Hell Roarin' Print Shop

Hell Roarin' Print Shop
1897 Chandler & Price at the Museum's Print Shop

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Hello, my name is Christa Carleton and I am the current Artist in Residence at the Hell Roarin' Residency in Butte, MT. 

This residency is brand new as of January 2016 and it is a collaboration between the World Museum of Mining (WMM) and the Imagine Butte Resource Center (IBRC). While I am here as a Printmaker and Letterpress artist I think the idea is that in the future the residency may not be so specific to having a background in these mediums like I do. 

As the first resident here, I'll be laying the groundwork for the artists that will follow after me. I am here as a long term resident, but the two organizations who are making this happen have not delineated what the term length will be later on. My purpose here is to make my own artwork but also to rejuvenate these spaces, especially focusing on the letterpress equipment and also educating the community about letterpress. For the residency we have definitely adopted the mantra of many letterpress shops which is "preservation through production". 

My time is split between these two locations (WMM and IBRC are only about 1.5 miles away from each other). The IBRC has 5 printing presses, a Glen Alps, Charles Brand, Jack Richeson & Co Baby Press, Vandercook No 1 Proofing Press, and a Line-O-Scribe.  The space is set up as a community print shop that offers studio time and workshops. I will be leading more workshops in the future once my feet are more solidly underneath me (I only moved to Butte about 13 days ago!).

IBRC shop, Glen Alps in the back ground and the amazing Charles Brand is in the foreground.

Line-O-Scribe Letterpress Machine. It was just donated so I just cleaned it and oiled it last night. 
This dial is how you set the pressure.
It has a 14"x22" bed plate
This was the first thing that got printed on the Line-O-Scribe, it's a little letterpress cut from my personal collection.
Line-O-Scribe worked like a charm! Here is the proof I did. 

The IBRC has a small collection of metal type.
Glamour shots of this type cabinet :)
Some nice letters in there.

No 1 Vandercook Proofing Press from 1937 

My messy studio space at the IBRC

The WMM is set up as a historic mining town called the Hell Roarin Gulch, and this is where the print shop is located. The printing shop was functional until 1995 which is the year when the printer working in there passed away. The door was shut and the shop lay practically untouched from how Bob Rugh left it. The Hell Roarin' Gulch Print Shop has an incredible type kitchen and most of the accoutrements any printer could ask for. They have 2 functioning presses (well once they get cleaned up and some parts replaced) a Chandler & Price 8"x12" clam shell from 1897 and a Challenge Gravity Press. There is also a dismantled table-top clam shell, 3 book presses, and a gorgeous Chandler & Price paper cutter from 1915. 

There is actually more snow surrounding it now...
1897 C&P, the gold pin striping still looks awesome!
See? It's just packed with so much incredible ephemera.
There is the little table top press that doesn't work... yet!

Something I should mention... Butte is COLD in January and probably will be for the months to come. The shop at the WMM is not heated, so while I may not be working directly in there as soon as I would like I'm hoping to still find a way to print. The Museum and I have been making lists of things they need and of things that need to be fixed, like the C&P printing press from 1897 needs new rollers and trucks, and the shop needs ink! However, all of these things require money so we are looking into funding options, I hope you all will stay tuned so that when we have a game plan you can learn how you can help!

I'm hoping to chronicle my time at this residency often; each discovery that is made, prints in process, news, history, events, workshops, etc... it will all be here! 

It's good to meet you all and it's especially good to be in Butte America.