The sound of paper

Print Press

I love paper. I grew up visiting my dad at work, which was a print shop. An old school, letterpress and off-set print shop, where there would be mountains of paper, drawers full of letters, the smell of hot ink and the continuous hissing and clicking of paper being fed into machines. It brings me back to my childhood. Of course, at the time, I didn’t think it was fun. I thought it was loud, smelly, dangerous and dirty. But those elements, those sounds and smells have stuck with me, and it’s no wonder that I love everything paper.

A friend of mine sent me this video, from Montreal. It’s the sounds and machines, the paper becoming a book that made me stop and smile.

I used to watch my dad create wedding invitations, business cards, calendars, books, posters and more. I used to help my dad, when needed, to glue order pads together, collate calendars, pack boxes of invoices, create dockets and wrap programs. Whatever he needed help with, I would help him.

I remember the quiet of the darkroom as I would stay off to the side, watching by the red light as he set up the screens for various jobs. The promise of consequences if I didn’t stay away from the letter drawers, each holding a different font, size or shape of letter, always held such appeal for me. I wasn’t allowed near the paper cutter or hole puncher, for obvious reasons. And I remember how loud it was, when all the machines were going at the same time.

It was sort of a beautiful sound; noise that somehow turned itself into music.

2 thoughts on “The sound of paper

  1. I love paper, too. My dad was a lithographer and picking him up at work on a Friday night with my mom and my sisters was like watching magic happen. All those printing presses running at the same time, churning out magazines, prints, making tons of noise; it was so fascinating and beautiful to me. 🙂

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