Thank You Notes

thanks_9921As New Year’s approaches, I find myself reflecting on the year that’s passed. As I send out Christmas cards, I take the opportunity to tell friends and family what they mean to me, usually thanking them for various kindnesses throughout the year. This year I thought I’d do the same for my business. As I grow and put more of myself into 622 press/studio I find that the businesses and clients helping me realize this dream mean even more to me. Don’t worry, I’ll be sending cards, but I also thought I’d share here!

Iconi Interiors: About a million years ago, when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing business-wise, the owner of a gorgeous home interiors shop I truly admired took a chance on my work. I wrote about how absolutely floored I was at the time, but looking back, I realize her buy gave me the confidence to pursue all my other wholesale clients, which has become a huge portion of my business.

Driftless Studio: I’ve written about her a lot over the years, because the shop has been instrumental to the growth of 622 press. Not only does Driftless sell the most product of all my wholesalers, owner Anne is an amazing collaborator, never hesitant to share what she thinks will sell best, offering ideas and commissioning projects she truly believes in. And she’s always willing to let me peek behind the scenes of her business, which will quite possibly help me for years to come. As a creative running a successful retail shop, she has become a shining example of what I hope to someday grow up to be!

When Pigs Fly: This shop is owned by my friend’s mom, so it took me a long time to approach her about wholesale, but I’m so glad I did! Kim is always up for trying out new product and I love that! It’s been so important, especially in this year of growth. She’s currently the only retailer carrying my paper flowers!

Lark & Woods Grove: Both of these fabulous stores approached me out of the blue to carry 622 press goods. Just the fact that they were sold on the product alone has been a huge confidence booster this year!

Brain Mill Press: The projects Brain Mill Press sends my way make me feel so incredibly lucky to be able to spend my days doing what I love. With this second commission of art prints, I feel like a part of the BMP family: looking forward to our continued success and collaborations!

Card Club subscribers: Even though it’s a one-way relationship, I feel connected to the women I send cards to every month. I love thinking about what their stationery needs might be for the month, what pieces would round out their collection. Plus they help me keep my inventory in check, and for that I’m very grateful!

There are many more wedding and freelance clients that have really made a difference this year, and if you’re reading this you know who you are :) Thanks for an amazing 2015, here’s to another successful year!

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.


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!


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

rough drAft books

Isn’t there something wonderful about a fresh notebook? That first, crisp page staring blankly at you can be intimidating, and yet inviting—receiving the mark of your pen is its purpose after all. A book that also happens to be a beautiful work of art in itself can become quite the treasure.

Today we meet E, proprietor of Rough Draft Books and maker of amazing pieces with a noble goal. She’ll tell us a little bit about what she does, why she does it and how her work ended up being carried by Anthropologie! Along the way, she dispenses some advice we can all take to heart. Enjoy!

Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
The work I make for my book studio, roughdrAftbooks, is mostly hand made book forms. Their purpose is simple: to aid in this obsession I have with recording stories and storytelling. I am making spaces for people to document their lives. I am hoping in some small way it serves to keep the art of writing and oral storytelling from ever completely disappearing. I am hoping if people write their stories, they will then tell their stories and as the history of the world is being recorded each day, all these new voices will be heard. And hopefully, collectively, that history will be more reflective of all the people who have lived lives here. That’s a lot to ask of a hand made book I know, but we like to dream big round these parts! [laughs]

How did you learn your craft?
A dear friend of mine started making books after we graduated college and she started showing me some simple forms. I got really interested and started taking a few classes here and there and finally was hooked. From then on, it was just practice, practice, practice. My training is in graphic design and art history so I came to book binding later on in the game. But once it found me, thanks to that friend, I knew it was the perfect fit for all my aesthetic sensibilities.

Where do you find all your beautiful papers and materials?
Most of the books I make now are hand painted using spray paint and acrylic or drawn on in marker or pencil right on the cover boards. They really are these intimate little paintings that just happen to be book covers. Most are one of a kind. When I do use papers or found objects, they are coming from a variety of places and most are scraps actually. The metal is from junk yards and the paper is from years and years of hoarding! I do get some of the specialty papers from Talas or Hollanders online.

