Owner of Ruby Victoria Letterpress & Printmaking, Narelle Badalassi is a 36 year old mother of two beautiful kidlets; a wife to a very talented musical composer and a printer of linocut and letterpress stationery and artworks. She shares a little of her letterpress and printmaking story with us.

Letterpress - Ruby Victoria Christmas

Ruby Victoria Letterpress and Printmaking (photo supplied)

Letterpress: Ruby Victoria

by Narelle Badalassi

I grew up in the sea side town of Devonport on the north west coast of Tasmania.  After leaving high school I completed an art, craft and design Associate Diploma at TAFE Tasmania. I majored in printmaking and photography. While studying, I worked at a little picture framing shop a couple of days a week.

After graduation I got a commercial printing apprenticeship as a print machinist. This is where I first met a Heidelberg platen press (most people know them as a windmill press). Little did I know that machine would, in later years, fuel a passion for letterpress. I would run the platen, printing invoice books and scoring, numbering and perfing as well as printing on lithographic offset presses.

I didn’t really think too much about the letterpress at the time, as I wasn’t really doing anything creative. The compositor was very protective of his lock up room, so I never learned anything about locking up forms until I started up my printing studio, Ruby Victoria Letterpress many years later.

Letterpress - Beehive Book Labels

Beehive book labels (photo supplied)

I left the printing industry to have my son Christopher and live many years without creativity. After another child (Ruby) and lots of uncreative jobs, I decided that it was time for me to do something I really enjoyed doing. Just for me. I began drawing and printing again and selling at local markets. To my surprise, people really liked my work!

This was very encouraging and set me on a path to developing Ruby Victoria Letterpress & Printmaking. After selling at a local design market in Hobart, and two years of working from home on my kitchen table, I now have a beautiful, bright studio space by the sea in the historical suburb of Battery Point in Hobart.

Letterpress - Ruby Victoria Printmaking Gift Tags

Ruby Victoria Letterpress (photo supplied)

With the move to the new space it means I have more room to have all the other equipment I have had in storage, like my Ludlow type casting machine. With this particular machine, I will be able to caste my own lines of type to print with. I will then have access to a larger range of typefaces to use and recycle after printing with.

The studio space also means I will be able to hold classes in linocut printing and some basic letterpress printing. So all very exciting… considering I started off with a pack of $7.00 carving tools; a piece of lino; a small tub of ink and some paper on my kitchen table!

From these humble beginnings I have been able to grow my little business from attending local markets to wholesaling my work in many regions of Tasmania. Retailers stock my work in most states of Australia, and I have my work exhibited internationally along with other contemporary letterpress designers from all around the world.

Letterpress - Printmaking

Ruby Victoria Letterpress (photo supplied)

More of Ruby Victoria Letterpress

Ruby Victoria Letterpress has been featured in publications such as…

  • The Little Book of Letterpress US 2010
  • Reinventing Letterpress UK 2010
  • 1000 More Greetings US 2011
  • Typeface Magazine CAN 2011
  • Better Homes and Gardens US 2010
  • Home Beautiful Magazine Aus 2011
  • Mixtape Zine Aus
  • Spoonful Zine Aus 2010
  • Handmade Living Aus 2010
  • and the soon to be published I (heart) Stationery UK & US

Ruby Victoria Letterpress online stores…

You will find Narelle at the Barn Market held at Rosny Farm. For more information, join Ruby Victoria Letterpress on Facebook or contact Narelle Badalassi by phone: (03) 6229 3851 or 0414 071 145