“There was a potential threat of NSCAD surrendering our type library and our equipment to another institution,” explains graphic designer, NSCAD grad and Letterpress Gang member Katie Tower. “It was getting used but there wasn’t really enough classes to make it useable by a lot of people.”
The Letterpress Gang first met in the fall of 2009 to protect this equipment, this collection of type---sometimes known as the Dawson Print Shop---to promote it and to ensure it will continue being used. The assembly consists of former and current NSCAD students as well as instructors, including Joe Landry and Barbara Lounder, though Tower suggests the group is autonomous, without a lot of structure. “Everyone’s just a member at this point” and membership is open to everyone.
The Letterpress Gang has earned grants from the city and for Nocturne, and to bring Alabaman letterpress printer Amos Paul Kennedy to town to speak. “Everything we do, the gang itself, is all volunteer.”
You can follow the activities of the Letterpress Gang on Twitter at lpghfx, or meet with the group on Mondays at 6pm at the Dawson Print Shop at the Granville Street NSCAD campus. In the works is an artist-in-residency with Eyelevel Gallery and a Christmas sale, which should allow more people to take home the creative results of these hardy and timeless print tools.