Her name is Big Sal and she weighs just over 2,500 pounds.

Sal, a Chandler & Price printing press made in Cleveland in 1963, came seven years ago into Jess Bennett’s life and changed everything.

“Printmaking is a way of taking what I do on a computer and translating it into something that’s really an artisanal artistic medium,” said Bennett, 39, a graphic designer, former vice president of the Gatehouse magazine division. Ohio, including About Magazine. , and partner with her husband, Doug, in Jab Advertising.

Under the name Letterpress Jess, Bennett used her vintage press — she’s since acquired two more — to start printing fun and stylish greeting cards and art prints.

In partnership with Little Chicago Clothing Co., she owns a gift shop and studio called Print & Press which opened in 2016 at 429 Fourth St NW in downtown Canton.

Letterpress Jess products are stocked in 150 stores in 36 states and Canada, and the company actively participates in art, trade and maker shows.

Q. What prompted you to acquire a two-ton printing press and where did it come from?

A. “It was from Jim Dansizen, who ran Dansizen Printing. It was the last press he had in his collection and he was waiting for someone to give it to who wasn’t going to scrap it. I had my day job at design and an appreciation for the local art community for a long time. We made the book “Stark ARThology” 10 years ago to celebrate local artists. Graphic design is not always considered a traditional art , and I guess I always had I was looking for a way to turn the type of work I was doing into a form that would be considered art.”

Holiday Cards from Letterpress Jess.

Q. Your greeting cards are very funny, with unexpected punchlines. Can you give me examples?

A. “Some of the cards are very cute and sweet and appropriate for everyone, and some are irreverent and less appropriate for everyone. I have a card that says ‘Be Kind’ in big calligraphy, then there are smaller characters that say, ‘You really can be some kind of (moron).’ Another says, ‘Together’ but when you read it closer it says, ‘Together we can hide the body.’ They’re two big sellers. There’s one where a girl hugs a nun and cries and the nun says, “Leggings aren’t pants.” I like to use beautiful calligraphy and vintage imagery with modern, sarcastic sayings Ninety-nine percent of people get the joke, but it’s still tricky.

Q. Would you say the cards reflect your personality?

A. “When I see people laughing at cards at shows, I’m like, ‘I thought I sucked and there must be other people like me.’ I have a kind of dark humor but I also like super cute things.The cards reflect my many personalities quite well.

popular print

Q. You also do frameable art prints. What are the most popular?

A. “There is a growing range of ‘The Realm’ prints which are state maps designed to resemble JRR Tolkien’s prints of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ with small mountains and trees that treat the state like it’s an island in We started with The Realm of Ohio and I’ve done eight states now.They’re our best-selling prints of all time.

Q. What do you ship to retail, Print & Press?

A. “We have Little Chicago apparel and Letterpress Jess cards and prints, of course, but we also have about 30 other brands that we carry, mostly Ohio makers, but others from the Midwest. Candles, jewelry , hats and scarves, decorating items, all kinds of gift ideas.For the holiday season, we’re doing 25% off all Little Chicago apparel and six cards for $20.

Cards and prints from Letterpress Jess and clothing from Little Chicago Clothing Company are the main attractions at Print & Press store in downtown Canton.

Q. Is there a relationship between the traders in the town centre?

A. “Yes, we’re in it together. We take advantage of the fact that the Canton Arts District has become a known entity, especially on the first Friday. The stores support each other, and the restaurants also support each other. When we promote the center- city ​​overall it floats all ships. When people come to Print & Press I like to think they check out other businesses. There are tons of things to do downtown, and small businesses need support now more than ever.

Print & Press hours of operation are 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday. Open until 9 p.m. on first Fridays. The full line of Letterpress Jess products is available at LetterpressJess.com.

Handmade items from more than 30 makers, mostly from Ohio, can be found at the Print & Press store at 429 Fourth St. NW in downtown Canton.