Gift Guide 2015: Dudes

Men! So hard to shop for, right? How many years in a row is too many when it comes to Gander Mountain/REI/Home Depot gift certificates? Never fear—whether it’s your boyfriend, best friend, brother or dad, I’ve got you covered this year!

123_P35

Dudes are the worst because they rarely lust after objects like women… and when they really want something, they just go buy it. But you know what dudes need but never buy? Art! The numerals print above is perfect for his office—especially if he’s a numbers guy… your accountants, actuaries, general nerds.

gift_guide_men_2105

Not so math-oriented? If there’s one thing all men love, it’s beer! This print was made by hand using antique wooden type on my antique printing press. Lots of antique things—hipsters and old souls alike love that shit. Round out your offering with these coasters and voila! A gift made in man cave heaven.

If you’re feeling super fancy, get in touch in the next week or so to commission a set of personalized coasters just for him! Pick a favorite color and I’ll print his name above “BEER goes here”! I can even print them with “scotch” or another favorite cocktail. Last day to order is December 9!

personalized_beer_5818

And finally, if your fella is a fashionista (or you just wish he was), here’s a collection that’s sure to please. First up: that skinny tie. Zuzu Wear is a husband and wife team handmaking ties in tons of fun fabrics and colors. Personally, I’m a fan of these floral numbers, but they offer some more traditional striped options as well.

While we’re on the subject of neckwear, I love a dude in a scarf. There’s nothing more manly than admitting it’s f*$#ing cold outside so let’s all bundle up, amiright? This hand-crocheted number will keep him cozy while not being overly full (read: girly).

In my opinion, no stylish person is complete without bespoke stationery. I made this set for my own mister with a lead typeface that’s friendly while remaining quite simple. Order your own set here!

gift_guide_men_21052

Happy Birthday Dirk!

A few weeks ago, a woman from California got in touch about custom letterpress coasters. She was throwing a 50th birthday party for her husband and was hoping to have a logo printed on them. She ended up not wanting to deal with the cost and time required for custom printing plates, but I presented her with several design options that I could do with what was already in my studio and decided to go with these!

personalized_beer_5818So today, somewhere in California, people are celebrating over custom coasters that I made and I love that! Want your own set? Order them here!

Long-awaited Studio Tour

Remember when I promised you a studio tour approximately one thousand years ago? Well, I thought I’d finally make good! Here’s where I spend my days:

BDA_studio_officeDesk: Obviously a lot of my time is spent here: designing new letterpress imagery, working on freelance design projects, managing social media and of course blogging! I try to keep my desk fairly neat, but let’s be honest, there is usually a bit more clutter!

BDA_studio_deskdetailsEven though I have significantly fewer appointments these days, I still love my planner. I finally discovered the most perfectly designed planner four or five years ago and have ordered the same style online every year since! For lists that need to last more than a week, I prefer a small notepad—the one pictured here is a very fancy letterpress version given to me by a former intern.

The coffee mug was thrown by yours truly in college. I love drinking from a handmade mug, I always taper my mugs at the bottom so they’re perfect to wrap hands around. And I make them extra large so I only need a few refills each morning.

On the right are Bermuda stamps so I’m ready to send a card any time. I love the stamps here—they’re absolutely gorgeous.

BDA_studio_press BDA_studio_press2Now for the lady of the house: I’ve got Bess set up on a rug with a piece of plywood underneath to protect our light-colored tile floors and my feet. With my type cabinet on my left and a clean table to my right for finished product, I’m set up for maximum productivity!

BDA_studio_inkI keep my ink on my type cabinet, as that’s sort of the “dirty zone.” You can ruin an entire run with one inky finger leaving marks on your work, so it’s important to sequester ink and non-clean items in one area and wash your hands A LOT. When I was in my parent’s house that meant going upstairs every time I needed to wash up, so I feel downright spoiled that our kitchen is just 10 feet away.

Anyway, I mix my ink with a putty knife on a thick piece of glass; standard printmaking procedure. I currently use oil-based inks by Gamblin and Graphic Chemical and save my mixed colors in folded-up freezer paper (another product of my printmaking roots). And yes, I always label colors really specifically: robin’s egg, light orchid, plum, often with notes about consistency as well.

BDA_studio_typecase BDA_studio_toolsThe top of my type cabinet is quite warped (imagine that after a century or so), so I lock up my type on the dresser I use for storage (it belongs to our landlords, so I protect it with a plastic cutting board that just happens to match my yellow rug). I didn’t bring all my furniture (which is the wood blocks used to keep the printing plate or type tight in the frame), so I just keep it in a ceramic bowl I threw in college.

Other necessary printing tools: a ruler, screwdriver, masking tape and pencil hang out on the small side table of my press.

BDA_studio_finishingOver on the clean side of things: a small table to lay out freshly printed work, and my cutting mat for trimming and folding. I use a rotary cutter, thanks to my mom who is a quilter. I find that it doesn’t leave the dragging edge of an exacto knife and it’s much easier on your hands!

BDA_studio_dresserThe newest addition to the studio is this dresser, pilfered from the upstairs guest bedroom with Andrew’s help. I was trying to get by with just a few small drawers of storage and it just wasn’t working out. The room is much cleaner and more organized with it!

Above it, I decided to create a sort of inspiration wall. The alphabet was printed by Sugar Cube Press and purchased at Anthology in Madison before I moved. I’ve added other prints I’ve made, photographs, art pieces from my Australian penpal and others, and my own letterpress circle garland.

BDA_studio_dresserdetails

Coaster Roller

My favorite new items from the last year are my coasters! The first were save the dates for this wedding, and since the minimum order of coaster blanks was 1,000 I started playing around with existing designs and wood type. Some of my faves were the drink coasters below, currently out of stock because I pared down for the move, but I’ll print some more soon!

drink coastersThe coasters have been so popular, I’ve since ordered a couple thousand more blanks. The first design I drew specifically for a coaster was this citrus design. I love to have a variety pack on hand for summer entertaining and I think a large quantity of single-color coasters would truly be great as part of a baby or wedding shower theme! They’re available here.

citrus_coastersGame day coasters are also awesome—the ones below are exclusively available at Driftless Studio in Madison, WI.

W coastersAnd finally, most recently things came full circle for another save the date for a couple in Australia. Get in touch if you need custom coasters of your own!

STD