Shipwright & Co.

Shipwright & Co. was born in January of 2013 when a Chandler and Price letterpress circa 1911 entered the lives of two old friends, Jen Kruch and Jessie Alberts. The result, in my honest opinion, is one of the most exciting letterpress and design companies in the nation. Jen and Jessie have a distinct style, sense of humor, and impeccable craftsmanship that sets them apart from the pack.

Photo by Matt Morris

Photo by Matt Morris

Tucked away in a small garage atop a mountain, their printshop is located in an especially lovely part of the Napa Valley. Being surrounded by such beauty helps inspire these gals to be especially mindful and environmentally conscious in their work. They print with low-VOC rubber-based inks, use vegetable oil and other natural products to clean their press, and use 100% cotton, tree-free paper. Talk about an environmentally friendly small business!

Watch their process as they create a business card from (almost) start to finish in this short film by Matt Morris.

Before we go any further, some full disclosure: my sister is one-half of this company and my husband made the above film. That said, I'm not just writing about it because I'm biased — I'm sharing it because Shipwright & Co. deserves insane recognition for their unique design aesthetic, not to mention the painstaking skill and time it takes to pull and trim each and every piece they produce by hand.

With any piece of technology becoming obsolete after five years, it's astounding to think that something built more than 100 years ago is still relevant and does exactly what it was designed to do. With this type of approach, many tend to take themselves too seriously because they feel they're preserving this piece of history. What Shipwright does is bring levity to this labor-intensive art form — they have fun while producing beautiful things (check out their nautical series, which includes a merman version of Steve Guttenberg). They are the real deal, folks!


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