I am back in London.
I spent ten weeks in the USA, travelled 13 states, visited 17 cities, and have countless blogposts to catch up with…
I’ve met so many inspirational people, workshops, studios - it’s astounding.
Watch this space.
(I’ve jet-lag to deal with now)
Chicago was pretty amazing. I visited the Columbia Center for Book and Paper Arts (blogpost to come). During the two days we spent there, I don’t think it stopped raining once…
We stayed in a neighbourhood called Wicker Park, which was really great - lots going on, places to eat and drink, cool hipster-y shops and the like.
The city’s almost a little overwhelming (in terms of scale) - I think when I visit again, I definitely have to spend longer than two days.
(Breakfast at Earwax Cafe)
I met with Gerri Newfry for a coffee, which was great. It’s been great to meet with various “internet people” along the trip, if only to put a name to a face!
So, Chicago - not to be rushed, I would conclude. There’s a lot to see and do. Visit in the summer…
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!