Boxcar Talk with Haute Papier

When planning her wedding three years ago, Sarah Meyer Walsh couldn’t find anyone who could customize her wedding invitations, which ultimately served as her inspiration in launching Haute Papier. Her business partner Erin Miller joined her about a year later and they’ve teamed up in creating a stationery business that places equal value on high design and top notch printing. With two locations, Haute Papier is a luxury letterpress studio dedicated to couture letterpress, specializing in high end custom wedding invitations and stationery, including a selection of custom designs, fine stationery and gift items. Their stationery is available in more than 80 stores across the US and Canada. With their two locations and expanding retail collection, they managed to squeeze in some time for a little Boxcar Talk:


How did each of you first get into letterpress?

Of course, any stationery designer certainly loves the look of letterpress. Prior to doing our own printing we would farm out the work to local printers – printers who we are proud to still call friends (and who we call on when we have a question about our presses!) We really really loved when our clients chose letterpress for their invitations and thought the one thing missing was knowing how to print ourselves. So we took a one day class in the basement of a letterpress hobbyist in Alexandria, Virginia. He was a super nice guy, but here we are two young ladies in a dingy basement hand cranking a tabletop press and just thinking we were so cool to be setting type and mixing ink and having a blast. To this day I’m not too sure what our instructor thought of us or our enthusiasm for letterpress. I think we quite overwhelmed him! Well, at the end of our class he handed us a copy of a newspaper dedicated to the letterpress community and in the back was a classified section. We honed in on our press, called the owner and purchased the press within 20 minutes of leaving our workshop. Now mind you, the press we bought was in Pittsburgh. We would go up and officially adopt her a few weeks later. And that is another the story in of itself. A story for another time perhaps!

What was your very first press (and are you using it still)?

A Golding Pearl 7×11. You may call her Pearl (we call her the gobbler)! She is semi-retired but still does a mean job on our envelopes!

What medium do you usually print (lead/wood type, photopolymer, lino, etc.)?

Photopolymer plates from Boxcar (specifically KF152)

What’s your process from sketch to press?

We love to draw! Our hand drawings and sketches form the foundation of our new designs. We also LOVE vintage images and sometimes incorporate those into our designs as well. So, from our doodling, we turn the designs into reality in CS4 and CS5 (depending on which computer we’re working on). Then we order plates from Boxcar and the rest, as they say, is history.

What other print shops do you admire?

We’ve always admired Studio on Fire for their ability to print anything!

What do you love about working with Boxcar Press?

Cathy Smith, of course! (read: wonderful customer service.) Of course, the quality plates keep us coming back for more!

Any neat tricks you can share?

I don’t know if we have any neat tricks, but I will say a deep breath goes a long way at times.

Who or what inspires you the most?

We find inspiration in so many different things. Right now, we’re in love with a bunch of photos that Sarah took of the amazing architecture in Argentina this past spring!


What’s next for Haute Papier?

We’re in the process of expanding our cash and carry lines and look forward to introducing it to our retailers!

What was the experience like for you at the National Stationery Show? Do you have any suggestions for people hoping to exhibit?

We love NSS! We’re going on exhibiting for our third year and love meeting new dealers and reconnecting with our current dealers. It’s also a nice time to meet fellow printers. As we all know, NSS is a costly undertaking so we really try and kill it! We are excited to be there and ready to talk everyone’s ear off who will listen to us about Haute Papier! It’s really about making the most of our week.

Thanks so much, ladies, for sharing a little insight about Haute Papier! For more about Sarah, Erin, and Haute Papier visit their website.

Boxcar Talk with Maginating

Brad Woods from Maginating has been on a wild ride the last six years. Although he had a degree in classical animation and a Master’s in computer animation, it was love at first sight for Brad and letterpress. Being surrounded by computers most of the time, letterpress enabled him to use his hands again: drawing, erasing, cutting and packaging until soon he couldn’t get away from the cast iron machine and the tactile qualities of letterpress. He took time away from his one man studio to have a Boxcar Talk:


How did you first get into letterpress?

