The beginning of a small imprint is a purpose and a machine. Sometimes it’s just the love of running the machine and then deciding that’s the purpose. But the two are there.
The name of this imprint and its logo are inspired by the design of a ring I purchased in Dublin, Ireland. It invokes positive change and constant movement. The landscape in the banner above is a photo of the area around Valentia Island in the southwest of County Kerry.
Among other work, Silver Wave Press will produce longer works of fiction illustrated with my wood engravings, printed letterpress using polymer plate type when necessary. The tone of the fiction chosen will be uplifting and true. This purpose includes the desire to use the ample stores of Mohawk Letterpress paper stock and the ink I inherited from Anchor & Acorn Press. Broadsides, posters, and chapbooks are possible. The maximum sheet size of the press is 15” x 24”.
The machine is a Vandercook Universal I proof press. This model was patented in 1961 and was most likely built in the 1960s. It is a power driven press with an adjustable bed and automatic tape sheet delivery. It’s a beauty. All of my wood engraving and linoleum cut editions have been printed on this press.
Anchor & Acorn Press I was very fortunate to be able to purchase this press from Bruce Washbish who I interned with at Anchor & Acorn Press from 1988—1991. The project I completed at the end of the internship was an edition of the short story Breakfast by John Steinbeck. Bruce established his letterpress print shop in 1986 with an impressive collection of foundry type, a Colts-Amory hand-fed platen press, the Vandercook, a Heidelberg and a few linotype machines.
The building is the former Poehlmann chicken hatchery built in the 1920s, located at 15 Kent Street in Petaluma, California. Here is where I printed on the Vandercook until Bruce passed away in 2015. Then the print shop was cleared and the building was sold. Many fond memories of Anchor & Acorn Press and of Bruce Washbish live on.
The Vandercook in situ during the clearing of A&A Press Blessed press mover Norman Hicks and assistant Hayden The press in the garage, its new location, Silver Wave Press begins.
I was able to find a qualified press mover and managed to get the press out of the building before the purchaser's deadline. I've been printing various editions since the move and am anxious to begin larger projects under the Silver Wave Press imprint. Metal type is difficult to come by these days, so practicality will require that I design my books using InDesign and have polymer plates made. The polymer material is sturdy and prints very well. And so, this no-nonsense machine has a new place and purpose. Onward!