Quoted

Every so often, I get sick of promoting myself on social media. The constant “look what I made!” posts just start to feel tired, not to mention egotistical. So I’ve been paying attention to the facebook and instagram accounts whose posts I really enjoy—and I’ve realized that even though they are showing off product, they’re also giving their followers something more: an insight into their production process, exclusive stories from behind the scenes, or simply a few positive, funny or inspiring words.

lipstick_8738I’ve been mulling over how to transform what I put out there into something with more value, and then it struck me—duh! I have collected hundreds and hundreds of inspiring quotes over the years (someday they’ll all make it on to cards!), why don’t I start sharing those?

So here goes a little experiment, friends. Head over to 622 press’ facebook page and follow me on instagram to not only keep up with what I’m up to in the studio, but also get your daily (or almost-daily) dose of inspiration! See you there!

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On Making Things by Hand

I’ve been doing a lot of production lately. A lot. Whenever I tell my boyfriend about a long printing/cutting/folding day, his response is always to “automate it!” (As though I could simply toss a motor in the general vicinity of my press and the work would get done by magic!)

Even if that was feasible, I don’t think I’d want to make my production process less hands-on. For the business cards I’ve been printing lately, for example, prepping the press, custom mixing the perfect shade of ink and lining up each piece of paper to print is only the beginning. Once the cards are dry, I trim them by hand, weeding out any misprints. Then I sort through the well-printed cards, pulling the best ones, ten at a time, until I have the quantity ordered. The leftovers go into my sample pile for future clients.

I think there’s something great about knowing each card has had a human touch before it even gets to the client. Here are three very different cards I designed and printed in the last few months!

blueline_8085You all know I can blather on for days about letterpress projects and island life, but some of the most difficult writing I’ve ever had to do is in the form of self-promotion: cover letters, website content, etc. Blueline Web Studio provides writing and editing services for professionals on the hunt for a new job. Owner Alice is super professional and organized (and awesome to work with!), so I wanted her business cards to feel that way too. She wanted a pattern on the back of the cards to add a little extra point of interest, so I whipped up this line gradation for her (and later found out that I can make a plaid pattern with it! How neat is that?!)

racheldenny2_8089Rachel is a repeat client for me—I printed her first cards way back in 2009. She’s still creating awesome work and wanted to stick with a fairly similar design, just change up the colors and modernize the typography. Done and done! I love how these turned out!

johanna_8337Johanna’s new cards might be one of my favorites of all time. She loved my dandelion illustration and was hoping it could translate into business cards. I loved that she kept it simple and let the design shine!

Studio Update & a Sale!

One of my favorite stockists got in touch just days after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling a few weeks back. As we had many times before, she wanted to brainstorm some new card ideas to celebrate the wedding boom she saw in the near future, and I was all too happy to oblige!

I offered several ideas and she added a few of her own and as always, let me run away with the design. Some were simply variations on designs that already existed in the 622 press collection. Others were brand new and allowed me to show off my ever-growing collection of wood and lead type! I’m most excited about the congratulations cards below: I love the way they evoke the old-school letterpress style of shops like Hatch Show Print.

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She also needed to restock on a fair number of best-sellers, and the result is my biggest wholesale order to date! I’ve been printing almost every day for weeks, and it feels great to be so busy.

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This week is all about folding and packaging her order and photographing new designs to list in my etsy shop. Now I have to find a home for all these new designs! To help me clear some space in my stockroom, I’m offering 25% off purchases of in-stock merchandise through the end of the month! Just enter the code “622BLOGFOLLOWER” at checkout. Enjoy!

Christina & Micheal’s Villa Terrace Wedding

sookochoff_5669Christina and Micheal got married at the end of June at Villa Terrace in Milwaukee. I love the design the couple’s brother/brother-in-law came up with: It’s modern while paying homage to their chosen venue and its current function as a decorative arts museum.We had to make a few tweaks to make them more letterpress-friendly, but overall they’re exactly as they envisioned.

sookochoff_5671I finished these several months ago (I like to keep invites under wraps until after the nuptials unless the couple says it’s ok!), and looking at them again has me excited to start printing next summer’s invitations! Getting married next summer? It’s not to early to get in touch! Visit the wedding stationery section of my etsy shop or get in touch for a custom design! sookochoff_5672

Words with Friends

As you may remember, just a few weeks before I moved to Bermuda, I bought a bunch of vintage wood type from a college classmate who was closing her shop. I never even got a chance to print with it in Wisconsin, it went straight from the back of my car to the containers I was loading into my crate.

typeA_6793Within the first few months, I had proofed all the type and was offering custom stationery sets in a variety of styles along with a handful of type-based note cards, but after that I focused on my attention on my spring collection and let my wood type gather dust.

I’m happy to report that I’m rather word-focused at the moment and my collection of vintage type is getting inked up regularly. Check out the stop-motion video I made of locking up type before printing!

The “hell yeah” card and others are now available in my etsy shop. Here are a few of my faves—check them all out here!

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mazel_6967 bestMOMever_6592 bestDADever_6796Oh hi! You made it all the way to the end of the post! For that you get a little sneak peek of something else I’ve been working on… more to come :) Thanks for reading!

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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.

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