Tugboat Printshop, Pittsburgh
During my 24-hours in Pittsburgh I also got a chance to visit one of my favourite woodcut printmaking studios; Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth of Tugboat Printshop, where we chatted about woodcuts and all things print.
If you’re not familiar with their work, take a look at their site - they are an amazing duo, consistently producing amazingly detailed and vibrant prints, every one of which I’m itching to buy. Paul and Valerie live and work at their home studio, and have been making and selling prints since graduating from college. They have also produced commissions for various clients, including The Decemberists.
The pair posses a wonderful illustration style, perfectly suited to the medium they work in. Paul usually cuts the blocks from plywood sheet, after the illustration has been sketched onto the surface and marked-up.
Above: Plywood block, sketched and inked-up, ready for engraving, then proofing.
All of the work is printed using a beautiful Conrad Machine Co. press, and registration is done using a wooden jig, ensuring that each colour layer prints in exactly the right position.
Above: Tugboat Printshop’s press and front room of their home studio.
Below: Registering a print using a wooden jig (block shown is RV from the Life of Leisure series.)
Sapling Press, Pittsburgh
(please note: Lisa was busy prepping for the National Stationery Show when I visited, so I was told to let you know that it’s not normally this messy)
The space is amazing. She has a Vandercook SP-15 test press, on which the majority of the studio’s output is produced. The studio is also equipped with a lovely guillotine, a Heidelberg ‘Windmill’ platen press, plus various other bits and bobs: round corner cutter, paper drill, etc.
It was great to see a “real-life” design and letterpress studio in action, and the space is amazing - very jealous! Lisa produces lovely work - and I sincerely hope that a lot of pre-orders and sales were made at the fair. Thanks for showing me around!
D.C. to Pittsburgh
We missed the first train from D.C. to Pittsburgh, and as there is only one a day, we found ourselves at a lovely Quality Inn for the evening - which gave us an opportunity to take stock, and relax a bit.
D.C’s a funny place. There’s too many facts for me to cover here, so I’d recommend reading up on it if you don’t already know. The hotel was just north-east of the centre, and although it wasn’t too far, a taxi was necessary - a ‘short’ distance in America is still not really walkable, as I’ve come to learn, and also: the area probably wasn’t the best for walking through and slightly lost.
While not the worst, it was semi-industrial, full of warehouses and wholesale depots (think Hackney Wick ten years ago) and the streets were empty (at 6pm). And all the while, the top of the Capitol building is visible.
The day after was spent lounging in the sun -D.C. has a humid subtropical climate- while waiting for the 4pm to Pittsburgh. The train journey was our first long(ish) one, arriving into Pittsburgh at midnight. It was a really enjoyable ride - check my Flickr for more photos.
American Foodstuffs Pt.2
Pancakes, at the Band Box Diner, Minneapolis.
Amazing. Say no more. I ordered two, which was about $5. They were the size of my head. I could barely manage the one, but made an attempt at the second. Classic case of ‘eyes are bigger than’…
Reckon I can get away with having them every day?