BRUCE COLLIN PAULSON IS FORTRESS LETTERPRESS

keywords: sacred geometry, mysticism, the occult, dream states, timeless imagery

Bruce Collin Paulson was raised up in Clear Lake Wisconsin. After leaving Polk County, Bruce made his way to Portland Oregon where he lived on a few rooftops before settling down to attend Pacific Northwest College of Art where he received his BFA in Printmaking with a focus in Intaglio printing. Bruce has  been actively doing letterpress for four years in Portland. 

Bruce uses an old style 8x12 C & P Platen Press that was made in 1906, and is treadle powered. The methodical crusade of treadle flow from Bruce's foot to the machine allows for absolute kinetic control, so that each individual print flaunts its unique, handmade quality.   

Many of Bruce's designs are inspired by sacred geometry, mysticism, and the occult, all lending strong visual animation to the art that he creates. He is a gentleman capable of many tasks including but not restrained to: branding, invitations, business cards, letterheads and high fives. 

For more information please feel free to approach him in writing at:

bruce @ fortress letterpress . com

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Halley Roberts

 

photo by Halley Roberts

Process
Letterpress is a specialized kind of relief printing, in which ink is literally punched into paper leaving an indented impression of color. Back when letterpress was the chief process used in newsprint, for instance, this impression was avoided as much as possible because physical space was a commodity – a deep impression could render many square inches of printable space nearly useless. Since content-focused, large-scale print publications now use the much cheaper offset and digital print methods (if they use any print method at all), the so-called imperfections of letterpress are now more highly sought after by graphic designers, as many view this indentation as letterpress’ distinctive characteristic. Letterpress excels at type, line work, and patterns but not so much at photographic images or large fields of color (which can have a salty, mottled appearance)*. This gives letterpress a clean, simple, and modern aesthetic and makes it one of the only tactile methods of print – where one can not only appreciate the art with one’s eyes, but also with one’s hands. 

Aside from the press, Fortress Letterpress’ main tool is our hands. Fortress is run on a 1906 Chandler & Price 8x12 press. It is treadle-powered, which means it is powered by foot, not electricity. Paper is trimmed and ink is mixed by hand; each print is hand-fed into the press, one by one, for each side and each color; every card is hand-creased. I find great joy in being able to use my hands in all parts of the process. This process requires an incredible amount of skill and attention to detail from a printer, as well as an awareness of the intricacies of the machine. It also insures that each print is accounted for and meets the exceptionally high standards I have set for my work. As I also try to be cognizant about my impact on the environment, the house paper stock I use is produced via hydropower and I clean my press with only soy-based solvents. Presence of mind is the number one value for my creative work, my relationships with our clients, and a desire to keep the environmental footprint even smaller than my tiny studio.