How has your work evolved?
My work specifically to book making has evolved so much in the last 10 years. I think when you are learning a new craft in the beginning the learning curve is steep so you are just mastering the skill of how to make something, you are just getting used to the vocabulary. As you get better and the actual making becomes second nature, your ideas can finally be more clearly realized. I’m at a point now where I am simply trying to say what I mean in the form and in the content, making those two serve each other is difficult at times. In the end though I hope for the user, it’s still a beautiful object that doubles as a space for someone to tell their story in.

What is your greatest challenge?
I guess my greatest challenge is always time. I always have more ideas than hours in a day or energy I can muster! I just keep copious amounts of lists and sketchbooks filled with notes and ideas in hopes one day I will see them through to creation. Wishful thinking!

What inspires you?
There is a constant thread of things I am inspired by on a visceral level and then there is always some newly “found” love of my life things fluttering about inspiring me to no end. Right now—this second—I am enthralled by banjos and fiddles, filtered light, crushes, army green, scarf-wearing weather and owning a camera again. But the list of inspiration that is embedded inside me is: lines, land masses, cracks, horizons, territories, earth surfaces, natural patterns, chance. crevices, stories, the space between things. pauses. Words and their fluid meanings, memory, tension, shape; the way one line meets up against another, or where one colors starts to change into its opposite. I like thinking about middle grounds. I don’t know, I suspect I am pretty transparent, you can kind of see those influences in the stuff I make… ok not the banjos.

Tell us about your etsy business.
I don’t feel like I am very good at etsy although I do love it. I came to it as a customer and an admirer way before I decided to sell my books on the site.
I started selling them in 2009 on etsy, but I’ve been making them for about 12-15 years now. I think I am still a beginner so I make mistakes daily. Etsy isn’t my full time job but making things is. I just make them for a variety of platforms not just online.

What advice do you have for new etsians?
Good luck brave souls, go forth and MAKE.

Where can readers find your work?
You can find my work in Philadelphia shops like ArtStar and the Art Shop at Moore College of Art & Design. If you aren’t in Philadelphia, check out your local Anthropologie store and give a look. Also on too!

How did the relationship with Anthropologie come about and what was it like working with a national retailer?
Yes, thanks so much. I have been collaborating with Anthropologie for about 4 years now in terms of making objects for their stores to sell. For me, I was lucky because I already had a relationship with the company and we have an aesthetic that compliments each other. I think that’s the best thing to try to find if you are trying to get your work out into the world. Find places that speak to your work’s inherent aesthetic sensibility because everything is not for everyone. Find the people or the environment that will appreciate and support your kind of work.

Type Image

Several years ago, Barbara Brownie contact me to ask if she could include my White Noise Prints in a book she was working on called The Typed Image. As she was a professor, I figured it would be a small print run by an on-campus publishing house, but I was thrilled to be included nonetheless.

Three years, a title change and 224 pages later, Type Image is now available internationally. I’ve pre-ordered a copy and will hopefully be able to show off my page shortly, but in the mean time, here’s the cover!


What’s with the disappearing act?! Sorry readers, blogging fell by the wayside…again. Luckily, I’ve got a great post for you today that was totally worth the wait. Without further adieu, KER-BLOOM!

When I grow up, I either want to be a full time letterpress artist or produce a magazine… the next artist in the series is lucky enough to do both! For the last 15 years, Artnoose has written, designed and produced an issue of Ker-bloom letterpress zine every other month.

I’ll admit, this post is mostly self-indulgent, I just wanted a peek inside Artnoose’s world. But there’s a lot of great advice below, enjoy!

Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
My zine Ker-bloom! is a letterpress-printed personal zine. I started producing it in 1996 because I thought I had enough to say to fit into a zine. At the time I was already doing letterpress printing, and so I honestly figured it would be the most accessible means of production available to me. Over the years my reasons for making it have changed. It has often been my lifeline to the outside world when everything in my life was going to the dogs. It has also been my way of inspiring myself to keep going. After a while my personal identity became sort of wrapped up in it, and I have gone on tour several times because of my zine.

