Letterpress is a “relief” printing process. This means that the printing surface is raised to accept ink, and then pressed directly onto the paper to create a reproduction of the image. The raised surface can be anything that fits into the press. Movable type, carved wooden blocks, or photopolymer plates (what we use). These plates can faithfully reproduce digital artwork in high detail, which gives us the versatility to use whatever fonts we want. Photopolymer plates are also made of a very strong material that can easily resist the tons of force that are applied by letterpress presses. In fact, these plates are stronger than movable type, and less prone to damage when pressed with enough force to imprint deeply into paper.
These plates are what make the modern and now iconic “deep letterpress impression” possible. When combined with soft cotton paper, photopolymer plates allowed the newer generation of artists to print beautiful, tactile stationery, invitations, and art prints, with a signature deep impression that is only possible with letterpress printing.
Reb Peters Press is run by Rebecca Peters whose background is in fine art and printmaking. She started studying printmaking in 1998 and got her degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2001, Rebecca started working as an intaglio printer, helping to edition works of art for a handful of fine artists.
In 2009, she opened Reb Peters Press with one 10x15 Chandler and Price press. She absolutely loves this life of designing, printing, and working with a variety of people in Portland, Oregon and across the county.
When not printing, she's rock climbing, reading, swing dancing, eating sushi, and goofing off.
Write us to make an appointment if you'd like to stop by and visit the shop in NE Portland.
Letterpress was once a method for mass production that met its demise due to its slow and time-consuming nature, but has been reborn and allowed to gain new respect for its very special qualities. Because of it’s need for hands-on skill, it’s connection to the past, and its unmistakable tactile impression, much of the surviving letterpress equipment is in the hands of people who cherish the machines and process. These craftsmen and women are keeping them well-loved and well-oiled, carrying on Gutenberg’s printing tradition in new and interesting ways.
In you're interested in learning more about the process, please write us about signing up for a workshop. You can see details about cost and what we do during the class on the workshop page. We'd love show you how this all works and give you a fun, hands-on learning experience.