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!

Custom Print & Poster Designs

You guys have seen a lot of the digital prints (now available as a download or archival print!) I’ve created since I launched new product lines just over a year ago, but I’ve also been commissioned to create some really fun custom pieces lately, so I thought I’d share!

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One of Andrew’s coworkers got in touch about a set of letterpress prints for a birthday present. Unfortunately, she had already purchased frames that held paper larger than I could print on my press, so I suggested just designing them and having them printed elsewhere. This was such a fun little project for me because I got to use a bunch of my new fonts. And I love how they turned out!

Another commission came via a friend in Utah, who had seen another friend’s Facebook post in search of a designer. She wanted a print for her dad’s 70th birthday—the entire family had contributed to a list of 70 things they loved about their father and grandfather, and I worked them all into an adorable little print!

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Have an idea for a print of your own? Get in touch at six22press@yahoo.com!

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Love Poetry Broadsides for Brain Mill Press

Now that the Etsy shop is closed up, I’m excited to share some of the commissions I’ve been working on! Truth be told, this project has consumed so much brain power over the last few months that I thought I’d already written about the first edition, but it turns out I haven’t, so here goes!

You all remember the limited edition of sweet little blind emboss prints I created for Brain Mill Press earlier this year, right? (If not, guess what? There’s a link right up there ^ ) Brain Mill Press is an independent publishing house in Wisconsin, started just a few years ago by two incredible women. They publish prose and poetry that offers an authentic view on the human experience—especially love. Please don’t let your mind go to tacky romance novels, though, these are incredible works by accomplished and novice writers alike.

Each publication is printed first in a fine art first edition, which comes with a special gift for the first 100 pre-orders. For a series of four poetry chapbooks, that special gift is a broadside designed and printed by yours truly!

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Each print features a commissioned illustration by Ann O’Connell and an excerpt from a poem hand-set in lead type. By some luck or fate, I just happened to have a font of lead type that is very similar to a typeface they were already using on their website! The drawer was fairly well stocked—meaning I have a lot of letters—but the poems were longer than I expected, so I ended up having to print each one in several sections as I ran out of certain characters, which was a bit of a challenge.

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Tanka, Seaborgium and The Presentation are finished and delivered, and I have one more to print in early January! I just love how they’ve turned out so far, I roughed up a digital design before I began each one, but nothing compares to the letterpress printed project: The paper is so luxe, the type has a great bite… they’re lovely. In fact, I’m considering hanging an extra Artist’s Proof (the not-quite-perfect prints that didn’t make it into the edition) of all four in our guest bedroom!

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I will be finished with this project in about a month, so if you’re interested in commissioning something similar, please get in touch!

Closing up Shop

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The end is near! Today is the very last day to order anything from my etsy shop until after Christmas. By tomorrow evening I’ll be in Wisconsin! I’m so excited to see friends and family and am very much looking forward to a break from the small-business-owner hustle.

I’m so grateful to have been so busy this last month as I always struggle this time of year. I think it simply comes down to seeing less sunlight, but aside from the holidays, November-March are just not my favorite. One evening last week I decided I needed something to re-energize me, so I bought myself a little present: A bundle of a dozen or so fonts and hundreds of decorative elements and illustrations!

I’m so excited about my new toy and actually stayed up late last Friday night working on some new designs (I know, I’m pretty cool). So stay tuned for lots of new digital downloads in the shop soon—including this one, available here—which actually are available while I’m away!

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Hatch Show Print

I’ve never written about arguably the most well-known and respected letterpress studio in the U.S. until now because, well, almost everyone else has. But last night I watched Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print present the shop’s work and history and I’m so inspired I can’t resist.

Hatch is the longest running letterpress studio in the U.S., operating continuously for well over a century. Jim has been instrumental in not only keeping the shop running through the hard times (also known as the ’80s) but preserving its historical accuracy. He doesn’t allow any new wood fonts into the shop, believing the Hatch brothers (founders, originally from Wisconsin!) carefully curated the collection to work well together; and by only allowing new artwork that’s been hand carved—no digitally-created photo-polymer cuts.

Hatch does, as you can see, regularly employ the magnificent collection of historical printing plates, adhering to a theory they call “Preservation by Production”—or the belief that vintage wood cuts and fonts fare better with regular use. I would rather see these artists create beautiful work than gaze at plates behind glass any day. They have a cut of nearly every famous artist that ever played Nashville, as well as some of the earliest printing plates in the states—and they’re still printing all of it. I’m thinking of planning a trip to Tennessee just to visit Hatch!