Interviews

Phoenix Print Studios Brings Letterpress, Community to Tempe

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See also: 9 Lessons Learned at Phoenix Design Week's Letterpress Workshop at Hazel & Violet Ink

"We are helping to keep the tradition alive, for sure, and now we're trying to build a community," Iverson says.

Intentionally or not, it seems like creating that sense of community is at the forefront of the letterpress world. Artists constantly collaborate, help each other on deadline, travel to visit each other's studios, and share tips about equipment and best practices.

Iverson tells a story about how when a tiny part in one of their eight presses broke a fellow printer sent the same part from his machine so she could take it to a machinist to recreate. But the part broke when Iverson's friend tried to remove it from his machine, so Iverson just had two new parts made.

This just seems to be the spirit of these printers, something not found in many other fields. But Iverson and Jones want to take that inclusive feel beyond professional printers and into their immediate community.

They have displayed a gallery of sorts in the entryway of their new space, showing some work of other printers they admire. They welcome people to stop by and take a look. Right now, it is a collaboration between Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary called The Dead Feminists. Iverson and Jones plan to switch out the pieces from time to time, often depending on who they have coming to lecture or teach classes, which they already have in the works.

While Phoenix Print Studio is their first joint venture, both printers have already had a long career in the art.

Iverson also owns Letterpress Central, which was previously housed in Chandler, and Paper Studio before that. She learned letterpress while earning her MFA in book and paper arts at Columbia College. In fact, Iverson makes much of the paper used at Phoenix Print Studios now, including that used for their business cards.

Jones says she was printing out of her garage for about 10 years before joining Iverson. But she has been a print graphic designer for about 40 years, picking up jobs here and there as she travelled around the South with her husband before landing in Phoenix in the early '80s.

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Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter