The Dark Arts & The Black Arts of Letterpress

For all of you Harry Potter Fans out there, you’ll be happy to know that the wizarding world has expanded with an 8th book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - where the story begins 19 years later. The reason we love the news of this continuing empire, is not only because we have our letterpressed,  J.K. Rowling inspired bookmark (GET IT  HERE) – but the fact that Harry ventures into the world of the magical, mystical and unknown world of the Dark Arts. As the book’s premise reads: “While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

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Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not casting any spells to create letterpress “magic” – and although we have some printer’s devils in the print shop – we’re certainly not conjuring any dark spirits like Mr. Potter. A printer’s devil is defined as “an apprentice in a printing establishment who performed a number of tasks, such as mixing tubs of ink and fetching type.” Hence the phrase “the devil is in the details.” However, letterpress got its name The Black Arts from the printer & printer’s devil often being stained by the black ink of the presses, hence the fitting title. Printing was such a bizarre process when it was first invented that it was often associated with devilry. This is the reason so many early printers had the reputation of being a little bit cooky, “off their rockers” per say, for experimenting with such unheard of forms of art. We can certainly attest to the cookiness, as we’re all guilty of having those days in the print shop. Although we’ve now got quite a few more ink colors to be stained with, us printers certainly never leave the work days without ink somewhere on our bodies. To learn more about the history of letterpress and all of our inspiration behind the historical forefathers of The Black Arts, visit our About Letterpress tab.


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