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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Mr. Mucca

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Design Madison event featuring Matteo Bologna of Mucca Design. I actually had the opportunity to see Matteo speak several years ago when he was a visiting artist for NOWhere at UWSP, but didn’t go. I almost always seem to find a reason to skip speaker events, but when I do make myself attend, I leave inspired and refreshed. Note to self: Force self to get self’s butt off the computer chair and out into the world!

Mucca is a very professional, diverse, award-winning design studio, and yet Matteo is surprisingly approachable and authentic. The studio’s work is beautiful and inspiring, but Matteo’s thoughts on design are what really stuck with me. For instance—when’s the last time you heard a designer say “I don’t beleive in logos?” Instead he believes in creating an environment of sorts—take design a step further than slapping a logo here and there by employing secondary and tertiary design elements on all surfaces to design an experience.

I did get a little jealous when Matteo spoke about his relationships with his clients. Of course they’re never perfect, but it was pretty amazing to hear about the value his clients place on design, that they understand design is good for business, not just something they have to do because it’s just what you do. He also got to be one of ten featured designers to create an anniversary cover of Italian GQ—another thing to be jealous of: all-typographic covers!

Random…

Contrary to what you might think after reading too many rambling blog posts, I can actually write a coherent article. In fact, I wrote one for BRAVA Magazine this month—came up with the idea, interviewed an expert, wrote full sentences and everything! (I even drew the illustration.)

And since I’ve already named this post “Random,” here are a few laugh-out-loud funny (for real! no hollow “lol”-ing around here) time-wasters I’ve discovered this week:

Clients From Hell

Dear Blank, Please Blank

Enjoy!

Yulia Brodskaya

While traditionally called “quilling” and referred to by Yulia Brodskaya herself as “papergraphic illustration,” I can think of only one word for her work: Amazing. Painstakingly created from tiny colorful strips of paper, the pieces are so fluid they seem to have grown organically onto the page.

The Russian born, UK-based artist cites her work as the combination of her favorite things: typography, paper, and highly detailed hand-made craft objects. Her work has appeared in publications and ad campaigns around the world, check out more here.

This is me:

award

Ahhhh . . . yeah sorry guys. What can I say? I’ve been busy:

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Fiance and I bought a house. We then proceeded to completely rip it apart, and we’re just starting to get things back together again. (Lots more on this to come! Hope you like before and afters!)

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Second issue is on stands now and we’re working hard on the October issue!

Oh, and my mom keeps telling me I’m supposed to be planning a wedding? So, anyway, have patience, check back every once in a while, and I promise to give you a little something now and then!

Gold & Citrus

I just got my  latest Harper’s Bazaar (thank you, address forwarding). The pages were filled with fantastic metallic pieces that are heavier for fall. Then I came back to my computer and logged on to etsy to see — what else? — fashion-forward gold necklaces!

Gold & Citrus is the online storefront for Sara Rossbach from San Francisco. I love the way “Mandarin” (above) has a shape similar to the ever-present bib necklaces but is lighter and full of movement.

Of her work, Sara says, “If I had to pick one word that my jewelry is about, or inspired by, I would say versatility. For some of the pieces this means that it can be worn with anything from jeans and a t-shirt to a cocktail dress, while others take the concept of versatility even a step further and can be worn in multiple positions. My “scarf necklaces” [above], can be worn at least 4 different ways. You can drape them, toss one end over your shoulder, tie them, knot them… whatever! It’s all about options, and being creative.”