How do you define “zine”?
My shortest answer—the one I give at craft fairs—is that it’s a self-published publication. The defining factors are somewhat vague but often include: doesn’t have an ISBN, not for profit, made by a person/collective rather than a company, not large enough to be a newspaper, etc. There are a lot of publications that dwell within gray areas of the definition, like perfect-bound issues of Cometbus— are they books or zines? I’m okay with the fact that the demarcation lines are fuzzy.

How did you learn letterpress and book arts?
I went to the California College of Arts and Crafts and took the bookmaking class taught by Betsy Davids. I learned letterpress and bookbinding from her. For the next year I was both the teacher’s assistant for the bookmaking class as well as the shop tech for the printmaking department. After that it was just years and years of practice. I still know some basic bookbinding although I don’t use it terribly often.

Tell us about your process—producing a zine every other month for over 10 years seems like a ton of work!
This summer I will have been printing my zine every other month for 15 years, never skipping any or being late. It is a ridiculous amount of work, and it’s funny how over the years my life has evolved into two month cycles. The odd months of the year are my brewing months—when I mull over what I’m going to write about next and what the cover is going to look like. By the beginning of the even month I like to have the topic chosen and sometimes even a draft written up. The even months are production months. I once calculated that it take me 40 hours to physically produce an issue, although I haven’t recounted recently to see if that’s changed. Regardless, I always have to keep my zine schedule in mind when making travel plans or life plans in general. There were times that I was working two jobs, and during those years making my zine was really stressful.

How has your work evolved?
I’m not sure if it’s evolved that much, in that it’s the exact same size as it’s been for 15 years. I’m a little more experimental with my cover design, and sometimes I try to mix things up a little because I’ve been writing it for so many years. For example, I recently made a Mad Libs issue, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

What is your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge is still the self-doubt that comes with doing any ongoing project: is my writing any good, do people like my zine, does public opinion matter, should I be doing this at all, should I do something else? Stuff like that pretty much all the time.

What inspires you? How do you come up with content?
My brain is full of content. Sometimes it’s a matter of just choosing which idea to write about next. Occasionally I’m at a little bit of a loss for ideas, but this has only happened every few years or so. Other times I have my ideas planned out months in advance. Sometimes I have ideas for a zine for years before I actually write them.

Tell us about your etsy business.
I heard about Etsy in 2005 when it first started. Some zine folks told me about it. At the time it was free to list and there were no expiration dates on the listings. I figured it was worth a shot since it was free. At the time I also had an online store that didn’t get many sales. It wasn’t long before my Etsy store far outsold my other one. Listing subscriptions to my zine was also a great boon—I have a lot of new subscribers from people purchasing them on Etsy, which is really nice because they get to read multiple issues and it’s almost always a repeat purchase after a year. My main job is as a self-employed letterpress printer, doing mostly wedding invitations and business cards. Selling on Etsy definitely helps out though.

Where can readers find your work?
My zine is in the following bookstores: Bound Together Books (SF), Needles & Pens (SF), The Long Haul (Berkeley), Powell’s Books (Portland), Left Bank Books (Seattle), Quimby’s (Chicago), Firestorm (Asheville), Internationalist Books (Chapel Hill), Book Thug Nation (Brooklyn), Bluestockings (NYC), and The Big Idea (Pittsburgh). It is also available online in a couple of distros: and Both of these distros, by the way, have copies of popular issues I’m completely out of, so I recommend checking them out in addition to my Etsy shop.

What advice do you have for new etsians?
Photos are really important for the listing, especially that first photo. I used to have a wider shot for the first photo and then detail shots for the rest, but now I try to have a compelling first picture because not only is that the thumbnail that people see in searches but also because it’s more likely to make it into a treasury. And remember, making it into a treasury is the way to make it onto the front page. So now, I try to think, “Is this picture front page worthy?” when I put in that preliminary photo.