Handmade in O.C.: Painted Letter Press

Photograph by Sean Teegarden

It took Ali Del Rosso awhile before she found her niche. She  zigzagged between college majors, worked as a teacher, took hands-on courses in calligraphy, pottery, and printing, and traveled to Italy’s Museum of Paper and Watermarks. The 39-year-old Laguna Beach resident now uses an old-fashioned platen press to run her business, Painted Letter Press—her way of combining a love of art and the written word into beautiful cards and wedding invitations.

Tell us about Oscar.
He’s my Chandler & Price New Series platen press. He can show his cranky side at times, but with enough oil and a little coaxing, he runs as if he were in the prime of his life. Not bad considering he’s 92 years old and weighs 1,050 pounds.

How’d you get into letterpress?
I received the most exquisite letterpress invitation—simple type pressed deep into a velvety piece of paper—and I knew that one day I would design my own.

What appeals to you about the craft?
Letterpress is done by hand, so no two pieces are exactly alike. It’s a small way to express myself in the vast world of creatives.

What’s your studio like?
We converted an unused utility room in our home just for Oscar. Mounted behind him is a poster from the 2010 Pageant of the Masters: “Eat, Drink, and be Merry.” It’s a source of inspiration, because it was the year I married my husband and fell in love with letterpress.

Get In Touch!
Request samples and order prints at paintedletterpress.com.

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