About six years ago I was at a restaurant with my sister.  She suggested I check out the shop next door – she thought I’d think it was pretty cool.  Turned out it was Sugar Paper, a letterpress company who specializes in stunning custom letterpress and includes a storefront.  Anyway, I was blown away!  I’d never seen anything like it before.  Jamie, one of the owners, was in the shop that day and was very kind – she was happy to answer all my questions.

About six months later I was fortunate enough to meet Bob Paduano – a master of all things letterpress.  He’s been in the business a long time and was able to restore a Kluge 10×15 for me.  At the time I was still doing freelance work so, for about a year, whenever I had some spare time, I worked down in our garage – trying to figure this big hunk of cast iron out.  I never took any classes…couldn’t find any that used platen presses.  I just kept looking online for answers, and spoke with all sorts of helpful and generous printers.  It took some time but eventually my knowledge base grew to a point where I was able to get going at an operable speed.

Believe it or not – my first job was a wedding invitation set. Miraculously, it turned out great – the client was very happy. Knowing what I know now, this was a craaazy first piece. I don’t know what I was thinking. In my defense, I plead temporary insanity (and a whopping case of ignorance.)  Glad I didn’t blow it!

Not long after that I stopped taking on any freelance work and dedicated all my time to creating a greeting card line. That was almost four years ago. (It’s important to note that none of this would have been possible had it not been for my lovely wife, Stacy.  She supported me all the way – encouraging me as I gradually expanded the card line and brought in no income…)

What was your very first press (and are you using it still)?

Yes, I still use my first press – a hand-fed 10×15 Kluge. It’s fantastic – I’ll probably keep it forever!!

What medium do you usually print (lead/wood type, photopolymer, lino, etc.)?

I only use photopolymer (specifically KF152)

What’s your process from sketch to press?

I have this little sketchbook (4×6) that I keep close at hand. It’s crammed with doodles – all the ideas that come to me, wherever I am… Most of the time they’re these crummy little drawings, but that’s all they need to be. I don’t want to pause to consider the logistics of a design but act more as a camera to my mental images. If an idea looks like it’s going to work as a card, I take a photo with my point-and-shoot digital camera and import it into the computer. I find it’s good enough quality to meet my needs and much faster than scanning. This next stage is where the computer comes into play – it’s hard to avoid. I prefer the crisp edge of a vector graphic as opposed to a raster one, so I tend to work in Adobe Illustrator (check this out for more information about the difference between the two.) I import the photo of the doodle into Illustrator and “trace” it.  A lot of the refinement happens in this stage and I try to keep it as loose as possible when using a mouse. Once I feel it’s done I then consider whether or not it’s good enough to be a card (I really don’t know until then). Sometimes it isn’t, and I’ll go back to the drawing board. Sometimes I’ll rework the design over a couple of months (or several years.)  For example, my “Birthday Owls” card began as an idea in 2006 but wasn’t released until 2009. Once it’s received the “Maginating Seal of Approval,” I send it off to you guys at Boxcar Press to be converted into a photopolymer plate and we’re off and printing not long after that.


What other print shops do you admire?

I am a big fan of many, many print shops, however, I recently discovered Pie Bird Press at the National Stationery Show…their work blew me away – everything about it was awesome! (and yes, it’s letterpress!)

P.S. great blog, too

Who or what inspires you the most?

I find inspiration in a great variety of things, artistically speaking, some of those are:
Jon Klassen

Danish Modern furniture

William Joyce

Mo Willems

UPA animation studios

Alexander Girrard

Charles and Ray Eames

… and Jim Henson

What do you enjoy most about working with Boxcar Press?

I love Boxcar’s photopolymer system – I have a Deep Relief Boxcar Base and appear to be addicted to KF152 photopolymer plates…(but I can quit at any time – I swear).

Any neat tricks you can share?

