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Power and Light: Letterpress Lives in Portland


Even though our world is moving further and further into the digital space, letterpress printing — which involves movable type, ink and a press — remains a vibrant fixture in Portland. And Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press is not only an advocate for the trade, but a phenomenal and dedicated artist.

Durrie started Power and Light Press in 2009 and is currently operating her business within the supportive community of studio member artists at the EM Space Book Arts Center in Southeast Portland.

This coming summer, Durrie will be putting her work on wheels as she embarks on a nearly year-long road trip that takes her all across the country.  She recently purchased a 1982 Chevy delivery van that looks like a cross between an ice cream truck and something you might use as a getaway vehicle after a bank heist.

Part of the sign press Kyle will take with her on the road.

Ifanyi Bell / OPB

But instead of dairy treats, or sacks of loot, Durrie will be retrofitting the van with the iron and steel printing presses that she uses in her studio work, creating a mobile printing press that doubles as a living space while she’s on the road.

The “Movable Type” tour (see what she did there?) is scheduled to begin on June 2. Her first stop will be at Bricolage in downtown Boise Idaho. 

Durrie says that the trip was inspired by her desire to share the art of letterpress with as many people in as many places as possible. 

“I was so smitten by it the first time I had the chance to print, so I’m hoping to try to share that experience with folks.” 

She also said it didn’t hurt that it would give her the chance to travel all over the country. 

Go See It

EM Space Second Anniversary Celebration

OPB’s Dave Miller talked with Kyle Durrie about her experiences with letterpress and her upcoming “Movable Type” project. You can hear their conversation by clicking on the audio player in the right-hand sidebar.

Also, check out The Speakeasy to hear other stories from this episode.  

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