|Duncan and Katie in their home studio. Photo courtesy of Heritage NL.
In this episode we talk with mentor Duncan Major, and apprentice Katie Butler Major who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program.
Duncan learned the craft of letterpress from Tara Bryan, a painter and book artist who was well known internationally for her letterpress work. He started working as Tara’s apprentice in 2000 at the age of 14. In this role Duncan helped make handmade, limited-edition artist’s books. The pair continued to collaborate until Tara’s death in 2020.
Since 2004, Duncan has operated Walpurgis Press with Katie Butler Major, making cards and sundries. Duncan has introduced bookmaking and printing to kids in St. John’s, Goose Bay, North West River and Nain.
|Working on the Love poster during the apprenticeship. Photo submitted by Duncan Major and Katie Butler Major.
Katie has always been drawn to handcrafts. She is an avid sewer and knitter, and enjoys working with her hands creatively—so letterpress is a natural fit for her. Katie has helped design and produce invitations, coasters, and cards. As Duncan’s partner, she has learned the basic printing process and is also familiar with the materials that go along with printing. Katie has participated in Printer’s Fairs organized by the Book Arts Association, met letterpress artists from abroad, and visited Running the Goat’s printshop in Tors Cove.