I’ve never written about arguably the most well-known and respected letterpress studio in the U.S. until now because, well, almost everyone else has. But last night I watched Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print present the shop’s work and history and I’m so inspired I can’t resist.
Hatch is the longest running letterpress studio in the U.S., operating continuously for well over a century. Jim has been instrumental in not only keeping the shop running through the hard times (also known as the ’80s) but preserving its historical accuracy. He doesn’t allow any new wood fonts into the shop, believing the Hatch brothers (founders, originally from Wisconsin!) carefully curated the collection to work well together; and by only allowing new artwork that’s been hand carved—no digitally-created photo-polymer cuts.
Hatch does, as you can see, regularly employ the magnificent collection of historical printing plates, adhering to a theory they call “Preservation by Production”—or the belief that vintage wood cuts and fonts fare better with regular use. I would rather see these artists create beautiful work than gaze at plates behind glass any day. They have a cut of nearly every famous artist that ever played Nashville, as well as some of the earliest printing plates in the states—and they’re still printing all of it. I’m thinking of planning a trip to Tennessee just to visit Hatch!