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My Favorite Pressman … Is a Woman

Written by in Profiles

Beauty of the Letterpress Profile Series: Judith Berliner and Full Circle Press

Like Fine Wine or Chocolate,

Better With Age.

Judith Berliner’s father, Harold Berliner, was famous in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Lake Tahoe. He was a career district attorney and co-author of the Miranda Rights Warning (“You have the right to remain silent…”) While his day job was District Attorney, his occupational mistress was letterpress, type making and the most exquisite finishing techniques he could find.

“Split Fountain Mountain All Star Printers Day”
This summer, Full Circle Press hosted a retreat day with Neenah papers’ Creative Director, Tom Wright & regional reps where Neenah got a chance to learn first hand how letterpress equipment is used on Neenah paper. A poster and coaster was written and designed By FCP and printed, die cut and foiled as a group. The event was built around fishing, eating and hanging out in the mountain town of Nevada City, California, where the press shop lives.



Tom Wright of Neenah Paper makes the call: Purple Haze.

“My dad met my mom in Chicago at a Catholic greeting card shop so after they got married and he opened up a Catholic greeting card company in Nevada City,” recalls Judith who began working a press when she was fourteen. “I did not want to go to college so I followed my dad into printing. For 12 years I worked in the pressroom of the Graphic Center in Sacramento, eventually one of the largest commercial printers in California with 200+ employees.” Judith was the only  “girl” in the pressroom. Chauvinism was a pressroom hazard, and she knew it.

In 1991, Judith left Graphic Center to arrive “full circle” back in Grass Valley and into family print tradition. Her business back door faces her childhood home’s back yard. She is healthy and fully engaged in her business and adores her team of four. She views Beauty of the Letterpress as a tool to expose more audiences to the craft’s pleasures. Education, she insists, will spread letterpress fever.




Full Circle Letterpress: All Smiles.

“Neenah has been a great supporter of the craft of letterpress printing. Some papers cannot be printed on in any other way. Neenah knows the more you educate designers and event planners on fine printing processes, the more desire they will have to put their vision onto paper. And the more their own customers see and touch letterpress, the greater the demand for the process.

“As people spend more time in front of computers and digital media, she explains, “the more letterpress-produced objects are perceived as ‘art’ in the hands of the receiver. The experience is like tasting fine wine or chocolate: once you’ve tasted the good stuff, you want more and you want to talk about it. A letterpress junkie cannot just hand over a letterpress business card, they have to tell people about it — and that is a level of personal connection worth far more than money anything else money can buy.”


Hey?! What’s the Big Idea!?!
Paper Specs: CRANE’S LETTRA®, 220C, Fluorescent White
Printer: Full Circle Press, Grass Valley, CA
Contact: Judith Berliner or Liz Thiem

CRANE’S LETTRA ® Registered Trademark of Crane & Co., Inc.

  1. 08
    Katherine said:

    You can never go wrong with dancing bears. Purple Haze, most excellent choice.