There’s nothing quite like the tactile luxury of a piece of letterpress printing. Traditional methods and vintage presses are not only producing classical print, but combined with the skills of modern graphic designers, are pushing the boundaries of design and the result is a new retro quality that is in high demand.
Two such graphic designers have turned their skills to the art of letterpress in the form of their business, Paper Elephant. With a focus on cards and stationery, Nykke and Troy are coming back to Handmade on June 10 & 11, and we asked them about Paper Elephant.
Tell us about your business
Hi, I am Nykke Coleman, founder, designer and printer of Paper Elephant, which I started in 2010 after many years working as a designer in advertising agencies and design studios. I am joined by my husband Troy, also a designer and regularly called upon as press mechanic.
Paper Elephant is a little boutique letterpress printing studio in the upper Blue Mountains of NSW. We design, print and package (all in-house) sweet and cheeky greeting cards and stationery and other paper goods from our little mountain studio in Wentworth Falls. We use beautiful old printing equipment: Nellie, our Heidelberg Windmill; Gerald, a 100+ year old Chandler and Price press; and Rusty, our antique guillotine. Together we design and print beautiful cards just for you, the old fashioned way, one colour at a time. We ensure that all of our products are made with the highest quality materials and are 100% made in the Australia.
Outside of the studio, we are joined by our two young children, one highly strung cocker spaniel and a grumpy old moggie. We also share a passion for rock climbing, hiking in the wilderness, good wine and fabulous food (although not necessarily in that order).
What made you apply to Handmade?
We have exhibited with Handmade in the past but took some time off from markets in recent years to focus on family. Handmade has always been well run and showcases a diverse range of beautiful handmade products from some very talented makers. We are happy to be getting to be a part of Handmade and are looking forward to seeing the lovely people of Canberra again.
What are you looking forward to most about your trip?
Visiting Canberra is always a great trip. It makes the perfect road trip, not too far, and Canberra is full of great restaurants just waiting to be discovered.
What’s the best way to keep warm in Winter?
A nice open fire would be ideal, but unfortunately our fireplace is temporarily out of service so we have to survive with woolly jumpers, ugg boots and central heating – not the same ambience but just as effective. Something in the slow cooker and glass of red wine come a close second.
Do you have a seasonal recipe share?
One of our favourites…
Slow cooked lamb shanks for two
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 frenched lamb shanks
1 diced red onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup nice red wine
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh continental parsley
1 grated lemon rind
1 crushed garlic clove
Heat oil in a frypan over a medium-high heat or in an electric slow cooker with saute function (set for approx 15 mins). Combine flour with salt and pepper and lightly coat lamb in flour mixture. Fry shanks in oil, turning often, until browned. Remove from the pan. Add onion and garlic, cook until softened slightly.
Add wine to pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and vinegar, bring to a simmer. If using an all in-one slow cooker return lamb shanks to the pan, or add sauce and shanks to your slow cooker. Set slow cooker for 6 hours until lamb is tender and falling off the bone.
Combine parsley, lemon and garlic for the gremolata. This is optional but adds a lovely zesty finish. Serve lamb on a bed of creamy mash potato and some steam greens, top with gremolata and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Caroline Leevers is responsible for the Handmade brand, including the website, Handmade Style, the newsletter and the online magazine. When she's not hanging out with the lovely Handmade team, she runs Callie & Co Design, a Canberra graphic design studio that crafts brands for small businesses. Her favourite things about Canberra are the seasons (especially Autumn), the big sky, the coffee and the great events.