Fill In the Blank

ombre_watercolor_5341While I’ve spent hundreds of hours over the years designing and producing custom invitation suites for weddings and parties, I realize not every event has the budget or timeline necessary for bespoke invites.

However, I believe more casual events deserve special stationery too, so I created the first several designs in a new line of fill-in invitations. Perfect for a dinner party, kids’ birthday, or casual shower, these flat letterpress invitations feature space to write in the details and are available in five designs—with more to come.

blue_spots_5589readymade_invite_ombre_watercolor_5346My two favorite designs (above) incorporate extra-special handmade elements. One features a hand-painted watercolor ombre background, while the other’s polka dots were carved by hand before being letterpress printed in baby blue ink. (And the latter has matching coasters available as well!)

These and more—bikes, daisies, lace—available in the shop!

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Limited edition watercolor & letterpress prints

Lately I’ve been feeling artsy with a capital A. I think it’s a reaction to the heavy production cycle I just finished, but I’ve had the urge to get my hands dirty for a few weeks now.

I’ve also been experimenting with creating limited edition prints with some of the new printing plates I created for the new collection (catch it here if you haven’t seen it yet!). I had sketched out the overall design of each print, I just couldn’t seem to find the right color combination to make them jive. I actually printed a few in silver and a few in gold, but didn’t love them… and then I had the idea to keep the ink neutral (black and white) and use bright watercolor washes for the backgrounds!

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The white ink ended up being a little more transparent than I expected, but I still really love the results. And I love how each one is absolutely unique—the cross between painting and print really speaks to me right now. quotes_5501

I printed 14 of each design and they’re available as a set of three in the shop—enjoy!

Travel Guide: The World is a Small Place

Sometimes you don’t need a plane ticket to learn about a new culture. I came across this video a few weeks back that captures why I think travel is so important: students from the U.S. are given the opportunity to connect via skype with students from Europe, Africa and Asia, and connection is precisely what happens.

After finding common ground in music and crushes, racism and daily obstacles, do you think these kids will grow up espousing an “us versus them” mentality? Of course not, because now they know someone who is not like them, and have discovered that they’re more alike than they thought. Take a few minutes to watch the video—it will totally make your Friday!

Debossed prints for Brain Mill Press

Last week, I received an email about a rush letterpress job for a Wisconsin book printer. They were releasing a new publication and wanted something special for customers who pre-ordered the book.

I only had a few days to create the print, but luckily, they were flexible on the design, so I was able to use some of the vintage lead type I have in the shop, and they were very interested in the idea of a blind deboss, which means no waiting time for ink to dry. (Plus, inkless prints are a bit cheaper than regular ones, since I’m using fewer supplies and save quite a bit of time without inking and cleaning the press.) I’ve written about creating an impression before, and this design was absolutely perfect for creating a deep, sharp deboss.

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I shuffled my schedule around a little and was able to complete these in time for their newsletter last weekend! Scroll down for more about the book and to see my bio!

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Interested in a custom print for your corporate or personal life? Shoot me an email, let’s see what we can come up with!

Prints & Recreation

Happy Galentine’s Day, dear readers! (Please tell me you totally got the Leslie Knope reference here.) Aaaaanyway all this romantic hullabaloo has me thinking about a Valentine making kit I had when I was young. It was filled with scraps of (fake) Victorian ephemera, little photos, pieces of lace and doilies and plastic rhinestones with adhesive on the back (way to be authentic, kit-makers).

This little seed has had me pondering ephemera and the ephemeral… after all, that is what I spend my life making these days. Ephemera traditionally refers to printed paper material—things that don’t last. Ephemeral essentially means temporary, but in an age of instant messages, facebook photo albums and email, almost everything stays digital—it’s the printed material that we hold on to and treasure. We only print the truly special photographs, or the important documents we cannot afford to lose in a cluttered inbox. Hand written notes get tucked away into secret hiding spaces to be pulled out when we need to feel a connection perfectly typed words can’t provide.

This is really just a long-winded way of saying now that the ephemera I make might be treasured years into the future, I totally overthink what I’m designing. Is it timeless? Will it feel classic or dated a decade from now? Does that matter? After all, we make Valentines with aesthetics that went extinct more than a century ago, we collect antique dishware and glorify the ‘60s and ‘70s, even though we wouldn’t be caught dead in Technicolor bell bottoms.

And maybe that’s part of the point—to capture a bit of the time period and remind us of what we thought was cool, even thought it’s not any more. (And who knows, if you wait long enough, it probably will be again! See: shoulder pads, neon, bow ties, mustaches…)

And so (here’s the part where I stop rambling and get to the point), with my new collection launching next week, I tried to design for how I’m feeling now, in early 2015, and not worry so much whether I’ll like these designs three years from now. And it feels like it worked. There’s a feeling of exuberance that my stationery hasn’t had up till this point. Letting go has released a sort of joy, which translates to the page, and is a good reminder for life. So while I’m still saving for retirement, I’m also trying to keep my mind in the present and live like life is ephemeral, because it is.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sorry for yelling in the post title, but I’ve got some pretty exciting stuff cooking over here in the studio. First and foremost, the Spring 2015 collection is very nearly finished, so check back for some thoughts on that and the big reveal next week!

In the mean time, I’m super excited to be hosting a big fat pre-V-day giveaway! If you want to get a bunch of free letterpress goodies, head over to 622 press’ Facebook page. Find one of the giveaway posts (it’s at the top of the page right now!) and tag a fellow letterpress lover in the comments. You must comment to be entered—simply liking the post won’t do the trick. Enjoy, and good luck!

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