Hatch Show Print

A few weeks ago my husband and I went on a road trip to Nashville. After seeing the Hermitage (the presidential home of Andrew Jackson), the Parthenon, Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry we soon realized that the nature of this particular trip would be a touristy one.

Having said that, there was but one destination that was a mandatory request on my part and that was to see Hatch Show Print.

Hatch Show Print at 316 Broadway. Nashville, TN

Hatch Show Print at 316 Broadway. Nashville, TN

I’ve always been a fan of rock and roll letterpressed posters. I love the unique feel each one gives. A few weeks prior I’d bought a Johnny Cash poster online from Hatch Show Print. While I was aware of their print shop I have to admit at the time I didn’t know that much about it.

The first thing you notice upon entering the never ending walls of classic letterpressed posters is the smell of ink. It’s overwhelming and it reminds you that this is more than a retail poster shop. Each poster was made by hand here and contemporary posters are being designed and created just a few feet back from the retail section of the shop.

Hatch Show Print's overwhelming interior

Hatch Show Print's overwhelming interior

After hiking $120 worth of posters and miscellaneous merchandise onto the counter I asked if tours were given of the facilities. The cashier looked behind her and around the shop. She told me that if I was willing to stick around until the other customers left she’d show me around. It was a 45 minute wait but well worth it. After all, it would have taken hours to fully take in all of the posters on the walls.

Printing press at work

Printing press at work

During my tour I learned that The Country Music Hall of Fame bought HSP to preserve it as part of its museum. I was told that a number of people have tried to buy either individual letter blocks or entire alphabets but were denied because every block and letter is part of a historical archive that is Hatch Show Print.

Jim Sherraden, manager, curator and chief designer of HSP, has been creating original artwork based on the shop’s archives since 1992. The shop’s motto is “preservation thru production.”

When he came to the shop in the mid-1980s, Sherraden set out to re-strike the old hand-carved posters including country music, minstrel shows, circuses and carnivals, silent film and “talkies,” rodeos and animal shows.

From there he took the reprints to the next level by creating original monoprints by overlaying photo plates and wood and metal type.

Johnny Cash original (left) and updated (right) posters

Johnny Cash original (left) and updated (right) posters

Patsy Cline original poster (left) and updated monoprint (right)

Patsy Cline original poster (left) and updated monoprint (right)

While on my personal tour I saw several craftswomen at work, running presses and cutting into linoleum blocks. It was truly inspiring to see sheets coming off of a press one color at a time. You could see the textured layers of the ink in far more detail than you would otherwise. Of course being able to smell the ink on the posters tapped into an entirely different sense.

I would highly recommend a stop into this shop to any designer, music history buff, artist, printmaker or anyone for that matter. It was a fascinating and unique experience.


2 Responses to “Hatch Show Print”

  1. 1 laurenmosko November 12, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks for giving us such a great tour, Terri. AMAZING pics, too. HSP seems like a can’t-miss Nashville institution. Way cool.

  2. 2 theshrug November 13, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Yes, very cool post! Love the pics.

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