The Old Try
I had to get out of the South. Though my wife had lived in London and Manhattan, I’d never lived North of the Mason-Dixon. So in ’07, we packed up the car and headed North.
Like other Ex-Pat Southerners who had pangs of being away from home, I started thinking more about the South. About our collective pasts and our undetermined futures. And much to my surprise, I wanted to get back. But not just yet.
After the Alabama tornadoes in April of '11, I just couldn't help expressing my broken heart for my smashed state. I saw the helicopter footage of those thinned forests and broken towns. Places I knew well were being broadcast on the television a thousand miles away, and I didn’t have one neighbor who knew those places like I did.
Faulkner said to write what you know. Old Try started that way. By writing and designing Southern things for folks who lived in and out of the South. Things that connect people to a place they go to in their dreams, or a place they could never convince themselves to leave.
We spent six winters in Boston and then took a sabbatical to have our daughter in North Carolina. Where her mom was born and where her mom was born and where her mom was born. Now we're back in Boston, but we carry with us that memory of home. And that’s just what will keep driving us to make things that can take y’all there, whether you’re living in the South or not.
A word on our process.
We're lucky enough to have found a printer and drawers full of old type that were never chucked out when guys in pleated pants were throwing out the old machines and replacing them with off-white plastic desk jets. Our printer is skilled as can be, so our ink just kisses the paper. Those letterpress wedding invites you get that are all deeply debossed are actually the mark of an unskilled pressman – though we've all kind of come to assume that 'letterpress' means 'debossed printing'. It takes a lot more effort to get the pressure right and not impact the fibers of paper.
And speaking of paper, we use 110lb Lettra that is made from the linters (or scraps) of cotton production. Which means our prints aren't just 100% cotton; they're an environmentally responsible way to make art. And because I grew up in what was – at least up through the 80s – the largest cotton producing county in Alabama, each print reminds me a lot of home.
The process ain't quick. It ain't cheap. And it ain't easy. Which is exactly the point.
We're thankful you appreciate the thought and care that goes into every print we make. And we thank you for supporting our little family of four, and the dozen or so people who help make, and deliver, every Old Try print to your door.