About Clinker Press

A message from Andre Chaves

Clinker Press is a private letterpress studio and I am interested in printing material relating to the art of printing as well as the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Within this focus I print subjects relating to art and literature. Although I do not do job printing, some special projects would be considered upon their own merits, as long as it falls within these parameters.

I print broadsides for many non-profit organizations for a nominal rate. I am interested in promoting letterpress printing and will help anyone interested if I can.

The shop is available for touring for educational purposes at no fee.

Clinker Press is a full letterpress shop with cold and hot metal type (Ludlow and Intertype), hand presses, cylinder presses (one Kluge and one Miehle Vertical press). I am equipped with photopolymer capabilities for illustration but magnesium plates are made elsewhere.

All books are printed letterpress and are of very limited editions. My involvement with the Press is limited; products are available only at Pasadena’s Craftsman Weekend, Grove Park in Arts and Crafts conference in Asheville, NC, and online. I have no store and no one represents Clinker Press. I have no employees and all work is done by me, except for a negative for the eventual photopolymer illustration.

Clinker Press was started in 1996, urged by Peter Hay, Carl Heinz and Helen Driscoll. Peter owned Book Alley, an antiquarian bookstore, and is an Oxford graduate who allowed me to use a small Kelsey press. Helen owned a paper store and now runs a very successful company called Invitesite. Carl teaches the History of design. We printed together and I provided the “garage” in a Greene and Greene house surrounded by ‘clinker bricks’. I first invested in a Chandler and Price platen and we started printing. Peter was the first to drop off, followed by Helen and then by Carl, although Carl continues to print on his own and Helen’s business is also about printing.

The name was derived not only from the clinker brick of the garage but also because clinker also implies something not very important and keeps things in perspective. I often remind visitors that printing is a trade and a craft; it is true that one may print artistically but the process is still ink and pressure.

Along the way I was helped by some great printers who have now passed away. Regis Graden was by far the most influential and also the one who taught me the most initially. He had the experience of both trade and fine printing. Muir Dawson inspired me perhaps more than taught me but his presence was a positive influence. Finally, Vance Gerry was a relatively close neighbor and although our contact was sporadic he was always very helpful with suggestion and corrections.

– Andre Chaves, 2007

Why Letterpress

Letterpress is the original method of printing from the time of Gutenberg.

It is the most palpable and direct method of transferring text and images to paper.

With letterpress one can use original type and cuts as well as environmentally sensible photopolymer plates with its water soluble substrate.

– Andre Chaves, 2011

Andre Chaves

Images of the studio

The art of letterpress printing is one that invites photography and illustration.

To that end, we present imagery by Simone Chaves, daughter of Andre and Ann.


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