Kyle Durre makes prints on her mobile letterpress while visiting the Anderson Museum in Roswell, Saturday. Durre is starting an eight-state tour in her ‘Moveable Type,’ a 1982 Chevy stepvan, giving workshops and demonstrations. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Natasha Bowdoin, an artist in Roswell, watched with a friend as Kyle Durrie gently applied silver paint to a rubber roller.
“Here, you try,” Durrie told Bowdoin.
Bowdoin pressed the ink onto the letters set neatly on a table inside a 1980s step van outfitted as a mini-print shop museum.
“Like this?” Bowdoin asked.
The two artists applied the ink and printed a “Greetings From Roswell” card onto green paper stock.
Durrie’s van was parked outside the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art on East College Boulevard Saturday afternoon as a few interested people stepped in to try out printing presses and “learn how to print the old fashioned way.”
The van is outfitted with wooden block letters, metal letters and two printing presses — one that was 140 years old. The press was found on Craigslist.org six years ago, Durrie said.
“It was rusted and it needed a good cleaning,” Durrie said. “It came back to life.”
Many artists are restoring presses lately, she said.
“I look for the rusting stuff,” she said. “I can spend some time cleaning it. I find some on eBay and at antique stores.”
Some of the newer type “isn’t cheap,” she said. “My collection is growing very, very slowly over time.”
Durrie’s proofing press was originally sold by Sears & Roebucks in the 1960s.
Durrie, who recently relocated to Silver City, makes her living printing and selling greeting cards, business and other custom card orders. She learned her craft by attending an eight-week intensive class.
“I had never done anything like this before. I loved it and I needed to figure out how to keep doing this,” she said.
Durrie started traveling the country two years ago.
“I just thought it would be so much fun to be on the road,” she said.
But during her off-time, the petite artist with blonde hair falling below her straw hat said she loves to hit the road and teach others the history of printing.
Standing beside a map of the U.S. with several red pins indicating which cities she had visited, Durrie said she had spent one full year “constantly on the road.”
“I get to discover new places, meet new people and allow them to have the experience to work with their hands,” she explained. “I’ve always been able to find something good everywhere I’ve gone.”
Bowdoin was thrilled with the opportunity to learn how to use the old printer.
“It’s just impressive that this is a totally self started enterprise,” Bowdoin said. “It’s always amazing to me. It feels really good in here.”
Nancy Fleming of the Anderson Museum’s programs and publications division said she was excited to have the printing van visit.
“We’re very excited to have Kylie come,” Fleming said. “We look for unique opportunities to present to the community. It was a perfect place for her to come and park.”
To learn more about the mini-traveling print museum, visit Type-truck.com.