Expedition Press is run by artist Myrna Keliher, but a lot of other people are involved, from international artist residencies to late-night packaging and pizza delivery by dear neighbors. Our work is supported by a lively cadre of artists, authors, binders, clients, engineers, family, friends, interns, local businesses, poets, and printers for whom we are deeply grateful.
We're located in Kingston, WA, a small town on the Salish Sea in the northwest corner of the United States. We're on the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula, halfway between Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. So we're not technically on an island, but practically speaking, 9 times out of 10 we come and go by boat or bridge.
It's real darn beautiful here. Salty water, big trees, mountains visible from the sea. Our shop is on the backside of a building that doesn't face the street. We don't hold regular hours (we work all kinds of hours!) and we're not technically open to the public, but feel welcome to drop a note if you're in the area, and give a knock if you can find the door — post-Covid, that is! We're down to a skeleton crew and not inviting anyone new to hang out so long as the pandemic's going on.
Myrna Keliher was born in Seattle, WA. She studied at the Evergreen State College and later apprenticed with Stern & Faye, Printers. Myrna is passionate about language, space, letters, teaching, and getting people to read poetry. She volunteers for Letterpress Workers International and travels often. Off press, she loves to hike in the Olympic Mountains and co-founded Wild Society, a wilderness education nonprofit.
Here are some interviews with her / press about her work:
- Meet Myrna Keliher: Q&A with the artist, The On Being Project, Dec 2020
- Finding Wonder and Belonging in Nature and Poetry, Wreck Your Perfection podcast with Rachelle Lanae, Dec 2019
- The Economy of Language by Zoe Branch, South Sound Business Journal, Oct 2019
- Where Printed Words Transcend Time and Communicate What Can't Be Said by Dahr Jamail, Truth Out, May 2018
- "I think of them as propaganda for poets" by Paul Constant, Seattle Review of Books, Apr 2018
- Seattle Publisher and Printmaker Puts Her Diaries on Display by Rich Smith, The Stranger, Jun 2017
And organizations she's active with:
About the shop
Expedition Press is a production shop, with teaching activities and community events squeezed in ever more often. We primarily design and print from handset type on platen presses. We occupy a 420 square foot space that's full to the brim with metal type, printing presses, paper, and ink. On sunny days we can open the garage door and roll the paper cutters out, allowing for community propaganda production and art making. Of course events are on hiatus right now due to the pandemic.
Our two main presses are a 1906 Colt's Armory and a 1901 Golding Jobber. We also have three tabletop presses: a Nolan proof press, a 5x8 Craftsman Imperial, and a nipping press. In the paper-cutting department, we have a Vagelli board shear and a 23-inch Challenge guillotine. We also have a 1-inch button maker and a 1930s Remington Rand typewriter. All our machines are hand operated (or foot — the Golding has a treadle) except the Colt's, which is motorized, but still hand-fed one sheet at a time.
Type-wise, well — we have lots of type. Mostly metal. Of six type cabinets and three galley racks, only four cases hold wood type. We're into poetry, so of course book-sized metal type suits our work well. Perpetua is our house serif and Standard Medium is our house sans. We also have a decent run of Caslon and a lot of display faces.
The heart of our collection came from Stern & Faye, Printers: imposing stone, furniture rack, the Golding, the guillotine, and most of the type. The Colt's came by circuitous route from Harold Berliner in Nevada City, CA, and the board shear was found by a good friend in a dark corner of a second-use building materials store. The Nolan came from Clawhammer Press and the Craftsman, our first press, was a gift from Carolina Veenstra. The nipping press was a gift from Dave Myhre of Duckabush Bindery. It was spray-painted silver; several hours of careful lacquer thinner application revealed the original black finish and gold pin striping! You never know what's going to show up.
We have huge gratitude for what's come our way and we care for it all with great love. We consider ourselves stewards first, owners second. Our equipment has lived a few lives longer than us and we want it to live many lives more.
Images by Jovelle Tamayo, copyright 2020, all rights reserved (except for Kingston beach photo, second from top).