SIOUX FALLS S.D. (KELO) — It used to be responsible for printing nearly every book available, but now the printing press has become a thing of the past. In tonight’s Your Money Matters, how a local print company has come up with a creative avenue to make a business out of this lost art.
“The oldest machine we have on our floor has a serial number dates back to the 1887 to 1889 range,” Smith & Smith Print Finishgin and Notable Press owner Joshua Smith said.
It’s a piece of history few people have any experience with today.
“I’m third generation, I grew up around these things,” Smith said.
But Joshua Smith says for the past few decades, the family business Smith & Smith Print Finishing hasn’t been using the presses for actual printing.
“The equipment found use doing foil press, die cutting, embossing, stamping, that kind of after market stuff for the printing world,” Smith said.
Smith says during the pandemic that a large amount of traditional work dried-up, and this is how Notable Press was created.
“Notable Press is a letter press studio. We are putting ink on paper in ways people have been putting ink on paper since the mid 1400s,” Smith said.
Nothing about this process is fast, it takes about 45 minutes every time he needs to change the design he is printing, it’s one of the reasons the printing press has become a bit of a lost art.
“It’s a lot of on-the-job training, no other way to learn these machines than to get your hands dirty,” Smith said.
“I think it’s really beneficial for students to see how these things are produced and what the possibilities are, you can do foil, blind embossing or blind hits, texturing,” Notable Press client Tim Murray said.
Tim Murray is a designer at Augustana University. He often brings his Augustana students to Sioux Falls to see and feel the difference.
“Just walking in this kind of felt like designer Disneyland, you can smell the ink and there’s machines going everywhere, it’s just a different feeling when you can pick up a piece and feel the texture and see how it’s been affected by the machine, it’s just different than a digital print,” Murray said..
It’s why Murray is also working with Notable Press for several different stand out projects for his marketing firm.
“Just holding it, you can’t help but run your finger over it and experience the texture,” Murray said.
Notable Press has a unique look that attracts local wedding planners and designers, as well as local artists.
“We launched a new poster project where once a month we are working with a local visual or literary artist to produce a limited-edition poster run featuring their work through our machinery,” Smith said.
The monthly art program is called “Something in the Water” illustrating the many talented local artists in the Sioux Falls community.
“It is staggering how much is going on here in the creative realm,” Smith said. “We just worked with a women who does art with knots and she came in and we strapped them to the presses and actually printed the rope itself.”
Sign up for the monthly edition of Something in the Water and receive a piece of local artwork every month. You can also buy prints on the website.