October 13th, 2011 | WEEKEND

Moveable Type Truck stops in New Haven

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Photo by Cynthia Hua.

No doubt “hipsters” will be lining up on College Street today to try their hand at old-fashioned card-making.

The Moveable Type Truck, the self-proclaimed “Sweetheart of the Road”, will pass through New Haven today, setting up shop at 208 College Street from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Now what is movable type printing? Back before digital printers, each character had to be inked onto paper. This was done through letters and symbols carved into blocks which were then dipped in ink and pressed onto a document; the result is ink printing with a handmade feel. Kyle Durrie, a letterpress printer and the truck’s operator and founder, said that the traditional form of printing “brings an element of handiwork and craft back into printing and publishing.”

The project, which began a year ago, grew out of Durrie’s love both for printing and for being on the road. Originally a print-shop owner based in Portland, Durrie has been on the road with her truck since June. With the advent of digital printing, traditional print-making “has become more of an art form”, she said.

Durrie’s 1982 Chevy has been remodeled into a mobile print shop. It’s well-equipped with print-making treasures: a 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press, a sign press from the mid 20th century and drawers full of type, ink, paper and woodblock carving tools.

Visitors get a tour around the truck’s facilities and can print their own card or poster to take home, with adorably amusing slogans along the lines of “You’re just my type”. All of the truck’s services are free of charge.

You can sample the creations of her print shop Power & Light, which produces custom-made cards, wedding invitations and posters, online at Etsy.