Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra recently took a trip to northern lower Michigan to explore the ties between art & community. One of her stops was Chad Pastotnik’s Deep Wood Press studio in Mancelona to learn about the centuries old art of letterpress:
The first you thing you notice about Chad Pastotnik’s studio is that â€“ minus Chad â€“ everything in it is old. It’s almost as though you’ve stepped back in time to the days of Gutenberg and his printing press.
“Yeah, this is not Kinko’s. It’s not even your ink jet,” jokes Pastotnik.
Hardly. This is hand set, letterpress printing. It’s a fine art that’s been around for 500 years and has recently undergone a kind of revival in the states. Book Arts graduate programs are popping up around the country and community art centers have started to offer letter press workshops. But none of that was around when Pastotnik was an undergrad getting his fine art degree in printmaking:
“At that point,” says Pastotnik, ” I didn’t even know about the fine book tradition. I’d seen fine books, but I wasn’t aware in the 80′s what this whole thing was about.”
…”Well,” he says, “I wanted words with my images and that was the way to go. You know, it’s magic. It’s alchemy in the works. It’s turning lead into gold.”