Paper Flower Workshops

Sorry for being MIA, so much traveling this spring, and a death in the family added another trip home earlier in March. In better news, I am elated as I’ve just returned from teaching my first paper flower class!

A friend of mine from high school is the special events coordinator at the Milwaukee Art Museum and she reached out a few months ago to see if I would be interested in teaching a workshop during their Art in Bloom event. The workshop sold out! So over the last few weeks, I pulled together all my supplies and made hundreds of flower kits and then met 34 lovely ladies in Milwaukee on a rainy Saturday morning.

The class went really well (although I think I’ll limit future workshops to 25 people)—everyone had a lovely time and left with a poppy and anemone and supplies for a few more. I left exhausted and thrilled—turns out I love to teach! I’ll be offering classes in Wisconsin and other cities I’ll be traveling to throughout the year, but if you’re a shop owner or just someone who wants to get a handful of friends together and host a party yourself, get in touch!

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Happy 2017!

You guys, I’m such a bad blogger! Between holiday travels and some big exciting projects, I haven’t had much time to write, but this rainy morning seems the perfect opportunity.

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First things first, if you’re here trying to find out more about the Kindness is Everything, I’ve licensed the design to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health and you can shop for signs, shirts and more here. Follow our Kindness is Everything facebook page for updates and to connect with people across the nation that identified with the movement that began as a simple sign.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about above, check out my original post for the back story. Hundreds of emails and thousands of orders later, we’ve raised more than $7,000 for the ACLU with our Midwest sign distribution, and dozens of other groups across the country have raised even more! There were three of us managing all the requests and etsy page (completely pro bono of course) and it just got to be too much, so we started seeking a nonprofit with the capability to sell branded merchandise. Two of us had worked with WAWH previously, were familiar the good work the organization was doing in Wisconsin and nationally and thought it was the perfect fit (plus we knew the executive director would make the most of the opportunity!). It’s been really exciting to have something I made “go viral” and more importantly, to be able to connect with like-minded people across the world.

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I also took a step toward expanding the flower arm of 622 press in December. I offered my first flower making class in December! We ended up having to cancel it, but now that I’ve got the instruction booklets and material kits made—I even hosted a practice class with friends!—I’ve totally got the bug. I’m talking with a few venues in different cities about 2017 classes, so stay tuned! (And if you’re interested in having me teach a class in your area, get in touch, I’m available to travel!)

Speaking of flowers, I felt like they were starting to take over my Instagram feed, so I started a second account completely devoted to paper flowers. Follow here!

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I also had quite a few engaged couples get in touch before the holidays for save the dates and invitations. I can’t share any of those until after the big day of course, but here’s a lovely piece I received in late fall—nothing better than getting your own work in the mail! I’m so excited to work on more wedding invitations in 2017—get in touch if you’re planning your nuptials!

Be Mine

I think it goes without saying at this point that I love a good monogram. I printed myself some monogrammed coasters with my new wood type when I first got it and finally got around to listing them in the shop!

mono_coaster_5036While I was working up the samples, I also made a little coaster garland for Valentine’s Day—an idea I’ve had in my head for quite a while. It turned out so cute and I think it would translate beautifully into any holiday, or for the names of the couple at a wedding!

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DIY printing plates

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Before the big move, I picked up a couple linoleum printing blocks at an art store in Madison. The printing plates I order from Owosso are expensive and getting pricier all the time, so I thought carving my own would be a great way to save a little money on simpler designs.

One of the components of my new collection happened to be perfectly suited to hand carving, so last week I sat on my porch with my Dremel and went at it! Below is the before and after—can’t wait to see how they print!

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Typhography textiles

navy_4744Confession: I love watching home improvement/décor shows. Back when I owned (and was in the process of rehabbing) a century-old bungalow, watching them was a near daily activity. I’ve weaned myself in recent years, but a few months back I caught an episode in which the host and her trusty sidekick rustle up some antique wood type and simply stamp them on canvas for fairly inexpensive art.

Lucky for me, I happen to already own a lot of antique wood type.

I had silver metallic screen printing ink from a few years back when I thought I’d take up yet another method of printing (because I don’t have enough on my hands), so I decided to use that on regular fabric instead of gessoed canvas.

navy_4748My plan was to print enough to stretch around a frame large enough to cover an unsightly fuse box in our entry way, plus enough extra to do a test wash and maybe a few scraps to include in a patchwork pillow project I have planned. While I had the ink out I also wanted to test out an idea for bespoke monogrammed wrapping paper I’ve been kicking around for a while.

