Made In Maui County Festival

Aloha Letterpress: Hawaii Stationery Inspired by the Islands

October 3, 2019

Linda Coleon of Aloha Letterpress, whose Hawaii-made stationery, invitations and greeting cards are printed by using antique printing presses, shares her inspiration for her business, her printing methods, eye-catching products, and what it means to live aloha.

Living in Hawaii, our beautiful environment from sea to land, flowers, plants, and culture are often a source of inspiration for my designs. My letterpress printed stationery also includes many other botanical designs for I am drawn to the beauty of the diverse flora and fauna that surrounds us.

With letterpress printing, a printer may use the traditional method or use a base with photopolymer dies. With the traditional method, I fit the type and die cuts into a chase (metal frame) with wooden furniture, making sure that the type and dies are securely fitted into the chase. The ink is prepared and placed on the press ink plate and rollers. Test prints and adjustments are made as needed. This can be the most time-consuming part of printing because of the many variables involved when printing with an antique press. Once adjustments have been made, the individual sheets of paper are hand fed onto the press and each card is printed one at a time.

Running my shop allows me to provide hands-on printing and attention to detail and gives me the opportunity to create. I have always loved working with my hands whether it is making paper, creating unique handmade books, or hand carving of images for prints. Focusing on letterpress printing also allows me to work with these marvelous antique printing presses that are works of art in themselves. Although more than 100 years old, these antique printing presses work in unison and harmony to create a unique aesthetic effect and impression that you can see and touch, truly a delight for the senses!

Aloha Letterpress is the name of my shop because aloha has such special meaning. It can mean hello, goodbye or love. “Alo” means presence and “ha” means breath. Together, it can be translated as breath of life. In Hawaii, we try to “live aloha” and to share our aloha with others. I hope my work will help others to share their aloha with the special people in their lives.

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