About the Presses
Clandestine Press started its journey as a wandering letterpress printer, all Clandestine and no Press. With time and a good dose of right-place-right-time luck, the presswoman wandered no more! Clandestine Press moved into a shared studio in San Francisco’s fabulous Mission District in early 2012. Shortly thereafter and with some more crazy luck, a sweet little press made its way into the shop and quickly became the workhorse of the business (apart from the french press, that is…). Over the next three years, two more presses made their way into the shop as Clandestine Press expanded.
Two of our presses were built in the early 1920s by the Chandler & Price company and were models used extensively in commercial print until the rise of offset lithography in the 1950s. (What is letterpress, anyway?) Though the Chandler & Price platen presses were originally operated with a foot treadle, CP’s C&P (see what I did there?), like many modern uses of old presses, has been outfitted with handy motors which saves this grateful lady a good deal of worry that one leg will become inordinately stronger than the other. Though the presses move by way of the motor, the actual printing is done by hand, by feeding sheets of paper into the press one at a time. This is, of course, incredibly dangerous, which in turn accounts for its utter glamorousness. For printing buffs- Clandestine Press is currently home to an 8×12 and a 10×15 model, the latter of which is currently being retrofitted for foil and die cutting.
In 2014, we got incredibly lucky and were able to score a Vandercook model 219 (built in 1947), greatly increasing our potential print size and generally proving itself (as Vandercooks tend to do) to be a fantastically well-built piece of machinery that instantly began pulling its own weight (2400lbs, to be exact) in the shop.
In early 2015, we moved ourselves, our combined 5400 pounds of press and another couple of tons of furniture and paper up to beautiful Ukiah, CA. Ukiah is a darling town in the wine country two hours North of San Francisco and an hour East of the historic town of Mendocino. We’ve settled into our new digs quickly and are over the moon to have 1400 square feet all to ourselves! In the coming year we will be adding foil, die cutting and a shiny new line of wedding invitations and announcements to our offerings.
A Quick Note About Ecological Practices: We are 100% committed to printing fabulous things without sacrificing others. All Clandestine Press cards are printed on a tree-free stock made from cotton linters – a byproduct of the cotton industry that is recognized by the EPA as a recovered fiber – that can be recycled with traditional paper. This stock, among other ecologically produced and sourced papers, is also our preferred and encouraged stock for weddings, business cards and other event and packaging pieces. We also use low VOC, non-toxic inks and press washes and are obsessive recycling sorters!
For Designers and Event Planners: Clandestine Press would love to work with you! We love and encourage long-term relationships with designers, event planners and destinations providing event ephemera such as menus, place cards, favors and signage. Bulk and frequency discounts are available. Shoot Meredith an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) – she’d love to brainstorm with you!
About Meredith: Meredith Hudson, owner and letterpress printer extraordinaire at Clandestine Press, grew up in Northern California among crashing waves and redwood forests. She is bonkers about spy culture for no reason in particular, though it probably had something to do with Inspector Gadget and a propensity for taking apart kitchen appliances to make listening devices and lock picking apparatuses as a child.
When she isn’t printing or designing, Meredith enjoys rescuing past-their-prime typewriters and camera equipment. Proud dog-mom, you can sometimes find her curled up with one or two largish canines on the dog bed under the studio desk for a quick pre-printing power nap.
Meredith has trained in ceramics, textiles, printmaking, photography, bookmaking and drawing, as well as biodynamic agriculture and Hatha yoga. She’s an expert in salon-style exhibition (read: haphazard), printing tricks that would make Gutenberg turn in his grave, singing bowl sing-making, conch shell honking and scrambled tofu making.
Meredith is available for private letterpress lessons in both platen and cylinder letterpress printing and you can bet you’ll get a Printers’ Yoga class out of the deal, too. Please contact her with questions or to schedule a session! Meredith is also available to current and former students of the San Francisco Center for the Book for make-up sessions, tune-up lessons and press assistance.