The Art of Letterpress Returns at Milestone Press

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The centuries old technique of letterpress printing is now being used to create exclusive invitations, announcements and social stationary. Founder of Milestone press, John Stacey, is happy to be part of the renaissance.

Keep your eyes open and you're likely to spot the hottest trend in printed invitations, greeting cards and social stationary popping up in your local boutiques. It's called letterpress printing and it's growing by leaps and bounds. What's all the excitement about? "Ask most people what letterpress printing is, and most likely you'll be met with a puzzled look," says John Stacey, founder of Milestone Press, a specialty letterpress studio in the southern tier of New York. His company is part of the renaissance of this centuries old process.

He goes on to explain, "This was the printing method of choice for over 550 years. There were a lot of advances during that time but the basic process remained unchanged. The raised image was inked, the paper was pressed against it and voila, you had your printed page."

With the invention of photography and computers, letterpress was quickly tossed aside in favor of offset and digital printing that most of us are familiar with today. Centuries of these letterpress machines, lucky enough not to be scrapped, were pushed aside into the dusty corners of print shops all over the world. Then, according to Stacey, "Something wonderfully strange happened. Many artists began discovering these machines and a new art form emerged. If we use extra thick cotton printmaking papers in these old machines, and adjust the pressure, we can produce a print that is visibly pressed deep into the paper. This was not the intended use of these presses, but the result is a three dimensional impression that is crisp and the colors can range from intensely deep to a subtle pale wash."

People are craving something different and Milestone Press is happy to turn social stationary into works of art that stand out as something special. When you hold their product, whether it's a business card or an invitation, it commands attention and there is no question it's quality printing. Stacey's company has produced invitations for occasions such as weddings, art gallery openings and many private celebrations.

Stacey, educated at RIT, known internationally as the Mecca of printing technology & graphic arts, couldn't be happier to see the renewed interest in letterpress, as it has been his life long passion. Collecting letterpress equipment is not the easiest thing in the world. Most pieces weigh thousands of pounds and have to be moved around with a forklift. "There are literally thousands of small pieces and tools needed to make it all work. As well as being an artist you have to be a mechanic to keep everything in working condition," Stacey says.

Milestone press is proud to announce their new web site at

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