We all stayed pretty busy this summer... Brady's taxidermy collecting, Matt's do-it-himself kitchen renovations, Lindsay opening her (and our) dream shop, Little Freshie, Katie and Fredrick's half-cross-country travels, Debbie's Texas engagement, Jenn's first camping trip ever, Bobby's move here from Ohio, Britta's puppy dog adoption, and our Hammerpress + Little Freshie pot luck/late night charades,... yes, in between all that, we made some pretty great things! Here's a glimpse into our summer happenings. No pics of late night charades though.
around 1988, I stumbled across an original pressing of Joy Division's
"Still" at Rainbow Records in Oklahoma City. It was an
expensive record at the time - 20 bucks or so, and that's not
including the extra cost of bounced check fees (the effect of paying
more attention to the details of albums than the details of my
account balance). I was far from a Joy Division fan back then, but
this record jumped out at me amongst whatever other late 80's punk,
new wave, early grunge stuff that I was probably thumbing through. I
was immediately drawn to the construction of this record - double
gatefold, made of this crazy-heavy-weight, industrial, grey paper
stock - and I've cherished it since.
Joy Division "Still"
Our First Project We printed our first official Hammerpress project
in 1994. The band Giants Chair was releasing their first album on
Caulfield Records out of Lincoln, Nebraska. I was roommates with
these guys, and like many other early Hammerpress projects, it just
kind of happened into a project while I was studying print making at
the Kansas City Arts Institute. The job was to design and print 1,000
each CD & LP packages for their 1995 release "Red & Clear". I don't remember the budget, but it was
probably much less than the cost of the end result. It was more a
labor of love and friendship than an actual money-paying job. Giants
Chair's guitar player and singer, Scott Hobart (aka Rex Hobart & Misery Boys)
designed the cover. The design was in line with the overall minimal
design aesthetic of the band.
is where the Joy Division record comes in. I don't know how many
miles I drove around Kansas City, or how many different paper
suppliers I visited with this Joy Division's “Still” in hand,
asking if they had paper like this. It was a quest and no one knew
what the hell I was talking about. They showed me grey paper, but
really lame, light-weight office paper. Should we just settle for
this crap? No, and the quest and driving continued continued.
Finally, we found some scary warehouse in the West Bottoms district
that recycled paper and resold it as industrial grade boards, known
as "converting”. This was it! Much closer to the style of
paper we were searching for. Back then, there was no “keyword
search” or Google to help us out. There was the yellow pages and a
Well we never found the
paper, but something close enough, and we learned our way around
Kansas City at the
same time. And almost 19 years later we still buy paper from those
we sourced the paper, we had to figure out what the hell a die was,
and who makes them? A whole new quest ensued. After much more driving
and calling, we found a die-maker and sourced this piece to cut out
the shape of the LP package.
we finally sourced the paper and die, we were ready to print. The
first layer was silver – hand silk screened in order to handle that
big of a flood, and the silk screen ink was much shinier than other
options. We wanted shiny.
completed the printing on a Chandler & Price press that did not
have a treadle, which meant we needed plenty of extra hands to crank
the fly wheel to keep the press running into the wee hours of the
night. This required at least two people - one to crank the fly
wheel, and one to hand feed. We printed a total of 1000 LP jackets
and 1000 CD jackets this way, each piece having at least 3 passes
through the press.
couple weeks later, the sleeves were printed, assembled and shipped
to the label. We were all a little creaky from cranking the fly
wheel, but we had completely done this by hand, and it was beautiful
and satisfying, and felt like we had done something real. This is
still one of my favorite projects that we have done. This is still a great record, and holds a fairly legendary status both in
Kansas City and beyond as once of the best post-punk/math rock
releases of it's era.