The Itinerant Printer visited letterpress print shops across America throughout 2015-2017, producing unique prints at each venue culled from their idiosyncratic collections of wood type, metal type, cuts, ornaments, and polymer plates. Those prints were mailed back to followers and supporters of the project as postcards (and care packages) from the road.
The project intended to capture the spirit of the analog revival, send real samples of it into people’s mailboxes, and convey the ethos of the handmade to a broader audience via social media, and as a culmination, resulted in a coffee table book that features photos all of the people, prints, and places from the adventure.
It was also about reviving that sense of adventure in printing, along with the analog sharing of information. It was about going out into the world, seeking work based on your skill set, making something with your hands, and delivering that object to someone. It was about an exchange of ideas, of techniques, of information, of style, and of the consummation of all those things: prints.
Chris Fritton is The Itinerant Printer – check out his full bio here.
For more on the history of Tramp Printers, check out the info here, or just peruse this poem by Robert W. Service:
A Race of Men
There’s a race of men, that don’t fit in
A race that can’t sit still.
So they break the hearts of kith and kin
And roam the world at will.
They range the field and rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far –
They are strong, and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of things that are
And they want the strange and new.
They say, ‘Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make.’
So they keep on going and each new move
Is only a fresh mistake.
– Robert W. Service