Written By Amanda Whitley
In late 2007, my then-colleague, Louise Redman, told me she was setting up a letterpress business. My blank look prompted her to say “oh, don’t get me started – I can talk about letterpress all day.” Fast forward a year or so and that passion has translated into a flourishing business for Louise and her husband, Adrian.
Louise says she was hooked from the moment she saw her first letterpress printed greeting card. “There’s just something fantastic about being able to feel the design and not just see it. Oh, and I just love paper. A little too much.”
Originally, prints were created using lead type, which was composed to form sentences, and then placed in the press to be inked and printed. These days a design can be created on the computer, and photopolymer plates produced to print from.
“It’s an amazing way of combining modern technology and antique machinery,” says Louise.
“Our designs are printed on 100% cotton paper, which is soft and pillowy – you can’t help but touch it, it’s just so luxurious and has a handmade feel to it. The colours are vibrant, the printing is crisp and clean, and the paper is almost like fabric. Each sheet is hand-fed into the press, so it’s a time-consuming but addictive art. It’s hard to believe that such old greasy machines can produce something so beautiful!”
“I’m lucky to have two large standing floor platens, one is 90 years old, the other is around 80,” says Louise.
“Along with the presses, I’ve had to find resources and suppliers of plates, paper and ink. Oh, and we’ve had to buy a new house and studio to accommodate the growing collection!”
The first project for the (rather disgustingly talented) husband and wife team was the creation of their own wedding stationery. And despite Louise once claiming she’d never work on wedding invitations she now finds them the most fun and rewarding jobs – just as well, since brides and grooms are lining up for Poppy’s personalised approach.
Louise says that times have changed with wedding invites – the once strict etiquette surrounding format, wording and the like is far more relaxed…and that really allows clients to express themselves.
With their first child on the way, it’s quite possible that Louise and Adrian will add a baby collection in the future – Louise admits she’s already thinking about her baby announcement cards. Until then, clients are only limited by their imagination as to what Poppy can produce. Keep them in mind next time you want something beautiful and unique!
To find out more, check out www.poppyletterpress.com.au or follow the studio happenings on the Poppy blog.