Suzanne Minatra, 35, poses inside her art studio in her Eagle Mountain Lake home. The letterpress artist owns Ordinary Day Press, a small business focused on making notecards, personalized stationery items and wedding invitations. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Suzanne Minatra and her father, Michael, trekked to Chicago to pull a $10,000 letterpress machine out of a woman’s basement. That was Minatra’s first machine.

But the journey began years before in graduate school. She went to the San Francisco Art Institute where her love for letterpress began.

“They had a letterpress studio, and it was a lot of fun,” Minatra said. “Up until shortly before I got into it, you could get (letterpress machines) for next to nothing because people were getting rid of everything because they don’t make any of its parts anymore.”

Now, Minatra, 35, owns a Vandercook press, a machine considered top of its kind, and runs Ordinary Day Press, her business that designs and prints wedding invitations, notecards and other personalized stationery.

Suzanne Minatra’s letterpress machine sits in her studio inside her Eagle Mountain Lake home. The Vandercook letterpress machine is considered top of its kind, Minatra said. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Minatra was always surrounded by artists growing up, she said.

Her mother drew when she was younger and “was always crafty,” Minatra said. Her dad is a musician, and her great-grandmother, who lived near her family near Eagle Mountain Lake, was also an artist.

“It was kind of a nurturing environment for the arts,” Minatra said.

How does a letterpress work?

Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing, “where the text or image is on a raised surface, similar to a rubber stamp. Ink is applied to the raised surface and then the paper is pressed directly against it to transfer the text/image,” according to Hoban Cards.

The press procedure was invented in 1041 in China, then in Europe 400 years later.

“It communicates an elegance and handcrafted quality that can’t be matched by any other printing method” that clients look for, but can be expensive. Minatra’s custom invitation services start at $800, and she doesn’t take orders for under 50 items.

Source: Hoban Cards

Minatra attended the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, 3901 S. Hulen St., and graduated in 2006. The school mostly focused on theater and choir at the time, Minatra said, not necessarily visual arts.

After the academy, Minatra moved to New York City and attended the Parsons School of Design, then San Francisco and finally back to Tarrant County.

Suzanne Minatra, 35, places a press template onto her letterpress machine inside her Eagle Mountain Lake home. Minatra owns and operates the Ordinary Day Press, a local letterpress business. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Minatra and her partner, Lindsey Morris, frequent vendor markets around Fort Worth and sell her personalized stationery products and notecards. Ordinary Day Press also has an online storefront for clients who cannot attend vendor markets.

“When we met, she was only really focused on doing the Arts Goggle. So she was doing one big market a year,” Morris said. “It has been interesting to watch her change along with the volume of work. It’s the nature of an artist in her head. She’ll see some of the strangest things and she’ll be like, ‘You know what? I think I’m gonna try this.’ Usually, I’m like, ‘I don’t know what that is. But yeah, cool, do it.’”

Morris, who is not an artist, said her appreciation for art has grown tremendously through Minatra’s artistry. 

“My mind is blown a lot over what she comes up with, and I think it’s the coolest thing. I think she’s so cool,” Morris said.

A press template sits on a letterpress machine ready to be used. The letterpress machine passes paper attached to an ink roller over the template to create pressed items. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...