We had the good fortune of connecting with Norman Clayton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Norman, what matters most to you?
Professionally speaking, collaboration and mastery are very important to me as a letterpress printer, graphic designer and book maker. For my clients, I make books that are unique in their form and expression. For each book project, the paper, typeface, design and binding are carefully considered with choices driven by the content and intention of the client. While creative collaboration is the foundation of each book I design and make; striving for excellence with mastery of materials, typography and printing are always guiding principles.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Working for myself, running a creative business, has been full of sacrifices and failures as well as greatness and deep satisfaction. Lessons have been painful to learn and self-doubt is never far away. Hopefully by the end of my career I will look back and feel that it was worth the difficulties for the achievement of joy creating one successful collaboration after another. I believe I will look back without regret because I do feel I am following a deep purpose to make beautiful books for the enjoyment of all.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here in Ojai there are two excellent bookstores: Bookends Bookstore and Bart’s Books. My favorite restaurants are The Ranch House, Ojai Rotie and the newly opened Izakaya Full Moon. There are wonderful hiking trails that surround the valley. I shop weekly at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings. Hopefully live music and theatre will return soon.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Recently I sent samples of my finest work with thank you letters to two of the most important teachers I studied with at the Rhode Island School of Design. Now retired from teaching, Inge Drukrey and Ernie Bellaire are both now in their mid-nineties and they received my appreciations with pleasure. I am so glad that I reached out after diligently practicing what I learned from them over the last 30 years. My letterpress mentor, Jim Wehlage, will always be central to the success and enjoyment of my work.

Website: www.classicletterpress.biz, www.providencepressojai.com

Instagram: classicletterpress

Linkedin: Norman Clayton

Image Credits
Eric Dahan

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