Dan Wood is the perfect example. After his time studying printmaking and fine art at RISD, Dan worked locally to hone his craft before ultimately building his own print shop just minutes from his old campus where he now teaches.
"Providence is and has been a lucky place, where things are always changing but remain affordable enough to be a community where you can set yourself up to do the thing you like to do."
The seemingly ancient technique of letterpress may look extremely antiquated to anyone unfamiliar with the process, but remains the best way to create such tangible impressions onto paper or other surfaces. The mechanized form of relief printmaking still relies on patient craftspeople and complex machinery.
You Can Do It Your Whole Life & There Is Still More And More To Learn.
After years of working in commercial print shops using the advanced, flat, offset technique of printing, Dan found himself drawn to the rigorous process and materiality created from older forms of printing.
Dan became interested in the analog print technique long after it declined as a feasible medium for production (in fact, his first letterpress machine had been sitting dormant for nearly 10 years before he purchased it) but his interest in the process, which is often visible in his own art, gave him the curiosity required to master the trade.
The machines used today don't stray too far from those originally created by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century. This means that not only is it a skill to be able to properly operate them but it also requires a great knowledge of how to repair them when necessary. Dan, along with production manager Lois Harada and Press Operator Hope Anderson, personally maintain and repairs all the machines in his shop, some of which date back to the 1920's hand-press, which is still being used nearly every day. However, since none of his machines are still in production, on the off chance he can't fix it himself he's left to either wait for the next visit from one of the very few traveling repairmen or pay to have them flown to the shop.
We love that the letterpress method offers a physical experience. We often sought to add texture in our print design work, but it wasn't until we worked with DWRI and first visited their shop that we truly appreciated the patient, meticulous labor that goes into creating high-quality letterpress prints.
We have since worked with DWRI on a series of print designs, including custom art books, architecture business cards, real estate marketing materials, city maps, and more. We've been able to coordinate adding unique printing techniques to projects within limited budgets. The feeling of holding a well-executed, physical version of our design is akin to first walking through a completed space we designed, and DWRI's level of execution is among the best we've experienced.
Detail Is Always The Goal, No Matter The Speed.