Eli G. Epstein’s love for the letterpress medium is evident as soon as one walks inside Union Press, a letterpress print shop and design studio in Somerville. Paints, palettes, and tools occupy space on a huge table, letterpress posters designed in-house adorn the walls and printing machinery occupies a giant corner in the premises. Letterpress is a unique style of printing in which paper is rolled on a bed of raised, inked type form. This process is used to make multiple copies of the same design. A fascinating process indeed.
Inside Union Press, one is immediately drawn to the creative vibes that this place exudes. After fielding a million questions by our group, Eli led us into a room where we peered through drawers full of old typefaces made of metal and wood. My visit was with a group of fellow Boston University students, and each of us got a chance to use the letterpress machine. The process was streamlined for us. We first cleaned the machine by turning a roller, applied color, adjusted the paper, and then turned the roller to apply color first, and then turned the roller back along again with the paper. While each of us took home the same design, we all felt a sense of excitement at having discovered a beautiful form of art. Learning any craft is a form of personal exploration. Learning a vintage craft is a privilege.
Note: Union Press will be participating in the upcoming Somerville Open Studios event.