RESTORED: Wayne Davis, owner of Artisan Press with one of his lovingly maintained letterpress machines.
RESTORED: Wayne Davis, owner of Artisan Press with one of his lovingly maintained letterpress machines. Christian Morrow

Printing from a bygone era

FOR Wayne Davis, owner of The Artisan Press at Byron Bay, his carefully restored letterpress printing presses are like finely-tuned musical instruments.

"The idea is to work magic between the ink, printing plate, paper and the design," Mr Davis said.

"Knowing your machine is very important; you can tell by the sound of the presses whether they are going well."

Letterpress is relief printing where the type and design are locked into the bed of a press, ink is applied and it is rolled or pressed onto paper.

Invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century, it remained in use until the second half of the 20th century.

Fine letterpress work is crisper than other modern forms of printing because of its impression into the paper, giving greater visual definition to the type and artwork.

Mr Davis established The Artisan Press in 1999 in Sydney and relocated to Byron Bay in 2009.

It's one of the few trades-qualified letterpress dedicated print studios in Australia.

Mr Davis dedication to fine design and printing were recently rewarded at the 2012 NSW Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards with The Artisan Press taking out a Silver Award in the Limited Edition category for a letterpress printed wedding stationery set.

They were also highly commended in the General Category at the Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia Printovation Awards in September.

"We specialise in bespoke work for very short-run work for statement printing," said Mr Davis.

"People know there is something special about a letterpress printed page object."

The Artisan Press - 6680 7579.



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