Meet Printerette!

If you've ever ordered anything from Printerette Press, it's guaranteed that this gal has lovingly prepped, printed, cut and folded it. Molly is our print master around here and we couldn't get through our orders without her. She wiped the ink off her hands long enough for us to do a quick interview before immediately starting the press back up!


Give us your back ground (Where are you from/school/work/etc.)
I grew up in Kentucky and as a teenager spent most of my time making art, taking dance classes and going to basement punk shows. The flyers and gig posters for those shows always caught my eye, and I hoarded them to hang on my bedroom walls. 

I went to college at a giant midwestern university. I started taking art classes and soon found my way to graphic design. Everything kind of clicked for me in those early classes. I was introduced to letterpress as a sophomore, and was immediately hooked. It felt like letterpress was the perfect answer to a question I didn't realize I had been asking. I took an internship that summer at Hatch Show Print, and later worked as the print shop monitor at school. Come graduation I knew I wanted to keep printing, but as you might imagine there aren't many jobs in the field. It took some time but long story short I took my first full time job in letterpress in 2011, and have had a number of jobs in three states in the field since then. There's no going back now. 

Tell us about your typical day.
I usually arrive at Printerette by bike in the late morning. Most days I'll start by gathering up what I need to print - making plates, cutting paper, mixing ink. Then I'll throw on my apron and fire up the press. Setting the press up is the most time consuming part of the print process. Once the press is ready, the printing happens surprisingly fast.

We print mostly on a Heidelberg Windmill, which can do really amazing work, once you tell the machine what you'd like it to do. There's a few dozen little processes the printer has to go through to tell the machine about the size and thickness of your paper, the depth of impression, where on the paper your image needs to go, how much ink to dispense, and so on. We do this every time we go to print, one color at a time. The Windmill also has an airflow system which uses suckers to pick up your sheet of paper and little puffs of air here and there to separate one sheet of paper from the next... the devil, as they say, is in the details. 

After I'm finished printing for the day, I'll clean the press and essentially reset it for the next day. Then I may trim up some finished prints, add a score to some greeting cards, or even fire up our other press to do some foil stamping. Every day is a little different, which keeps things fun and interesting. 

What's your favorite project so far? 
I think it can be easy to go overboard with details on a project, especially since there are so many beautiful options to be had. To me, our most successful projects are the ones with just two or maybe three processes involved. One-color letterpress and foil, perhaps, or a blind emboss with a fun-colored envelope. Too many details and the end result looks overdone instead of simple and polished. I love Printerette's look - feminine and playful, modern, but not too over the top. I think it appeals to a lot of brides and grooms, for example, who are looking for something unique and personal.

If you weren't printing, what would you do?
That's tough! I love graphic design of course, and do some design work as a freelancer. It's hard being at a computer for too long, though. I enjoy creative problem solving, specifically when the project concludes with a beautiful end product. (Lots of jobs require problem solving of course, but I want to see something pretty at the finish!) I'm sure I would enjoy creating window displays for retail or maybe decorating baked goods. 

You just got your own press, what are you going to print up first?
My husband brews beer as a hobby. Our wedding was a few weeks ago, and he brewed up a storm all summer so that we could give beers away as favors. I printed the labels with a cheesy pun - after all, the only good pun is a bad pun. 

You're spending a beautiful day on your bike, where do you go?
I love riding down to Baker's Wife for donuts on a Saturday morning. Then I might meander along Minnehaha Creek, around Lake Nokomis or Lake Hiawatha, and then back over to Powderhorn in search of a yard sale. I use panniers (bike saddlebags) when I'm out, so I'm always prepared to carry more home than what I left the house with. 

What's your go to cocktail?
Recently I've been loving different riffs on the Spritz and the Negroni. I made my best Spritz to date recently using Cappeletti, Pinot Grigio, and apricot sparkling water. Perfection, especially when sipped on a porch with snacks. 

Any favorite thrift stores in town?
Yes... but do I dare reveal them? A few of my favorites are in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis - Arc's Value Village, Savers, Unique. It depends what I'm looking for. Smaller towns in rural Minnesota and Wisconsin have great ones too, specifically St. Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army. South Minneapolis has great vintage stores as well - Junket Tossed and Found, Corner Store Vintage, South Side Vintage... the list is long. Most of my wardrobe now is either vintage or thrifted - it's been a hobby (obsession) since I was about 15. 

What are you looking forward to this fall?
Well, I just got married in early October, and it was wonderful of course, but right now I'm just so glad to have some spare time again. Every November I attend a letterpress conference in Wisconsin, and it just gets better every year, so I'm very excited about that as well.  

How many tattoos do you have?
More in my head than on my body, of course. I'm thinking about a goldenrod flower for my next one. 

What bar trivia category can you destroy?
Proper names of punctuation marks, Italian foods, cocktails. There's never a 'letterpress printing' category, weirdly. 

Catherine PolacekComment