Myrna Keliher veteran

Expedition Press

Towards the beautiful and the useful

How long have you been printing?


Describe your first encounter with letterpress

I set my first type in a windowless basement. I composed this sentence in 12 pt: "My grandfather was a newspaper man." The letters made sense in my hands, and from that moment I never looked back.

Where did you learn?

I first learned as a student at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. The bulk of my printing knowledge and experience however comes from my apprenticeship at Stern & Faye Printers, where I worked off and on for seven years.

Who was your most influential teacher?

Daryl Morgan (woodshop professor); Jules Faye (master printer); Carolina Veenstra (master bookbinder).

What super power would you like to have?

To never have to sleep.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Mostly alone, but it is a welcome and exciting relief to collaborate. I need a good balance of both, but it requires more energy for me to work in a group.

What do you most value in your friends?

Steadfastness, loyalty, comfort, support, passionate dogged perseverance, willingness to laugh at themselves and reminding me of that too.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

In my daily stream-of-conscious morning writing, on a long hike with a heavy pack, bicycle riding, rowing, and when I'm washing my hair.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

I'd like to pick something sexy but I suppose it's more likely be something stalwart like Standard Medium.

What tool do you use more often than any other?

Pica pole. I sweat bullets until I'm within a half-point for registration.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Self-Consciousness, John Updike
The Gift, Lewis Hyde
Collected Poems, Lucille Clifton
To Love the Coming End, Leanne Dunic
Dear Ghosts, Tess Gallagher
Thunderbird, Dorothea Lasky
Overpour, Jane Wong
+ a smattering of literary journals (Pacifica, Spartan, Stringtown, Poetry Northwest...)

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

I wish I could have met Chris Stern, and studied with him in person.

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

Colt's Armory Press, 14×22, 1906
Golding Jobber No. 6, 8×12, 1901
Craftsman Imperial, 5×8
23" Challenge guillotine
Viagelli board shear
Nipping press

Six cabinets and three gallery racks of metal type, a few cases of wood type.

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

More type! And soon, I think, more space... and I dearly need an oscillating roller for my Colt's.

When and where are you the happiest?

Hiking on a mountain ridge, moments before an international flight, and when I pull the very first proof of any new type form.

What is your greatest fear/worry?

Not being good enough.

What do you think is useful about what you make?

Everything I print comes to some basic function of a reminder – reminding me, and hopefully others who encounter it, of something I want to remember but keep forgetting.

What’s your day job?

Typographer, printer, publisher, artist.

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?

Painting, hand lettering, mixed-media/collage, writing, web design.