Big Wheel Press was founded by Bill Muller in 2006.
He had first been introduced to the world of hand printing by his father in 1964. After seeing The Ideal Toy Company's home printing press, called The Big Press, in Popular mechanics, he bought one as a gift for Bill. (see image below)
Art, design and handmade crafts have been apart of Bill's life ever since (see bio below). For 30 + years he has owned Guild Art Supply, a fine art supply store in Northampton, Ma. If it weren't for this endeavor, he may not have ever found himself in his own print studio! It was during a visit to his friend (and old employee), artist Ali Osborn's, studio that Bill become driven and determined to start up his very own letterpress studio. Ali, a printmaker, had been hand printing an edition of prints while Bill stood, watching in amazement, as one print was inked, aligned, spoon rubbed and set out in a line to dry. A conversation on letterpress printing started and from there equipment was researched and shortly after, acquired.
The first press was a Pearl #14. The Pearl has a large cast iron flywheel. This distinctive characteristic of the press was, in part, where the press name Big Wheel came from (the other being a throwback to his very first Big Press from 1964).
Bill Muller, Printer/Designer: Bill has been involved with letterpress since high school in California where he did page layout with hot type for the school newspaper…way before computer composition. While working for the Valley Advocate in the late 70′s he operated stat cameras and photo typesetting equipment and did old fashioned paste up.
Christopher Campbell, Printer: Chris has a BFA from Framingham State with a dual concentration in sculpture and ceramics. The sculptural quality of the old presses and machinery is what originally drew him to letterpress. This soon became a passion for the imperfect and tactile feel of old type and ink meeting paper.
Lisa Hersey, Printer/Binder: Lisa began her studies at Montserrat College of Art, in Beverly, MA. She spent all of her time in the print basement working with lead and wood type, creating broadsides and books. After graduation she continued her bookbinding studies by helping out in a fine art studio. Lisa is in charge of any glueing and folding that happens at our studio.
Shelly Channell, Printer's Devil/ Graphic Design: Shelly got her start in Graphic Design at Westfield State University. Now that she has the computer design world down, she is learning the history of where it all began by getting her hands dirty with type and ink.