Introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Rachel Robinson, I’m a stationery designer and a letterpress printer. Robinson Press was founded in 2010 as a custom design and print shop dedicated to creating timeless pieces to announce and commemorate life’s most special occasions.
Can you describe your studio?
My studio is not neat–books of paper samples, ribbon swatches and Pantone books are never where they’re supposed to be. My bookshelf is overstuffed with books of botanical prints and antique typography samples, and there are three shelves with wedding invitation jobs in progress. My Chandler and Price Platen Press is downstairs from the office, and hangs out with an antique challenge paper cutter. They’re both cast iron monsters that laugh at me when I try clumsily to make them do their jobs.
What’s your creative process, how do you find inspiration?
I love designing invitations for weddings the most, each couple comes to me with a dream in mind of how they will announce their wedding, but no idea how to make that dream a reality on paper. I love to look through old books and prints and wallpaper patterns for that perfect motif or monogram or tree etching that feels like the right spark on which to base the rest of the design.
Can you explain your printing process?
My designs are done in Illustrator and then polymer plates are made for each color of the design from the digital files. Once the plates arrive from the plate maker, each ink color must be mixed by hand and then the press is inked up and ready to go. Aligning the plate to the paper, and getting the impression pressure just right takes almost as much time as doing a run of 100 pieces–it’s a finicky business.
Anything you’d like to add about the importance of buying handmade?
Handmade goods are pieces of art in their own right. The taste, skill and passion of the person making these goods become part of the finished piece, they are that intangible quality that makes an object come to life. Buying handmade helps to keep craftsmanship alive, helps to keep the knowledge flowing from one generation to the next, and gives us all hope that the goods of today and the future don’t have to be bland, common and lifeless.
Guilty pleasure you’d like to share?