While members of the public can order stationery and other letterpress printing from Bowne & Co., they can also roll up their sleeves and get ink on their fingers by learning how to do it themselves. On the last Wednesday of every month, the shop hosts a two-hour open house called Fresh Prints, which provides an overview of the printing process and lets participants try their hand at operating one of the presses. For a deeper dive, there are 3.5-hour stationery workshops on the first Saturday of the month, where attendees can design their own piece, set their own type, mix their ink and print a small run of stationery.
Bowne also sells stationery and other pieces in its gift shop, including reproductions of special parts of the collection. “That’s one of the things that drew me to letterpress printing,” says Wilson. “is that it’s inherently democratic. The whole idea of printing is so not just one person can have the piece, but many people can have it.”