Purgatory Pie Press printed in Tribeca for 27 years.
“Purgatory Pie Press is a sanctuary for artists, designers and typographers who are seduced by the kiss of type and the touch of metal.”–Steven Heller, AIGA Journal of Graphic Design
Letterpress printmaker Dikko Faust and artistic director Esther K. Smith have been collaborating on limited editions, artist books, cards, and prints for forty years, and have worked with more than one hundred artists and writers along the way. Their work is in many public and private collections from MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, and Cooper Hewitt, to London’s Tate, Azerbaijan’s Miniature Book Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. Smith taught artist book classes at Cooper Union and has been a visiting artist at Cooper Hewitt, Museum of Arts and Design, Princeton, Harvard, and many more institutions in the US, UK, and Canada. Faust teaches letterpress printmaking at the School for Visual Arts. Together, Smith and Faust travel, teaching, lecturing, and exhibiting their work. Highlights include exhibitions in the rare book libraries of the Metropolitan Museum and London’s V&A. After twenty-seven years printing in Tribeca, Purgatory Pie Press now resides in Brooklyn Army Terminal, in ArtBuilt’s curated studio space.
The Press began in 1977 when Dikko Faust was studying with Walter Hamady at the University of Wisconsin. On his first day of letterpress class, Faust “pied” (spilled) an overfilled job case of eight-point Century Oldstyle. Instead of sneaking out of town, he sorted that type day and night for weeks, and even spent some nights sleeping on the model stand in the drawing studio. He then went on to complete his first two books and the paper for his third, move to New York City, and become the staff letterpress printer at the nascent Center for Book Arts. Purgatory Pie Press merged with the EK Smith Museum in 1980. Faust and Smith’s wedding invitation in 1980 was their first print collaboration. Since then, they have collaborated on every Purgatory Pie Press project to date, as well as Smith’s big-publisher books: How to Make Books (Random House) a reprint of Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders &c. (Rizzoli), Making Books with Kids (Quarto), The Paper Bride (Random House), and Magic Books & Paper Toys (Random House).