This article was first published in the July 2020 issue of AP. The digital version of the magazine is available here.
Nicole Danger’s passion for print began when she discovered the craft and tradition of the letterpress print process, which dates back hundreds of years. From her first experience with letterpress, she was fascinated by the hiss and smell of ink, the clunk and whoosh of the press and the harmonious rhythm of sound.
“I yearned to understand and respect the craft and tradition of the letterpress printing process. It is the tactile nature and three- dimensional aspect of the impression, that is engaging and evokes emotion. These print qualities are unique and the main reason why I am so passionate about what I do,” Danger said.
Her interests lay in the Arts throughout High School, where she graduated with high grades in Graphic Design and Studio Art. After completing VCE, she worked as a receptionist in real estate, where she progressed through the ranks to become a department proper manager.
But after 12 years of pursuing what she thought to be a logical career path, she realised that she lacked job satisfaction and returned to her roots to re-ignite her passion for creativity.
“I was looking to find a new job, in a more hands-on environment, that would enable me to tap into my creativity,” Danger said.
“After some online research, I found Chapel Press which immediately sparked my interest. Even though there weren’t any job availabilities advertised, I handed in my resume and continuously kept in contact.
“My founding attributes of maturity, strong work ethic, determination, and good communication were highly regarded by my future employer. This helped to secure my job, where I was given the opportunity to commence a printing apprenticeship.”
As Danger commenced her apprenticeship at Chapel Press, she had to learn from the ground-up – from pre-press and plate-making to printing, finishing and dispatch.
“Kick-starting my career within a small business having no prior knowledge of print, I jumped at the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship. Training at Holmesglen Institute, opened up my world of print, encouraging me to learn more about the industry,” she said.
Some of Danger’s career highlights to date include demonstrating the operation of a Heidelberg T Platen press on the Chapel Press stand at the PacPrint trade exhibition in 2017; getting recognised as the LIA 2019 Victorian Graduate of the Year; and getting awarded the LIA Future Leader Award.
“I was honoured, humbled and surprised to be awarded the LIA Future Leader Award, which has been my biggest achievement in my career thus far. The award included a sponsorship from Visual Connections for further education within the print industry where I arranged to travel to Milan and Paris to gain further knowledge about specialised print techniques focusing on high-end luxury products,” she mentioned.
As a woman in print, Danger said she looks to her first employer, smaller business owners within the print industry and representatives of the LIA for inspiration.
Danger said some of the most interesting elements of her job involves the capabilities of what a press can do.
“This includes pushing the substrate and press to its limits to achieve the best print possible; or combining print processes – letterpress print, emboss, or hot foil stamp, which can be matched with offset or digital print to create a stunning keepsake piece,” she said.
“I enjoy the process from start to finish-seeing the artwork on screen, in production and the final product.”
Coming into the industry only recently, Danger said she never had any experience within the male dominated industry as reported years ago.
“Whilst I mainly had interactions with males, attending the Women in Print breakfast in Melbourne in 2019 allowed me to see how prominent women are within the industry – at all differing levels of employment – whether it is a printer, pre-press, administration, business owner or CEO,” she said.
“After speaking with women in the LIA, Visual Connections and Women in Print, I realised employment within the print industry is not solely to be a printer.
“There are many aspects of what is required to run a print business that doesn’t necessarily involve ‘getting your hands dirty’. To create interest for more women to join the industry, I think it would be ideal if Women in Print, as a group, were able to promote these careers to the youth.”
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