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A Visit from the Boys & Girls Club

by Kate Saliba

Last Thursday, the art class from the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston came over for a tour and printing demonstration. From the moment they walked through the door, their grade-school excitement permeated the entire studio. They looked around with wide eyes, and I could tell they were immediately intrigued with the sight, smells, and sounds of this place. As we moved through the tour (which included a hopscotch detour, of course) their questions and comments suggested that they were beginning to grasp the concepts of production, inventory, and fulfillment. Needless to say, they are all fun-loving and bright kids, and it was great to witness their enthusiasm for Smudge Ink.

The printing demonstration was the highlight of the afternoon. Emily had set up the Vandercook so they could take turns printing a Smudge Ink Valentine’s card set. The children loved cranking the press and learning how the ink is pressed into the paper. They were so enthralled that they kept asking to print again and again, and with each passing roll of the cylinder they became more adept at positioning the paper and cranking the press in just the right way. To bring the process full circle, they took home the Valentines they printed to use for friends and family. They were beyond thrilled!

While they were printing on the Vandercook, Margaret was printing on Heidi, one of our Heidelbergs, and the kids quickly gravitated towards the rhythmic hissing of this press in action. Not only were they in awe of how she functions (cards are fed by air suction), they were equally obsessed with every single make ready she’s ever produced (make readies are pieces of paper used to make the press ready for printing, thus the name).

This visit was such a joy for us, and we were so happy to share our love of letterpress printing with children in the community. Thanks to the Boys & Girls Club art class who trekked over Bunker Hill on a cold winter afternoon. Happy Valentine's Day!

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