Pressed into Service

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Matthew Swanson

If you have been paying a shred of attention, you’ll know that we are in the midst of a torrid fling with a 1,200lb Chandler and Price, en route to a brand new venture into letterpress. The new press is called Haywire, and its grand opening is tomorrow, October 25, from 10:00am-5:00 pm at the barn on South Queen Street.

You will notice that there are three people in the photograph below. In a stunning breach of ten years of working as a two-for-all, Robbi and I have recently added the wise and talented Jodi Bortz into the fold. She is the heart and soul of Haywire. We come up with the pictures and words, but she does the real work, the actual printing.

In the Studio
Jodi’s dad was a printer, and until walking into the barn a few months ago, Jodi had no idea that she had inherited the family gift. But the woman is a natural printer, a virtuoso. As beautiful as this old press may be, she is a temperamental creature with many creaks and idiosyncrasies. But Jodi is the press whisperer, knowing just how to ink the disk, just how to register the plate, just how much padding to stack behind the tympan.

E7xGJ6LU4L7ccv2gMtb3AU3BVhDAcRgBvaCc5m1SvBc,fej2S_KEPoBXT5OrbFG0vt3QzDbJj3lq0kewpibVmWI,jNIvW_rzl_mAxXCaJiMs5dwJnxf3nPEOXGd8J4v-egcWithout Jodi, there would be no Haywire. Which means, there would be no Animals Uncensored cards.

DSC00029And I will say, with some immodesty, that they make the world a better place.

DSC00174If not a more colorful one.

DSC00232Haywire aims to say that which needs to be said but is so often left unspoken.

DSC00215But lest you worry that Haywire is nothing but a potty-mouthed affair, know that we offer sweeter stuff as well. Such as our Baby is Disappointing card set.

DSC00284And our “White Christmas” holiday card, which celebrates the letterpress-only allure of blind emboss.

DSC00254And our custom stationery sets. We will be launching with four concepts (the others involve golf, inkwells, and lunatic donkeys), but will be taking orders for bespoke designs.

DSC00350There is also room in the Haywire oeuvre for Robbi’s brand of weirdly adorable (or is it adorably weird?) line art.

0LX937qM3m1CjRhg1x9buZvLLoCmfCG-28PK-lprs7g,oJMMGoixhGijxgD2tdQEYXVEYh4DDNZgf3qveky1-8c,uS1LLHumKUo0M2zLibi22yr8r35XnvEhASKHet3BhQwAll of which is inestimably elevated by that gorgeous emboss of the press.

DSC00311My favorite design is certainly this ass-kicking ninja. I’m pretty sure Robbi modeled him after me.

DSC00298I’m talking about the donkey, of course.

How does all this make us feel? This picture speaks 10,000 words.

b26-Ih5EnTmQcMvIu2CmdgYVJ05UBiWQkA58gABPNZw,hU63t6QMyMN7VqG3W7FGsq_uS1kXOw_QYeyc3uAAT98So, please, please, please, if you are free, come see us this weekend. We’re so excited to finally share our stuff in the flesh. As lovely as letterpress looks in a photo, there’s nothing like running your finger across it and enjoying the tactile pleasure that can only be achieved from this ultimate labor of love.

And if you live in, say, California (just out of range, we’ll admit), know that the Haywire site will launch as soon as we can enter all the products and work out the bugs. Not much longer now, we promise.

For now, Jodi continues to print, Robbi continues to stay up all night tinkering, and I continue to marvel at these two remarkable women I’m lucky enough to get to work alongside every day. Occasionally, I throw them bits of language, which inevitably finds a deserving home.

Just look how my words get to spend their days.

D9nzn5cfMbjq8zLC1di3tC_a4NlODSd5yYrgQv55-1E,YsmqK_u9_RxiHDarPk9NkfkFGEbPYMlVGMRrrpkNAFY,gJD5y1aPw3Pk4FIz8UlpnDy9ujU0ApH8wmOnAQEtKLUI ask you, has a writer ever been so lucky?

Come see us this weekend or next:

Oct 25-26; Nov 1-2

10:00am – 5:00pm all four days

100 South Queen Street
Chestertown, MD 21620

Posted in Haywire Letterpress


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