As anyone who uses Crane’s Lettra knows, it draws like crazy when cut in large quantities. The same problem applies when you try to corner round a good quantity of finished cards. Our solution has been to create a die for each card size with round corners and the score line included. It’s quick, efficient, and everything comes out perfect!

What are you looking forward to? (i.e., upcoming shows, publications, events, etc.)

I’m working on a top-secret project right now…can’t tell you about it (but I’m very excited!)

What was the experience like for you at NSS?

We’ve been exhibiting at NSS for the past three years. This year was fantastic – it’s taken some time, but we’re finally beginning to see the full merits of what the show has to offer. While sales are always great (and we’re grateful for each and every one) the NSS offers a potentially massive networking opportunity. While it’s always been a part of our show experience, it’s becoming more substantial.  The opportunity to speak with bloggers, press, fellow card-creators, reps, designers and all sorts of other creative types is not only fun, but a great way to increase your “prosperity” at the show.

Do you have any suggestions for people hoping to exhibit next year or how to promote their new product lines?

There are so many details to consider when exhibiting for the first time at NSS. I would highly recommend signing up for the mentor program offered by George Little Management. This program will partner you with a “veteran” exhibitor – someone who has similar design sensibilities and product and has exhibited at the NSS before. And for those of us who have already exhibited at the show, I would highly recommend that they also sign up as a mentor for GLM’s program.

I would also recommend not using foam core walls – they may be fast and look great, but they’re expensive.  Also, once the show’s over, you’re probably going to leave the walls there (everyone else does) – which, to me seems like a terrible waste (and a bit odd, given the push on keeping this industry as green as possible).  I would recommend trying to create a flame-proof soft-wall, using some type of fabric, sign material – something like that.  I’ve seen all sorts of amazing applications!  The show’s already expensive enough and the last thing you want to do is spend more money on shipping or materials (or foam core walls).  That said, I have semi-hard walls (burlap stretched over wooden frames).  Had I known about the weight and shipping factor (my booth’s just under 400lbs.), I would have done a soft wall.  I’ll keep using what I have for now (get my money’s worth), but will go the soft-wall route next time around, for sure.

Thanks, Brad, for such fantastic advice and input! We can’t wait to hear about your top-secret project!

Little Letterpress Cards from The Pink Orange

A while back we printed these cool little letterpress cards designed by Rebecca Ashby of The Pink Orange. They’re small, business card size, with crisp black ink on white. They are the perfect the little pick-me-up to give or to receive. They come paired with tiny envelopes in rainbow colors and we find them quite charming.




Boxcar Talk with Snap & Tumble

Snap & Tumble is a one woman operation studio based in a home in Toronto, Canada. With just two table top presses and a showcard press, Tanya Roberts reminds us that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Since the spring of 2007, she has shared every trial and error of learning and mastering her tabletop presses on her blog.
What made you want to become an artist?
I never set out to become an artist.  My love of craft printing and the desire to do letterpress – to search through antique markets for type or old printer’s blocks, to mix the ink, to operate the press itself, and to see the results of my labor – is what has led me to where I am today.


How did you first get into letterpress?
My desire emerged from the shadows – literally! I was in a stationery store and noticed the shadows formed by the deep impression on a card that had been made by a letterpress. I picked it up, ran my fingers over the type, and fell in love.  From there, my curiosity took over. Probably the most important early move I made was taking a letterpress workshop at Open Studio which introduced me to a flatbed press. It was after doing the workshop that I decided to go out on a limb and get my own tabletop. From then on I’ve been self-taught but have been guided by the online letterpress community. One of the reasons I now offer workshops is so that other people have an easier time learning about letterpress than I initially did.


What was your very first press?
My first press is the Adana Eight-Five. It was perfect for me when I started out because it was small and it fit in my basement apartment kitchen. I’ve moved up to a 6.5 x 10 Canadian Craftsmen Machinery Co. press which is what I primarily use now. I’ve also added a small Showcard Press to the family.


