Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

One of my special treats at the National Stationery Show is to visit the Saturn Press booth and see their old-fashioned designs on letterpress greeting cards.  It is a welcome relief to see something done in good taste with a printing process that brings back memories of a time when craft and tradition were still appreciated.  The Stationery Show has changed a lot in recent years, but Saturn Press confidently sticks to their traditions.  I am most happy that they have chosen to do so!  Sadly, Saturn Press will not be exhibiting this year and I for one will miss them.

Saturn Press was established in 1986 by designer Jane Goodrich and her printer James van Pernis.  Based in Swan’s Island, Maine near Bar Harbor, Jane had set about acquiring “letterpress stuff” from typesetters and printing companies that were “modernizing.”   With the simple premise that quality should never be compromised for expediency, Jane and James used their heavy presses to create a tactile impression that modern printing cannot duplicate.   Their client “saw something authentic, they saw something real.”

Now some 25 years pioneering a resurgence in letterpress printing, Jane and James (humorously referring to themselves as the “Grandpa and Grandma of Letterpress”) note that “we had no idea we’d be the link between the retiring generation of printers who rarely printed beyond black ink, to the new generation of designer-printers, who cherish the beauty only letterpress can create.  Let the craftsmanship continue!”

Saturn Press does not have a website or even an email address.  Honestly, who would want one after experiencing the beautiful scenery and light of the Maine coast.   In their most recent catalogue which contains beautiful samples of their greeting cards, bookplates and calling cards, they remark “Shopping the Internet is like standing beneath Niagara Falls with a teaspoon in order to get a sip of water.”  How true!

They continue with their letter of introduction to their new catalogue:  “So enjoy the catalog, comfortably knowing the only teaspoon you will require is the one needed to stir your tea or coffee, and the pages will graciously accommodate any spills.  In perusing our offerings you may find that your cup runneth over, but we guarantee you won’t leave feeling all wet.”  How gracious and reassuring.

We have been buying Saturn Press cards for years and will continue to do so.  My husband compares it to an “out-of-body experience” or “time-warp” when you run across their lovely greeting cards.  To appease my husband, we always buy six boxes of his “favorite” holiday greeting card (#0565 Juncos) which has two birds sitting on a leafless branch with the following quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”

I had planned to include a few images in this Blog post, but realize that digital impressions do not do justice to the beautiful creations of Saturn Press.  Thank you Jane and Jim for preserving the craftsmanship and beauty of fine paper and printing.

Sheila P. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Tags: James van Pernis, Jane Goodrich, letterpress, letterpress printing, National Stationery Show, nss, rilke, Saturn Press, Swan’s Island

Related Posts