see some of my own prints. To my surprise he wanted to put them in his store. I love going into Carbonstok and seeing the unique and interesting products they carry — I never imagined they would want to sell something that I made. This news gave me the courage I needed to contact some other businesses in the area.

My plan is to eventually place cards and/or prints of different designs in different stores around the Halifax Regional Municipality. I already have a store lined up in Bedford and another on Spring Garden Road — I’ll announce which stores soon — but I need to print more stock first! So printing is how I spent a good chunk of my Victoria Day long weekend. Here are some of my recent prints:

Father's Day Letterpress Card: Dad, books gave me knowledge but you taught me wisdomThis is the first Father’s Day card I printed and it’s one of my favourite prints. The curly-haired child kneeling in front of a bookshelf is just too sweet for words. I printed the graphic with a magnesium cut and the typeface is Parsons.

Father's Day Letterpress Card: DadI also wanted to print a simple Father’s Day card using assorted wood type and a nice “masculine” green colour.

Congratulations Wedding Letterpress CardMy purpose for printing this congratulatory design was purely selfish: I had to attend a wedding and I didn’t want to have to buy a card! But I think it turned out well. I’m rather fond of the Parsons typeface because it includes some alternate upper case letters with exaggerated serifs (such as the A and T as seen above).

Let's Make Beautiful Music Together Letterpress CardThis card is actually a reprint of a design I made for Valentine’s Day. I was sold out and so decided to print more with a different typeface (Parsons instead of Bodoni) and on a thicker cardstock. I’m quite pleased with the result.

Thank You Letterpress Card in Red and BlackA “Thank You” letterpress card in red with black scrolls and…

Thank You Letterpress Card in Blue and Black… in blue with black scrolls. The typeface is Wedding Text.

Thank You Letterpress Card Corner ScrollA close-up of a corner scroll, printed with a magnesium cut.

Tall Ship Letterpress & Watercolour CardThis last card is my most recent print. I used a magnesium cut to print the ship and waves in black. I then painted the image using watercolours. I only made a couple of these as an experiment to see if I can incorporate watercolours into some of my letterpress prints. I think the experiment was a success! I’m torn, however, as to whether or not I should paint the top sail — mainly because I’m not sure if the top sail is even open or if the lines just denote the rigging. I think I’ll paint one and see how it looks before printing more and putting them up for… sail (yes, pun intended).

In addition to the two local stores I’ll be placing cards in soon, I’ve also been talking with a couple of other businesses in and outside of Halifax who may take on some of my designs in the future. For now, however, you can see some of my prints at Carbonstok, on my Etsy Store, and on my Pebbles & Buttons Facebook Page.

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Mother’s Day snuck up on me this year, so much so that I didn’t start printing Mother’s Day cards for the special mothers in my life until only one week ago. I am, however, quite pleased with how they turned out and I hope their recipients feel the same.

The first Mother’s Day card I printed (below) was made with 12 pt. Parsons lead type and a magnesium cut. I hand-inked the cut with yellow and green in order to print both colours at the same time.

"For Mom" letterpress Mother's Day (or just because) card with daffodils"For Mom" letterpress Mother's Day (or just because) card with daffodils"For Mom" letterpress Mother's Day (or just because) card with daffodils"For Mom" letterpress Mother's Day (or just because) card with daffodilsOn the card below, I printed the pink first with assorted wood type and then layered a definition of “mother” over top in black ink with a mix of 12 pt. Parsons and 12 pt. Bodoni lead type:

The Definition of "Mother" letterpress CardThe Definition of "Mother" letterpress CardThe Definition of "Mother" letterpress CardAlthough it’s now a little late for Mother’s Day, if you’re looking to show your mom you love her “just because” or want to get an early start on next year, these cards are available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

I also decided to make the special mothers in my life some origami flowers because they are everlasting, just like a mother’s love.

Hand-made Origami Flowers"For Mom" letterpress card and origami flowersHand-made Origami Flowers

"For Mom" letterpress card and origami flowers

It’s unfortunate that mothers only have one day each year on which they are celebrated for their dedication, hard work, and love. On behalf of children everywhere, I say thank you. I wish all mothers, and especially my own, a very happy Mother’s Day.

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