What medium do you usually print (lead/wood type, photopolymer, lino, etc.)?
It depends on what I’m printing.  I usually use Boxcar photopolymer plates and lead/wood type. I like making use of my type because I’ve acquired a great collection of the classics. I started off experimenting with magnesium dies mounted on wood, but ever since I tried out the polymer plates and registration, the Boxcar system seems to be the best for me.



What’s your process from sketch to press?
I tend to skip the hand-sketching part and go straight to Illustrator. There, I play with shapes and type, getting an idea of layout and composition. I don’t usually concern myself with color at this point.  It’s not until I get the plates on the press that I’ll consider color and mix inks until I’m happy with what I see. Many times I simply experiment with moveable type – deciding all elements of design on the fly.  Having a background in advertising design and copywriting, I think my brain is wired to latch onto anything type-related. Most of my product is type-heavy, making use of my beloved gothic wood and Poster Bodoni lead type. If I find something that I want to include in a design, I will scan it in to the computer.  For example, there was an occasion when I found a vintage embroidery pattern book that included an exquisite alphabet. I scanned it into Photoshop, converted it to black and white, heightened the contrast and exported it to Illustrator. From there I traced the letters and it was ready for Boxcar.

What other print shops do you admire?
I’m consistently moved by the work of Maria Vettese from Port2Port Press. The simplicity of her prints is extraordinary.


Who or what inspires you the most?
In no particular order: I’m inspired by skillful typography, interesting use of colour, antique wood cuts, Hatch Show Print posters, Heather Smith Jones’s use of organic shapes, snail mail from friends, excellent design, and generally by passionate people who make stuff.


Any neat tricks you can share?
Here’s a tip for cleaning rollers: get a regular Rubbermaid plastic bin that’s just under the length of your rollers (pins included), drill a hole at each end of the bin. Slide the pins of the rollers into each hole. This way you’ve got both hands free to scrub instead of using one to hold the roller while the other rubs it clean.


What are you looking forward to?
There’s starting to be a real visible presence of letterpress printers in Toronto and I’m excited to see it grow. In terms of shows, I always look forward to the annual City of Craft fair and hopefully I’ll be able to attend the next Wayzgoose Festival in Grimsby, Ontario.  As for books, I’ve got for Reinventing Letterpress: Prints by Contemporary Artists on my wishlist.


Thanks Tanya! And if you’re in her neighborhood, be sure to check out Letterpress Curiosity Workshops especially if you want experience on a tabletop press.

L Letterpress Printing Results

A while back, we reviewed the L Letterpress and provided some printing tricks and tips for achieving good quality prints with the L Letterpress and our KF152 photopolymer plates. Amy Graham recently put our tips to the test, ordered a set of plates and with a little and trial and error, printed her own letterpress wedding invitations. They look great! Amy shares, “The results are impressive, using your suggestions.  I achieved the best results using minimal ink and cleaning the plates, roller and inking block about every six prints.”

And check out her invitations –
Great work, Amy, and thanks for sharing! You can check out Amy’s design work at avail & company.

Boxcar Talk with Ladies of Letterpress

Ladies of Letterpress, an online community dedicated to women printers, began with just two women who strive to promote the art and craft of letterpress printing. Kseniya and Jessica have worked hard to build this fantastic online community where members discuss process, advice, and share resources. The Ladies are growing more and more each day and have recently awarded their first annual scholarship to one of their members to help develop printing skills and also attended the 2010 National Stationery Show in New York as a joint exhibit with some of the members.



How did Ladies of Letterpress start?
Kseniya: Jessica and I met a few years ago at an Oak Knoll Fest, which I was attending as a book fan, and where she was exhibiting with the University of Iowa. Her fabulous badges caught my eye, and they got us talking about starting a nation-wide organization of the same name (which started as a loose association at the University of Iowa). We found Ning, and went live with it in late 2008. Now we have almost 600 members, and big plans!

