Show and tell: The Weekend Press

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A few weeks ago I was invited along with my letterpress to a celebration in the East Bay. The occasion was both an open house for The Weekend Press and the start of their Oakland Illustrated Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is a collaboration between Oakland Illustrators to create unique Oakland inspired art with the added benefit of helping fund the newly christened graphic design and letterpress shop. 

It should be noted that as I publish this there are just 4 days left in the campaign. I'm happy to say they've met their goals but partaking in funding the Kickstarter is the best way you can purchase these prints. So check them out!

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Jenny Pan and Peter Pham are the graphic designers who have been giving up their weekends and more to create The Weekend Press.

Jenny Pan and Peter Pham are the graphic designers who have been giving up their weekends and more to create The Weekend Press.

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The prints on display looked great but they are actually only the beginning of the printing process. After seeing how the art was producing the files will be tweaked to produce even better prints. I loved that there was no glass covering the prints. You could really get in and see the details. (Forgive my images and lack of closeups as I only had my phone to shoot with that day). 

They've got a pretty big collection of business cards they've printed showcasing different printing techniques.

They've got a pretty big collection of business cards they've printed showcasing different printing techniques.

The Weekend Press is two floors with the upper being the production office. While taking myself on a self guided tour I was happy to find a nice display of all the elements that go into the printing process of the Oakland Illustrated prints.

A file is outputted to film. 

A file is outputted to film. 

The film is used to expose a polymer plate. The polymer that is exposed hardens and becomes the printing image after the excess polymer is washed away.

The film is used to expose a polymer plate. The polymer that is exposed hardens and becomes the printing image after the excess polymer is washed away.

A different plate is used for each color that needs to be printed. This shows the three seperations needed to create one final print.

A different plate is used for each color that needs to be printed. This shows the three seperations needed to create one final print.

The end results of all three plates combined.

The end results of all three plates combined.

So why was I there with my letterpress? 

A high end letterpress shop uses machinery too loud and dangerous for showing off during soirées. Peter and Jenny wanted to show their guests the basic concepts of letterpress printing along with folks being able to try it out themselves. I have a table top printing press which is far friendlier for the uninitiated. Everything is done by hand. You load each piece of paper and pull the lever to make each print. I helped guests print a souvenir coaster. 

My letterpress and I. Notice I was randomly wearing polka dots on a blue shirt just like Jenny. And we were not alone. Polka dots were the unintended dress code amongst the ladies that night.

My letterpress and I. Notice I was randomly wearing polka dots on a blue shirt just like Jenny. And we were not alone. Polka dots were the unintended dress code amongst the ladies that night.

The black plate was fist printed on a Heidelberg Windmill press and then my press added the big one.

The black plate was fist printed on a Heidelberg Windmill press and then my press added the big one.

Jenny printing.

Jenny printing.

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When I first walked into the light filled Weekend Press it took me a moment to actually see my press. It was so dwarfed by the size of the other machinery in the shop. To give a little perspective in the image above you can see a third of their Windmill printing press on the right.

And now some gratuitous pics of their presses.

The workhorse press is a Heidelberg Windmill.

The workhorse press is a Heidelberg Windmill.

You can see the coaster die used for the souvenirs.

You can see the coaster die used for the souvenirs.

Self inking rollers for when the press is not die-cutting.

Self inking rollers for when the press is not die-cutting.

Their Kluge is dedicate to foil stamping. I'll be looking to find a reason to take advantage of this.

Their Kluge is dedicate to foil stamping. I'll be looking to find a reason to take advantage of this.