Sunday, October 18, 2009

River Rock Press Broadsides

Well, I am turning forty this year so for my mid-life crisis, I elected not to buy the El Camino to “soup-up” in my garage or to start training for an Iron Man triathalon but to invest in a small reconstituted letterpress from Don Black Linecasting. Perhaps not as macho as the first options, but infinitely more practical.

Here are a few pictures of my Kelsey Excelsior 6 x10 and a broadside of a poem I wrote and printed on it called “The Old Life”. I’m not using hard type because it is too expensive and I do not have the space in my house for a large letterpress shop. I’ve opted instead to go with the photopolymer plate-making services of Boxcar Press. I bought a Boxcar Base that fits easily in my Kelsey’s chase and it has allowed me to design my broadsides using Quark without limiting me to fonts, font sizes, or spot illustrations. As I am not planning to do a lot of printing, this was easily the best option for me as the photopolymer plates ink beautifully!

Sorry about the picture quality but I still need to run out and get a tripod. Broadside projects looming on the horizon include poems by Adam Getty, Carleton Wilson and Paul Vermeersch. I also plan to hit up Todd Boss and Al Moritz for a broadside if they are game.

Chris Banks, our hero and co-proprietor of River Rock Press, printing up broadsides in the basement.

"The Old Life" A hand-printed broadside by Chris Banks (4.5 in. h x 8.5 in. w) in a limited-edition of 50 copies.


  1. Hurrah!
    anyone who is moving into the wonderful world of the letterpress must be great. I wish I have the money/commitment, but time will tell....

  2. You are right Ross. It is an expensive hobby but it is also a lot of fun.

  3. It's always great when a fine poet acquires a fine letterpress! Looking forward to hearing more about your projects.

  4. Thanks Brenda! It is still a fairly new enterprise for me and I have to find time for it around family, writing and work but it is a great hobby.

  5. Great pictures, Chris! Can't wait to see "The Old Life" broadside. As a matter of fact wouldn't mind a copy (Christmas is coming. See you soon.