Jessica: Ditto what Kseniya said. We met in the fall of 2006 at the Oak Knoll Fest, a conference for book arts and fine press, where she told me about her ideas for creating this type of community. She already had a website ‘dedicated to the proposition that a woman’s place is in the printshop’, but wasn’t seeing any real results, while I had made those patches just for fun, without envisioning much more until we started talking. We decided on the spot that we should work together to form this community, and create a forum where women printers could come together, have discussions, share skills, and keep in touch. We live in different parts of the country, so we’ve kept in touch and made it happen all through emails and occasional phone calls.


How did each of you first get into letterpress?
Kseniya: I had a six-month-long internship at the printshop of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany after I graduated college; the internship was a part of a year-long fellowship. When I applied for the position, I really had no idea what they did there, and less of an idea about how they did it–I actually thought they made books! But I was quickly disabused of that notion when, on my first day, a retired type-compositor handed me a set of reglets and started teaching me all sorts of German letterpress vocabulary. I spent the next six months setting type from their fabulous, 1000-case collection, printing small jobs–once for a princess–and pursuing my own projects. It was absolutely wonderful; little did I know where it would lead!

Jessica: I remember seeing some letterpress printed posters and broadsides while I was an undergrad at East Carolina University, but at the time I was completely focused on sculpture, especially metal work and casting bronze and iron. It wasn’t until grad school, when a friend of mine showed me how to set type late one night, that I was hooked. By that point, my work had already shifted to printmaking and book art, and I think the tactile qualities of setting type and printing on a Vandercook brought the sculptor and printmaker sides of me together.


Besides Ladies of Letterpress, what else do you do?
Kseniya: I’m the owner of Thomas-Printers (new site coming soon!), a commercial letterpress shop in Carlisle, PA. We debuted a new wedding line, YonderYest, at this year’s Stationery Show.

Jessica: I have a print shop and bindery, Heroes & Criminals Press, where I make books and prints, and occasional commission work. I also teach printmaking and bookbinding workshops at Asheville BookWorks, and will be teaching papermaking and book art this fall at Warren Wilson College.


What was your very first press, and are you still using it?
Kseniya: My first press was a 12×18 C+P NS, and we still use it for big things (posters, broadsides, etc.), and die-cutting.

Jessica: Well, the secret-midnight-printing-session at school was on an SP15, which I continued to use while in school. I’ll always consider it my ‘first’. I just graduated last year, moved to Asheville, NC, and purchased a Kelsey 5×8 and a Showcard press. The Kelsey is my on-the-road press, the one that I take to differences places when I give demos. Most of my printing these days is done on the Showcard or on one of the Vandercooks at Asheville BookWorks, where I often volunteer and teach workshops.

Who or what inspires you the most?
Kseniya: I’m inspired by music, my home state of Utah, non-fiction in the New Yorker, and the wonderful work produced by the other Ladies of Letterpress! Also, of course, the desire to stay in business is very inspiring. In the same vein, I find the number of new people starting letterpress shops/studios completely inspiring. It means that people are still wanting to try the scariness of managing your own business, making things by hand–and it shows that the demand for letterpress-printing is still high.

Jessica: I’m completely obsessed with books, especially book illustrations. Some of my favorites now are the same favorites from when I was a kid: E.H. Shepard, Edward Gory, Max Ernst (especially his collage stories), and Kate Greenaway. As you can tell, I’m a little stuck in the past, but I also love contemporary comics and graphic novels, and some of my favorites right now are Anders Nilsen, Chris Ware, and Marjane Satrapi.

What’s your favorite thing about working with Boxcar Press?
Kseniya: The people who work there! The fabulous pics on! Also, the Boxcar Base, without which I might not be here today.

Jessica: A few years ago, I saved up for a 13 x 19 Boxcar Base and still use it regularly. It felt like such a splurge at the time, but now I can’t imagine getting anything done without it.


