Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Beijing Impressions

I moved to Beijing to explore creative possibilities. There's a lot fermenting in the metropolis. On the one hand, it's China's center of power and control, yet it has an abundance of natural subversives: the country's highest concentration of artists and writers.

Beijing is modernizing as fast as it can, but also has a growing number of vintage businesses, like the hand-powered letterpress company, Paper Pounder Press.

Front press

It's run by Josh, an American who's firmly entrenched in Beijing. I discovered his work on a beer coaster beneath a delicious pint at the Great Leap Brewery, and paid a visit to talk about potential projects. 

Josh and new press demo

You never know what you'll find at a printmaker's studio. Dard Hunter (papermaker/printer/traveler) cast type in his New York papermill, which was thatched with rye grown on his own land. 

Paper Pounder has a vintage Chinese typewriter from the 80's. Its many characters look like a field of steel. I can't imagine trying to type a note on this thing.  

Chinese typewriter


Studio in evening

A card catalogue, now used to store type and designs

press and papercutter

and an antiquated paper cutter (right). On the left is a machine for printing large orders.

And who knows what they might crank out next?

Update: Paper Pounder Press has since returned to the US.


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