I found an old fashioned print shop in Louisville, Kentucky this summer, something that I thought had gone out of style for quite a while now. I am very pleased to find out that like many art forms these days, the art of movable letterpress and wood block printing have had a revival called craft letter press. I love the use of typography and graphic images (I was a graphic design major in school) and much to my delight I've found that high quality art and letter press shops have reappeared producing fine editions of books or by printing upscale invitations and stationary, such as the Hound Dog Press in Louisville. The old printing presses, many of which were donated to the Hound Dog Press, the well worn type drawers, the intricately carved linoleum, wood blocks and the well designed graphic posters and cards (many of them sporting charming Kentucky motifs) make this artisian shop seem as if it has been around since it's heyday.
Hand printing with printing presses and movable type give the printed pieces a very crisp, fine look; good design, typography and special papers are key elements in this type of printing . Even though a certain vintage quality is achieved with old fashioned printing methods, the clean, graphic qualities also feel very modern at the same time.
Since 2004, the Hound Dog Press is owned and operated by by Nick Baute and Robert Ronk; they specialize in custom invitations and announcements, greeting cards, stationery, and designed posters. They are located in downtown Louisville at 309 East Market Street.
Wood block carving involves drawing a picture on a piece of art linoleum and carving out the details of the drawing with special carving tool; you then glue the linoleum onto a wooden base. After apply printing ink onto the carving with a soft roller, press the linoleum block onto a sheet of paper, a poster or a greeting card. Hand printing with linoleum blocks makes a great DIY craft project.