Patrick Barrett of Lucky Duck Press inherited his antique foot-powered letterpress from the family business. His great-grandfather started The Sterling Press back in 1901, first printing paper goods and then moving on to cloth tapes. Patrick grew up watching his dad work the manual presses but didn’t express interest until many years later, after studying theater in college.
In 2000 Patrick decided to save some of the old letterpress gear from Sterling’s basement. He started his own venture, Lucky Duck, and has been making a go of it ever since. Letterpress was always a creative side project but last winter, after losing his theater design job of ten years, Patrick decided to devote himself full time to printing. Lucky Duck has been growing in leaps and bounds ever since, and Patrick feels enthusiastic about contributing to the family legacy in his own way.
Patrick’s workhorse press is a Golding Pearl old style #3 from the late nineteenth century, and it’s a beaut. It’s still in terrific condition and cranking out excellent quality, if slightly imperfect, letterpress paper goods over a century after his great-grandfather purchased it. Patrick loves the physicality of letterpress products — that the letters make contact with the paper and that each item is hand-fed through the press, one at a time.
Working by hand allows Patrick to feel like he’s putting artistry back into paper goods, the way they used to back in his great-grandfather’s day.
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