What was the experience like for you at the National Stationery Show?
Kseniya: It was unspeakably great. The best part was meeting all the wonderful people we did, including the other Ladies in the booth. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or for better people to work with. This isn’t to say that the planning, purchasing, organizing, arranging, etc., weren’t stressful and a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. We’ll be back next year!

Do you have any suggestions for people hoping to exhibit next year or how to promote their new product lines?
Kseniya: Having only exhibited once, I don’t have much advice, except to start early! Start the fall of the previous year–earlier than you think you should. The last few weeks will be consumed with all the details, so it’s good to have as much squared away as soon as possible.

What are you looking forward to?
Kseniya: I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Ladies of Letterpress (it’s going to be great!), and next year’s NSS, seeing all our old friends again, and making new ones!

Jessica: I hope I can make it to this year’s Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair, The Book (R)evolution. I’m also excited about some special events for Ladies of Letterpress that are now in the works!

Anyone is welcome to join Ladies of Letterpress, even the guys. Membership is free.

Drill, Baby, Drill Letterpress Print to Benefit Oceana

Our friends Chandler O’Leary of Anagram Press and Jessica Spring of Springtide Press shared their latest collaboration with us and it was too meaningful of a project to keep to ourselves. Their newest broadside, entitled “Drill, Baby, Drill,” was created in response to the oil spill in the Gulf and features a quote from writer, scientist and environmentalist Rachel Carson, from Under the Sea-Wind. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Oceana, an organization dedicated to stopping offshore drilling. The print is a limited edition run of 136, 10 x 18 inches, printed on a Vandercook Universal One press. Each piece is printed on archival, 100% rag paper, and signed by both artists – you can purchase yours here.


“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the sun lines of the continents for untold thousands of year…is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
– Rachel Carson

A Note from Bow & Arrow Press

Here at Boxcar Press, we love hearing from the printers who use our bases and plates. Recently, Zachary of Bow & Arrow Press at Harvard University was kind enough to leave us this nice bit of feedback we couldn’t resist sharing.
“You’re the best. No, really. The best. We love you as much as we happen to love our Vandercook No.4, and that’s something we recently invested 60 hours taking apart and cleaning up, so it’s evident we love that machine quite a bit.

This year, you’ve been an integral part of our fundraising efforts (we’re a non-profit). We’ve printed a number of limited edition broadsides, books and the occasional wedding invitation for our university community using your plates and your base. They’ve in part helped us raise more than $12,000 this year for a letterpress that gets $500 a year in university support.

That fundraising has let us hold letterpress crash courses and intermediate classes and even a for-credit printmaking and bookmaking seminar, a first for us. This year alone we’ve had some 200 people learn letterpress. It’s also going to let us buy a new Vandercook–the one we’re eying right now is a 219 (powered). Two years ago, we had type in 1-lb coffee cans and no two leads were the same length. We had accumulation, not organization. Talking with Boxcar and getting to know you through your website have given us a model for what a printshop can be. Keep doing what you do, and keep up the fun attitudes and terrific customer service. You guys really are the best.”


Bow & Arrow Press has fundraised enough to bring in an SP20 (as Zachary likes to say, “to give our No.4 some company”), a 23″ Challenge paper cutter, flat files for proper storage, and 10 very full cases of new type from Michael Bixler, in their studio. Such passion to keep letterpress alive makes us jump for joy – this is what the heart and spirit of Boxcar Press is all about for us! It’s exciting to see all the work Bow & Arrow Press has put into keeping their studio alive, especially since they are so dependent upon student interest. We’re happy to have played our little part in helping them keep the dream alive. Spreading the love of letterpress and helping to preserve it for future generations just makes what we do all the more special.

