Back in 1979, I got an MA in Photography and Graphic Design. The graphic design part of my degree had mostly to do with letterpress printing. I designed limited edition broadsides and books, set the type one letter at a time, and printed the final products on a letterpress proof press. I spent many late nights in Phil Hamilton's classroom pulling small editions, the fumes of type wash and acetone hovering in the air. It was during this era that I started the Yellow Bird Press. I also took a couple of calligraphy classes. I loved it all, but I ended up spending most of my time working on the photography part of my degree.
After graduation, though, I bought my own letterpress proof press and started a little business making personalized stationary, greeting cards, and invitations. I dragged that 650 pound Vandercook press from Madison to Milwaukee, and then to Kansas City before I was finally able to let that beloved old press go. I sold it to a graphic design major, so I know it continued to get a good workout and produce beautiful things.
When I started designing coasters a few years ago, I refused to use one of the hundreds (thousands?) of available fonts. Instead, I preferred to hand letter each of the Gloaster messages and phrases. Even once I discovered I could easily make my own font, I stuck with the time consuming, but gratifying practice of drawing each letter myself.