Stationery purveyor South Shore Paperie brings the art of letterpress back to life.
In this digital day and age, it seems as though books, pamphlets, letters and all other forms of printed text have gone the way of the 8-track and telegraph, regulated to the annals of time to sit and gather dust.
And while email and Twitter may be a faster means of getting your message from point A to point B, there are those who hold steadfast to the belief that the pen is mightier than the keyboard
One of those individuals is Stacey Nomura, owner of the custom stationery studio and specialty paper boutique South Shore Paperie. In addition to design services and hand-made artisan product lines, South Shore Paperie houses a Heidelberg Windmill letterpress machine within its Waikiki location, a true testament to Staceyâ€™s enduring adoration with art of the written word.
â€œI love letterpress printing,â€ Stacey enthuses. â€œI remember the first time I saw and felt a piece of letterpress stationery: It was a birth announcement with simple, classic text in powder pink, deeply pressed into the thickest paper I had ever felt. The weight and texture of the paper was luxurious, and the printing was so beautifully impressed, I had never seen anything like it, and I was hooked.â€
Shortly after founding couture stationery suite Bradley & Lily Fine Stationery (named after her children, Bradley and Lily) in 2005, Nomura and husband Ian purchased and shipped an antique press paper cutter from San Francisco to Oâ€˜ahu.
In 2007 they purchased a Heidelberg Windmill letterpress and soon were running printing operations out of their garage. â€œAt that time I was meeting with clients at coffee shops around town, designing from home while Ian was letterpress printing,â€ Stacey recalls. â€œWe opened South Shore Paperie as both a specialty stationery boutique and also as a meeting space for our custom clients, but soon realized we should bring everything under one roof.
â€œIt made more sense to be together, and itâ€™s also nice to have our garage back!â€
South Shore Paperie relocated to a new, larger location at 1016 Kapahulu Ave. in Waikiki in summer 2013 to accommodate the massive letterpress, cutter and inventory of fine papers and envelopes.
â€œOur press was made in 1960 in Germany [and] is about the same size as a small car and weighs more than 3,000 pounds,â€ says Ian, who operates the letterpress and oversees operations.
“Letterpress printing is as simple as it sounds-letters are pressed into paper,” he continues. “It is a unique art form where hand-mixed inks can be delicately kissed on the paper or deeply impressed.”
According to Ian, letterpress printing was the predominant print method of choice for more than 600 years. In fact, letterpress printing continues to be done in the same manner today as it was centuries ago, with only slight changes having been made in the materials used for type and the improvement from hand-turned presses to motor-driven presses, such as the Nomuras’ Heidelberg Windmill press.
“The Windmill was known as the ‘prince of presses’ by printers, because it was a favorite letterpress for many decades due to its speed, accuracy and reliability,” Ian says.
The Windmill was manufactured in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1924 up until the late ’70s. Once finset printing became popular, the demand for letterpress printing declined and versatile Windmills became a go-to for numbering, die cutting and foil stamping.
“We worried early on that it would be hard to get the technology-driven public to embrace our paper goods, but we have been pleasantly surprised to see how many people seek us out,” Ian says.
“We have people who grew up before the digital age and prefer the feel of the pen, as well as a lot of younger generations who feel that paper is the way to send a more meaningful message than text or email.”
“Communicating the old-fashioned way is a thoughtful and personal process,” Stacey agrees. “Writing a letter, even if it’s a three-sentence thank-you note, is organic and beautiful. In these days of quick emails and computer-generated letters, a hand-written note really stands out.”
Services at South Shore Paperie include letterpress printing, stationery design, illustration, graphic design and brand styling. Wedding invitations remain the bulk of custom invitation business, followed closely by custom letterpress note cards and calling cards.
“We see a lot of people want to make their party something special by sending out printed stationery, and when they use the antique printing method of letterpress, they make it even more memorable.” Ian says.
“We know that people really like to come in and be a part of the design process, putting their own touch on their personal stationery,” Stacey adds. “Our choice of stationery, our penmanship and our words reÃªct who we are.”
South Shore Paperie is the exclusive carrier of its own line of cards, which are sold under the name Honolulu Collection, and issues short-run, limited editions of letterpress note cards.
“Our Aloha and Mahalo cards are always the best-sellers with both locals and tourists,” Stacey says, noting that Hello Lucky! letterpress greeting cards and Waste Not Paper screen-printed note cards also are popular, as are locally designed and printed postcards from Everything is Jake and Koa Cards.
But, she says, what makes South Shore Paperie truly stand out is the whimsy and charm of seeing a working letterpress in motion.
“The smell of inks and the sound of the press makes the store a unique and nostalgic place to visit, and work.” Stacey says. “It’s fun to chat with the old-time designers and type-setters who stop by sharing their print stories, and we especially enjoy talking with curious customers who are seeing a printing press for the First time.”
Luxury Row, Hawai’i’s toniest shopping destination, has partnered with Cedar Street Galleries once again to host the finest display of art and fashion on the islands. For an exclusive time during the month of November, Luxury Row’s group of world-class retailers-Chanel, Tiffany and Co., Coach, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Tod’s and Hugo Boss-will open their doors in support of Hawai’i’s local art community for the eighth-annual Celebration of the Arts Hawai’i’s Modern Masters.
Founded by Robert Siegel, president and CEO of Metropole Realty, owner of Luxury Row, Hawai’i’s Modern Masters is a celebration of the harmonious relationship between beautiful fashion and art.
“Sometimes at art museums, the art is incredible but it feels a bit staid,” says Siegel. “With Hawai’i’s Modern Masters, you’re now in a living, breathing environment with people you know, cocktails, music … all of a sudden, it’s a living experience.”
Artists featured in the past include renowned contemporary painter Harry Tsuchidana, as well as Satoru Abe and Robert Kobayashi, both masters of 2-D and 3-D media. However, Siegel says his favorite part of each exhibit is showcasing the lesser-known, yet-to-be-discovered ingÃ©nue on a worldwide platform. “There are many Hawai’i artists who are talented but may never have gotten the chance for that level of exposure,” he says, noting that to be featured in Hawai’i’s Modern Masters, an artist must have lived in Hawai’i for a minimum of five years.
Among the artists hand-selected to be included in his year’s showcase are Amber Aguirre, ceramics; Sandra Blazel, acrylic painting; Keiko Hatano, ceramics; Lynn Liverton, ceramics; Esther Shimazu, ceramics; Franco Salmoiraghi, photography; Hamilton Kobayashi, oil painting; Lonny Tomon, wood; Hugh Jenkins, glass; Stephanie Ross, glass; and Doug Britt, wood constructs.
Additionally, each year Luxury Row makes a generous contribution to the Honolulu Museum of Art’s nonprofit after-school outreach program, Art to Go, to mark the start of the artists exhibit.
“We make sure that the children in the program come to see the art, and in some years, we’ve even been able to display their artwork in the windows of our luxury stores,” Siegel shares.
Hawai’i’s Modern Masters opens with a grand artists’ reception Nov. 7, where guests can meet and mingle with award-winning local talent and view a selection of their very best works. The exhibit will be on view to the public at Luxury Row (2100 Kalakaua Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 1.