In a quiet most obscure building on Spring Street, beautiful things are happening. My partner and I took a visit to Thornwillow; a printing press that employs about 20 people that creates beautiful books and stationery right in Newburgh. If you didn’t know the printing press was there, you would never guess it in a million years. We even passed it and had to back up just to make sure we were in the right place.
Newburgh used to be a very industrious place. The Thornwillow building is a testament to that since it used to be a coat factory. Our tour guide Jen, tells us that they kept finding buttons in little crevices all over the building for a very long time. There were many many factories that powered the economy that built Newburgh into the mini metropolis it became. People would go to work at the various factories around the city, and then go home via trolley, bus, car, or foot. Hopefully one day, Newburgh will get that accessibility back.
Founder, Luke Ives Pontifell ended up in Newburgh when his wife put a compass on a map of where their apartment was located and drew a one hour radius. They fell in love with the architecture and history of Newburgh and ended up here.
One thing that really stands out is all the heavy duty machinery and equipment. You can tell they have age and use to them but, at the same time they perform wonderfully. Using these “antiques” is the only possible way to achieve the high quality products Thornwillow produces.
Everything that they make is created by hand. They can restore and rebind any book you please. They even offer a copy of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 2009.
Thornwillow is also catching the eye of publications nation wide. They have been featured in Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and InStyle Magazine. Their latest feature was in the New York Times. Founder, Luke Ives Pontifell takes writer Rima Suqi on a trip for bookends in NYC. Click here to listen to a radio interview with Luke regarding the Vassar College exhibit marking the 25th anniversary of Thornwillow Press.
They use paints to make one of a kind linings for the inside of their book covers. It can be a messy process but, the end result is beautiful. They acheive marblelized and fabric-like effects.
Mr. Pontifell recently went on an international trip to Germany to acquire the latest additions to the print shop. And, it was quite a feat to get them to Newburgh! He’s been collecting printing presses for years from all over the US and owns about 30 of them.
With so much that’s going on it might be impossible to imagine that there might be something more in store for Thornwillow. But, there is. Soon Thornwillow will have it’s own library boutique shop in the opulent St. Regis Hotel. It will be a gallery show casing their books, bindings, stationery, and artwork. Like Tiffany & Co. 100 years ago, when they made everything they sold, this gallery will show all of Thornwillow’s work made at the press in Newburgh. It’s quite exciting to see such great things coming out of Newburgh. If you want to see more, check out the video and pictures below. You can also attend a special exhibition at Vassar College celebrating Thornwillow’s work for the past 25 years. There will be a special talk, reception, and tour of the exhibit on Oct. 9th. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (845) 437-5799. It will be on display till December 2010.