There’s nothing small about Cartoules Press (Greek for “little cards”) or the printing powerhouse, Julie Karatzis, the fiery printer who masterfully prints, throws epic parties, and discusses the future of letterpress. A jewel of the Californian printing community, Julie has been creating beautiful works of art and has been given nods of appreciation (most recently being recognized by the Greek American Foundation as a member of their “Forty Under 40”). We sat down to find out just what’s next for the Californian printer.
DESIGNER/PRINTER/DANCER I’ve been a long time paper fanatic ever since I could pick up a pair of scissors and make things with my hands. I always appreciated the art of quality made stationery and the craft of letterpress. I’m also a Kefalonitisa. Chronic wanderlust. Design junkie. Bon vivant. Amateur photographer. Graphic designer. Runner. Master instagrammer. Typophile. Flea market frequenter. Beach bum. Epic party thrower. Greek dancer. Crafter. A sane OCD.
INSPIRED BY INVITATIONS When my husband and I got engaged I knew immediately that I wanted letterpress invitations. For fun, I decided to take a few classes at the International Printing Museum in Carson, and when I discussed letterpress wedding invitations with my instructor, she suggested that I print my own with her help.
My husband and I rented press time in her studio, and together, we printed them – I was hooked. Shortly after, I purchased a small table top Kelsey, and started creating cards for myself and for friends. And thus – Cartoules Press was born.
CREATIVE IN CALI My shop is in my home studio detached garage in Long Beach, California. We’re actually planning a major home remodel in the next few months so things will drastically change — for the better. But currently my situation suits me and my printing needs.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS When I’m working on a custom invitation or piece, I love to get inside my client’s head and sort out their thoughts. For example with my brides, I love to get a sense of their wedding, but also about their personality — what kind of clothes they like to wear, where they shop — just to get a sense of their likes and dislikes. Sometimes I print submitted work, but I prefer to print my own designs. Right now I’m printing part time, and it’s been this way since the inception of Cartoules Press. While I’m printing I’m almost always drinking a homemade latte and blasting music. I work best listening to Spanish or Greek rock music with a little dance music thrown in.
PRINTING FEATS Last year I was recognized by the Greek American Foundation as a member of their “Forty Under 40” for my work with Cartoules Press and the unique offering I provide to not only Greeks in the US and abroad, but to the design community as a whole. I’ve also received some great press placements in Marie Claire Greece, for example, and have had some super clients like Mercedes-Benz.
BOXCAR’S ROLE You guys are fantastic! Last minute? Under the minimum? No problem. You guys always take care of me and my plate making needs, and with a smile on your face (at least it sounds that way over the phone).
SHOP TIPS Don’t be afraid to experiment with techniques or styles of printing. There’s definitely a few different ways to accomplish the end result with letterpress, it’s just important to find out which methods, techniques, and tools work best for you.
WHAT’S NEXT Remodeling the studio space is top priority right now, and something that I’m very excited about. The presses have moved with us twice now, so I’m really looking forward to giving them a beautiful permanent home full of light and plenty of new storage.
Big heaping thanks out to Julie Karatzis of Cartoules Press for sharing her story!