A whole crew of antique letterpresses is headed to Cambridge next week as Albertine Press, a Somerville design and letterpress studio, gets a brick-and-mortar storefront in Inman Square.
Albertine Press makes greeting cards, stationery, journals, coasters, and more by pressing raised, inked designs into cotton paper. The letterpress technique makes an impression in the paper.
Shelley Barandes started Albertine Press 12 years ago, and has long dreamed of a storefront. Albertine Press sells its products in stores throughout the country and on Etsy.
As part of the switch from a studio to a retail space, Barandes plans to start selling other artists’ designs—the store will offer desk accessories, crafts, and various “paper curiosities” in addition to Albertine Press creations.
But what Barandes is most excited about is making the store into a place for the community to gather.
“My passion project is to have a space that is available to open up to the community and have workshops and events and chances for people to learn something new, to create things together, meaningful things that have to do with exchanging written words and ideas,” Barandes says. “The idea is that there will be some crafting, some learning, some creating, all around all things paper.”
She envisions calligraphy and hand-lettering nights, bookbinding and paper ornament-making, and etiquette lessons like how to write a thank you note. She hopes to offer the community plenty of opportunities to learn about the printing machines, like print-your-own custom stationery days.
Albertine Press is slated to start its move on Monday and open the first weekend in December. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign—”Say Yes to the Press”—to help with moving expenses. Four days into the campaign, Albertine Press has received a total of over $4,000 from 73 backers.
Albertine Press’s new home at 1309 Cambridge Street isn’t far from its Union Square studio or from Barandes’s Cambridge home.
“We’re very tied to where we are. This opportunity opening up to us in Inman Square feels like a really natural fit,” Barandes says. “We’re moving five blocks down the road. We get to be right in the heart of both our professional and personal communities. Inman Square is my square—it’s where we go for brunch or for shopping. To help build a better Inman is meaningful, personally.”