Boxcar Talk with Sycamore Street Press

Sycamore Street Press, a husband and wife duo from Heber City, UT, began printing on a Vandercook #3 in their dining room in 2007. Quirky sketches lead to a stationery line, limited edition prints, and collaborations with numerous fine artists. Today, with a more spacious set up, they have been featured on design*sponge and Good Morning America as well as a variety of creative blogs and magazines. They will also be featured in the highly anticipated book, Impressive: Printmaking, Letterpress, & Graphic Design, due to be released in the states in a matter of weeks! Kirk and Eva found time to partake in our cool new blog feature, Boxcar Talk.


What made you want to become an artist?
Drawing was my favorite part of kindergarten, and tole painting with my mom is a favorite early childhood memory. I don’t remember ever not wanting to be an artist.

How did you first get into letterpress?
I studied fine art printmaking during my undergrad years, and really wanted to learn letterpress at that point. Unfortunately it was only available to the graphic design majors. So, when I went to grad school at the University of Utah, learning letterpress was on the top of my list. Marnie Powers-Torrey and the rest of the staff at the Book Arts program were great teachers and mentors. I taught Kirk how to print, and he also took a course through the University of Utah to fill in any gaps I may have missed.

What was your very first press?
A Vandercook #3. I got it in September of 2007 and it’s still the only press that Kirk and I print on. It’s completely hand operated. There isn’t even motorized inking. One of these days, we’ll get a windmill, but this press has really treated us well.


{Image at far right by Zuzanna Audette.}

What medium do you usually print (lead/wood type, photopolymer, lino, etc.)?
Photopolymer plates from Boxcar. I’ve printed with lead and wooden type before, as well as lino cuts and mag cuts, but photopolymer is what we use for our line of paper goods. We love the versatility of it.

What’s your process from sketch to press?
Well, I can’t speak for the other SSP designers (there are 3 other regular contributing designers), but this is my process: I usually have an idea in my head of what I’d like the image to look like. I do a few rough sketches, and then proceed to do a detailed drawing in pencil, which I then go over with pen and ink. I scan the drawing into Photoshop, bump up the contrast, and turn it into a bitmap. I upload my file to Boxcar’s site, and within a week, I receive a photopolymer plate with my drawing on it in the mail. We slap that onto our Boxcar base, get it all positioned, and start to print.


What other print shops do you admire?
I am constantly amazed by the technical prowess of Studio on Fire. Their blog is full of useful tips and information about printing.

Dee & Lala and Dutch Door Press are both smaller operations with two full time partners who design and print their own line of stationery (kind of like us!). We see both companies pretty often at craft shows, and they always have beautiful work.

Mandate Press is another Utah-based studio who does great work…I guess I’ll stop there, but I could go on and on. There are so many wonderful letterpress studios out there!


Who or what inspires you the most?
I wrote a really in depth post on this a couple of months ago as part of SFGirlByBay’s Blog it Forward project. Here’s the shortened version: the creative people in my family, the traditional Maori art of Ta Moko, folk art from all over, contemporary artists (such as Kiki Smith, Jockum Nordstrom, and Margaret Kilgallen), the letterpress process and its limitations, my good friend’s dogs, and my time spent studying and living in France and Belgium.

What are your favorite things/items from Boxcar Press?
Definitely the plates and the base.


Any cool printing tricks you can share?
If the piece of paper I’m printing on is too small to reach the gauge on the feed board, I cut up an old plastic credit card, membership card, etc… and tape a strip of it onto the cylinder packing to act as a guide instead. This comes in handy for smaller size envelopes as well.

What are you looking forward to?
Kirk and I are currently in New York. We’re here for an entire month, selling our goods at the National Stationery Show, the Brooklyn Flea, and the Renegade Craft Fair. We are so excited for the shows – we love meeting our customers face to face. We are also looking forward to taking some time to explore different neighborhoods, museums, shops, etc…around the city. On a more personal note, Kirk and I are having our first baby in November! We are over the moon about this and can’t wait to meet the little one!


Thanks Kirk and Eva! Congratulations on the little one on the way – we can’t wait to see the baby announcements!

{Photos by Sycamore Street Press unless otherwise noted.}