Printing with lead type is a painstaking, highly specialized and ancient craft. Indeed it is a 550 year tradition in western culture whose antecedents travel even further back to Asia. I attempt, while keeping the skills and equipment of letterpress alive, to produce printed work of unequaled craft and beauty. The skills of mind, hand and eye combine to create unique custom printed ephemera ranging from fine wedding invitations to baby announcements, music packaging & posters to linen-thread stitch-bound chapbooks. Any job requiring eclectic or classic typographic treatment and first-class presswork would be a candidate for design & printing at interrobang.

My aim is to offer up the services of a small town "job printer" with the informed style of an urban artist craftsman. A post modern stationer's shop as it were. Small run, hand produced booklets, stationery, keepsakes & ephemera with more caché than Crane's (i.e. not pushed across a table in a 3-ring sample binder) and at a more reasonable price point. To mix metaphors with the fine tradition of hand-tailoring, all work is bespoke in the finest meaning of the term, with consultation and "fitting", production, and delivery of printing that fits you alone.

Metal foundry type is the material I most love to manipulate in order to design and produce my work. The realities of increasingly rare types and the ultimate convenience of the computer mean that interrobang harnesses the most powerful illustration and layout applications to, at minimum, design with an ability to present tight pre-press comps, or, take the job to plate and onto press.

It should be noted that, although my desire would be always to have creative control over design in the work I produce, there are numerous instances when I have collaborated with designers and art directors simply for the fine presswork I am able to deliver. I started my career "at the board" in some of the largest and smallest agencies in Boston. As a result, I can speak the language, but don't have to...

This is a small operation, and of necessity, my presses are the smallest once available to produce professional grade printing. If you are interested in larger format or longer run work, please feel free to browse the links section where you will find other brothers and sisters in the "black art" who might assist you in your quest for the best form of printing ever available.

be cool, be thoughtful, be here now, be sure to smile at babies

- why letterpress?

It musta been back in the fall of '85, I picked up a copy of Camper Van Beethoven's LP "Telephone Free Landslide Victory". It was printed on grey packing chipboard and was like no other record jacket I had seen or acquired in my days as nascent record collector scum. (Well... except maybe the first Buzzcock's LP in the PRODUCT bag.) Whatever the process was I responded to it. There was witty copy on a sticker on the back suggesting that it be purchased post haste lest one forever regret the rare opportunity to own such a fine disc. Plus the band did a cover of a Black Flag tune... I bought the disc and it remains in a hallowed place in my collection. There were only 1000 copies pressed by some guy in LA, name Bruce Licher at Independent Project Records & Press.

That was my introduction to letterpress though I didn't know it. It was a couple more years before I brushed up against the process again after college. I was living in Boston working my first job out of art school (BFA '86) doing paste up for 15K per annum in "the Boom Years". Yeah, good times... har. Uh, in any case, The Society of Printers' annual Dwiggins Lecture was to feature a talk by the nearly peerless Barry Moser about the latest wood engravings he had cut for, and book he had published at Pennyroyal Press, L. Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz". At lunch prior that day I strayed to the now defunct Harvard Bookstore Cafe at Newbury and Ex, having scraped together some book money. There, I purchased University of California Press trade editions of "Oz" as well as Pennyroyal's "Alice's Adventure in Wonderland", also sublimely illustrated by Moser. I was, and still am, fascinated by wood engravings and the skills required, but indeed equally by the layout and typography of primarily, the Alice. Elaborate Initial characters, expressive typography and marginal notes in second and calligraphy in third colors were shiny objects to my magpie eye. I went to the lecture in Rabb Hall and was totally turned on by Moser's work. The engravings for "Oz" were political satire, circa the Reagan Era. Ron was the Great and Powerful Oz, Nancy, yup the Wicked Witch. I stood in line back at HB Cafe, shook hands with, and expressed my admiration for, Mr. Moser's work. He signed both copies. He had spoken at the Hartford Art School whilst I was matriculated thereto, but, the stars not being aligned at the time, I missed his lecture. I did pick up one of the keepsakes printed by Harold McGrath that were left behind. A tenebristic engraving of a well worn tome below which lay a quote from uh,.. Erasmus... stating "when I have a little money, I buy books, if there's anything left, food and drink" or something to that effect. Seemed to make perfect sense (as my present library would attest)... So that, my second brush with letterpress, a more refined and crafted example than my first.

I don't really remember the chain of events, in what must have been 1988, that lead me to phone John Kristensen at Firefly Press. What snippets I recall dealt with John telling me about the Guild and not usually hooking non-Guild member up with equipment and such. I'm not sure if I had discovered the class at the Boston Center of Adult Edumacation. Amber, my girlfriend at the time planned a trip up to Wells, Maine to go book hunting since she knew I would never have enough books. Fun enough time, stayed in Ogunquit, ate clams this and lobster that when I still ate those sorts of things. Made my first really printing oriented book buys at... er... i don't remember. ANYway, the seminal "Printing Types - ..." by Updike and the "The Manual of Linotype Typography". That second title blew my mind. I don't think I had ever seen printing so beautiful. No; I know I hadn't and believe me, there's much more sublime work out there that I was wholly unaware of at the time. The UCP "Alice" was cool but this had Depth of Impression. (A few years later I was too intimidated by the Bromers' to turn the pages of a real Pennyroyal Alice. At $4k I was afraid to even look at the box it was housed in.)

The Letterpress Guild of New England. ...

more later