Meet the Crafters: Deep Hollow Print

April 18, 2018 | Halifax Crafters Society

If you’re in the mood to freshen up your space, Laura MacDonald of Deep Hollow Print has a beautiful selection of letter press prints. You might recognize Laura’s style from gig posters she’s designed for many local musicians. Maybe you have a local product adorned with her label design, like that bag of North Mountain coffee in your cupboard! Maybe you’re thinking “Didn’t she win Graphic Media Artist of the Year at the ECMAs last year?” Why, yes she did. Come see her beautiful work up close and personal, as she returns to Crafters for her 3rd show.

What do you make Laura?

I make letterpress posters, prints, and cards. I print on a 1930s-era press using my antique wood type collection, and original linoblock carvings.

How long have you been doing this work?

I’ve been letterpress printing for about five years now. It was just a hobby at first, then slowly grew into a business.

What’s your background?

I have no formal art background. I have an English degree from a university in the States, and studied book publishing in Toronto. It was while working for Gaspereau Press in the Valley that I was introduced to letterpress printing and fell in love with it.

Can you tell us about your process?

I come up with the design using my antique wood type collection and/or carve original images by hand. I mix my colours using oil-based press ink, and then I lock up the type and carvings in the press bed. There is a lot of measuring and math involved. Every piece of paper is hand-fed through the machine. I crank the cylinder handle and walk along with it as the paper is pressed into the type form. Each colour on a poster is a separate pass through the press. So much time, sweat, and tears go into each print. My hands get very dirty and my feet hurt at the end of the day. It’s a very physical but rewarding process.

What is the best part about what you do?

That feeling of pulling a fresh print out of the press: the impression of the type into the paper, the smell of the ink, hearing the clickity-clack of the press’s moving parts; there’s nothing like it.

How do you procrastinate when you’re finding it hard to work?

Stacking wood, crossword puzzles, and a little something called NETFLIX.

What inspires you?

The printshop that most inspires me is Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee. I interned there back in 2013, and that’s where I really learned what makes a good gig poster. They’ve been around since 1879 and have made posters for nearly every band/musician you could think of. I’m also inspired by all the small business owners in my community and Nova Scotia, supporting each other.

Where do you work?

I have a tiny little printshop, in a room that I rent out from Gaspereau Press in Kentville. However, I’m currently shopping around for a bigger location for my business.

What do you love about the Halifax Crafters Spring Show?

I love this show because the quality of all the vendors is top-notch. The organizers are very good at selecting a diverse and talented pool of artisans. I love checking out (and usually trading with!) other printers at the show, especially.

Tell us a few things we don’t know about you, Laura.

I’m a little obsessed with crib. I have a huge collection of crib boards, and even have a crib board tattooed on my thigh. My favorite restaurant is the Rolled Oat Café in Wolfville. My favourite music is stuff like John Prine, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm.

Any words of wisdom?

A lot my favourite sayings pop up in my posters, including the motto I try the most to follow: “Take it easy, but take it” (Woody Guthrie). Chill out, enjoy life, but grab hold of those opportunities when they come your way.

Well said Laura! Can’t wait to have you back this Spring and thanks for taking us behind the scenes!

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