Thanks to the magic of television, I didn’t realize how incredibly time consuming the project would be! After spending entirely too long printing a 12”x12” block of paper, I realized it wasn’t going to be a feasible option for retail (although my sister’s Christmas presents looked fab).

The letters printed more rustically than I anticipated, but I love how the fabric turned out! What do you think? Would you invest in hand-printed fabric for an accent pillow or piece of art?

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A Christmas Letter from 622 press

I know this should be a travel post, but instead this week I did some actual traveling, in the form of heading home to Wisconsin for the holidays. I’m taking a mini break from business and blogging through the new year, but if you’re looking for some holiday reading material, check out decor ideas here, here, and here, plus awesome handmade gift guides from years past here, here, here and here, plus wrapping ideas here.

Dear Friend,

2014 has been a big year for 622 press. It started off normally enough: living in Madison and continuing to work as art director of BRAVA Magazine—all while driving down to Mom and Dad’s on the weekends to print on my antique letterpress. Spring was particularly busy, as the business added Middleton’s The Regal Find to its group of wholesalers—in addition to Driftless Studio on State Street in Madison; the now-defunct east-side Absolutely Art; and When Pigs Fly in Whitewater.

I was also printing my largest wedding stationery suite to date—150 three-piece invitations with lined, printed envelopes, 2 different thank you cards, menu cards, recipe card favors and more, plus designing a wrap for the invites, table numbers and seating chart—along with two other weddings, and the usual business cards, stationery and such. There were quite a few nights that I got back to my Madison apartment entirely too close to midnight, rushing down after work and printing the entire evening—but it was worth it to grow 622 press.

Amy_Lanser_3085By summer I had finally accepted Andrew’s invitation to move to Bermuda—job or not (I had been hunting from the U.S. since last year). I told BRAVA my plans months before the planned move—and after a few tense weeks of indecision, they committed to my current contract position as main freelancer for design work. However, we still had to find a replacement for me as Art Director. It’s sort of a funny thing—searching for someone to do the job you’ve poured everything into for 5+ years… plus she would be my boss! I’m so glad we ended up with the candidate we did though.

The process to apply for Bermuda residency was incredibly long and costly—and inefficient. Every time I thought I had submitted everything the government/health insurer/customs official needed, I was handed another list of medical exams, notarized documents and letters to acquire. I had planned to move in late July/early August, but the BRAVA logistics pushed my move until the end of August—exactly when my lease expired, so I was working right up until the week before I flew out, along with selling all my furniture and car, packing a shipping container, giving away the remainder of my clothes and household items and trying to take care of last-minute logistics like bank accounts and cell phone plans. It was chaos, but the knowledge that a slower-pace awaited me on the island sustained me.

That slower pace wouldn’t come for a while though—the shipping container had arrived, but Bess remained on the dock for weeks while I filled out more and more paperwork and proved over and over again that I had permission to live on the island. I also got a Bermuda driving license (written and driving exams, just like in the U.S.!) and bought a bike.

Finally Bess and everything else was delivered—I finally had a decent set of dishes (goodbye, Andrew’s bachelor kitchen), some artwork and most importantly, my studio. It took quite some time to get everything set up, but now it’s the perfect creative space—with an ocean view to boot.

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Since the big move, I’ve been freelancing for clients old and new, as well as trying to grow 622 press. I post of-the-moment updates on facebook nearly every day, and of course blog as often as I can!

Several of the invitations we printed this year were featured on Wedding Lovely, a blog and wedding resource site that has been incredibly supportive of 622 press over the years. Our shadow monogram stationery was featured in Cool Mom Picks’ annual gift guide, which was far and away the biggest editorial feature I’ve had to date, and prompted quite a few orders this winter.

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While I used the end of 2014 to get the business in order—making sure inventory is correct, analyzing pricing, timing and shipping, and redesigning our branding—2015 will be all about new work. I’ve been designing a new spring collection of cards and prints, plus brainstorming and prototyping new products, and searching for new stores to begin wholesale relationships with. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to!

Until then, stay warm, enjoy time with your family and be grateful for such a blessed life—I know I will. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, see you in the new year!

Kristin

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