One of the highlights of our Nashville trip was the Hatch Show Print Block Party. For two hours, you can create as many posters, postcards, linen bags, etc. as you want using the stamps and ink available. So much fun!
If you don’t already know about Hatch Show Prints, you will after a visit to Nashville. The prints are everywhere! The print shop company has been around for 144 years. They used hand-carved imagery and letterpress to create their posters.
Hatch Show Print completes more than 600 poster jobs a year, many for country performers. In all, they print about 250,000 posters on their 10 presses. Hatch Show Print is considered one of the most prolific letterpress print shops, and in the shop (as opposed to this studio we used), you can see their blocks – many of them vintage wood type and carved wood and linoleum blocks. More on that later.
You can sign up for the Hatch Show Print Block Party if you are 18+, so unfortunately you can’t bring your younger kids. Check the calendar for the times – they only have 12 spots per block party, so if you know you’ll be in town, sign up early.
The Hatch Show Print Block Party costs $60 and includes all the supplies, including a t-shirt you can print on if you want (you can also bring your own shirts). they have tote bags, tea towels, and small toiletries bags as well, all included in the price. Plus various paper sizes (including black paper). And you keep your apron, seen in the photo above.
The staff gives a history of Hatch Show Prints and shows you some of the designs they’ve created over the years, then they demonstrate how to do it. After that, you go to work and can create as many art pieces as you want in the two hours. You let them dry on the racks in the photo above, or below your bench, or you can hang them up.
If you want to use a different color ink than what is on the blocks already, they will clean them off for you. At the end, they wrap up your work and tell you how to let it dry so you can travel with it. Our pieces made it home with no problems, so we were thrilled about that. They also have a special solvent to clean your hands, which you’ll need because your hands will be inky.
I created mostly posters (one of my favorites is the one on the left above). It is harder to print on cloth and after trying on one of the toiletry bags (one side was fine, the other side not so much), I decided to stick to paper.
You can also take a tour of the Hatch Show Print workshop – above. That is a separate cost and tour, and they are daily between 10 and 4 and tours are an hour. The presses don’t run on the weekends, so if you want to see them actually working, get there on a weekday. Kids are allowed on this tour.
Hatch Show Print is in the Country Music Hall of Fame building downtown. They have a museum gallery which is free to visit, and a gift shop as well. The tours and the Hatch Show Print Block Party can be accessed from the gift shop area.
Initally Hatch Show Prints were used as advertisements for various shows. As the internet and other media took over, there was less of a need for the posters as ads, and they ultimately because keepsakes. In addition to country shows, Hatch Show Print has made them for films, circus and state fair advertisements, and custom orders. I enjoyed the exhibit of show prints Nashville’s airport.
Check out other things to do in Nashville – without kids.