Slowly does it
WORDS Nikki Benatar
By paying homage to the golden era of handmade exquisitely crafted printing, Essie Letterpress is putting â€¨the cool back into stationery.
If you’ve ever held a letterpress print in your hands, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. This time-honoured printing tradition – outmoded in the 1950s by bigger and faster offset machines – punches a design into paper to create a debossed image with a rather special, old-worldly feel.
It’s a labour-intensive process, requiring patience and precision, which is what husband-and-wife team Ben and Vanessa Grib have in lorry-loads. “There’s no substitute for perfection,” says Ben, who handles the design side of the business, while Vanessa does the printing and runs the day-to-day affairs. All of this happens in a farm shed in Citrusdal, where the couple moved when they grew weary of city life about four years ago.
Designed and printed on a 1964 German proofing press, Essie’s graphic and nostalgic prints reflect the couple’s design philosophy: “The simpler, the better".
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