New year, new everything!

Happy 2015, dear readers! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Solstice or Eighth Night, and a fabulous New Year’s eve! I got to spend 12 lovely (if cold) days in Wisconsin visiting friends and spending quality time with my family. It was a much needed visit—I’d been pretty homesick throughout December—but now I’m glad to be home and getting back to work and a normal routine.

I did use the two days I spent in airports to design some readymade wedding invitations. I’ve always created completely custom pieces up till this point, but I understand that can be overwhelming for some couples, and sometimes they get in touch too late and there just isn’t time for several weeks of design. Look for those to be unveiled soon! (And if you’re getting married this summer, don’t wait to get in touch!)

Shipping to Bermuda is suuuuper pricey, so I sent a bunch of supplies to my parents’ house while I was there—including printing plates for a new collection! I’ve decided to freshen things up with two big collections this year, and a few smaller releases for holidays in between. I’m hoping to expand my wholesale market, so if you know of any locally owned shops that would be a good fit for 622 press please let me know so I can send them some samples!

profile_pic_smSpeaking of fresh—I also ordered new paper to print myself new business cards and note cards featuring 622 press’ new logo, plus new packaging for stationery sets. It was a little bit of an investment, but I’m so excited to finally be bringing the business up to the next level.

IMG_4943And finally, I brought back a few things that I didn’t have space for during the big move, including cards and prints. If you had your eye on something that disappeared last fall, check in to my etsy shop or get in touch, it might be in stock again!

Advertisements

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

New Wood Type

Since my plate maker increased prices at the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to get creative with the plates I have and use more moveable type (something I’ve been wanting to do anyway!). I have lots of beautiful quotes on my to-do list, but I don’t have enough characters in my larger typefaces to print an entire quote. Thus, I’ve been on the hunt for complete sets of wood type for a few weeks.

I can’t tell you how frustrating the search is—90% of what I find is ridiculously expensive “curated” collections of a few characters pulled from full sets to spell “LOVE” or “FAMILY” so someone can set them on a shelf. Why anyone would ruin a priceless set of vintage wood type to make a knock-off of something found at Hobby Lobby is beyond me.

Imagine my relief when I found Virgin Wood Type, a company making brand new wood type for letterpress printing in western New York. The undertaking must be a labor (lots and lots of labor) of love for proprietor Bill and I can’t even explain how ecstatic I was to find his work! Watch how it’s done here. I just ordered a small set to try it out and I’ve already picked the first full font I’m planning to buy if all goes well. Stay tuned and if you can, support Virgin Wood Type!

Threadbare

My embroidery obsession is waning. I don’t think I’ll ever give it up, but I’m not producing with the intensity I was a few weeks ago. However I have found a few great sources for supplies I thought I’d share with you! First up, I found a craft supply store—Lynn’s—that’s not only locally owned, but it also has a better selection than any chain store in my area. Lynn’s has complete collections from three or four different embroidery floss brands, plus framing supplies, paints, paper, specialty writing utensils and many other odds and ends that are often difficult to find—including the mini easel pictured below, which is a great way to display smaller embroidery hoops!

Before I stumbled across a local venue, I turned to the internet. I ordered bulk hoops from Create for Less so I don’t have to run to the store every time I finish a piece. I purchased three different sizes and I’m excited for the variety they offer!

Fabrication

cutting

As I was cutting up paper for some wedding invitations I’m going to print tomorrow, it occured to me many of you may not know about some of my favorite tools. For small orders I cut my own paper (for large quantities, I take it to a commercial printer who cuts it with a guillotine — call around, many smaller printers are happy to do it, and charge much less than you think).

By far my most useful Christmas gifts, my mom (a quilter) introduced me to using a rotary cutter for graphic design projects in college. It’s superior to your average blade because it doesn’t tug at the paper while you’re cutting, creating a smoother edge and eliminating any possibility of tearing. To use a rotary cutter, you’ll need a self-healing mat (the green gridded thing in the picture) and guide — both by Omnigrid in this case. This system also eliminates any need to mark the paper.

Other very useful tools: a corner-rounding punch and bone folder. I know, gross, bone — but any other scoring tool I’ve ever used crushes the fibers of the paper and leaves a shiny line (and doesn’t do as good of a job). All these tools should be able to be found at a good fabric/craft store — with the quilting and scrapbooking supplies, respectively.

folder