Field Notes United States of Letterpress
The latest seasonal release from Field Notes is the United States of Letterpress, and it’s one of my favourites, right up there with another past letterpress Two Rivers. I also did of course really like the National Parks editions. So it’s a tight race.
The United States of Letterpress is three different packs, each with unique notebooks, featuring the work of nine independent, American letterpress studios and artists. Each shop was shipped a different cover paper, but they all had to use the same blue and red inks to print their own designs, which give a different tone or hue altogether depending on which colour cover they were printed on.
I love that the print goes onto both the front and back cover, so you can open it up to see something larger, or something that changes the whole picture.
Field Notes produced this terrific video, which also gives you a look inside the printer’s shops, and you can hear a bit about their individual philosophies around printing, the art of letterpress, and community, which is fascinating and well worth a watch. In this age where we are mass producing basically everything, it’s nice that these tactile, stationery goods that we use and love still support and represent more.
I don’t have a super consistent use for my Field Notes memobooks, and often times I do have a number of them kicking around, especially when they’re released in series, with nine or twelve of them in one season. I still have a few of the National Parks, also. I mostly use them for general notes and scribbles (I like to have a notebook with me if I’m just heading to the park with the kids and a book, but nothing too clunky), without the intention of keeping them.
Things I need to remember to do later, like buy more ketchup or respond to that email that I keep procrastinating on. Sometimes I tear a page out to give a note to someone or to fold up into a plane for Caleb. I do not at all feel terrible about recycling them when they’re filled up because I am constantly surrounded by possibly too many notebooks. I think I actually feel a bit satisfied when one is done, like the season of life that filled up these pages is over and here are the nonsense words to show it. Sometimes when I’m waiting in the car and I’m just rooting around in its dark cavernous spaces under seats and in side door pockets, an exercise both rewarding (lost mitts) and unsavoury (old food) I find scraps of paper or an old Field Notes notebook and it’s a curious thing to try and make sense of what I’ve written before.
Every once in a while, I do have a specific purpose for a notebook, like notes for Caleb’s music classes, or keeping track of something like meal planning, and the kids often get a notebook from a 3-pack, which they fill with maps or tiny circles or lists of their own. I use a lot of fountain pens, and Field Notes paper I find is a really nice paper for pencils, which gives me a chance to scratch away.