Boxcar Talk With Nina Interlandi Bell

Like Nina Interlandi Bell from Tweedle Press, deep dish pizza got its start in the Windy City of Chicago, where people know their dough. Like an artisanal slice, her printings are filled to the brim with flavorful creativity. Whether you get the tried & true cheese style, a smorgasbord of meat toppings home-run, or the more well-honed and inspired artichoke and basil, Nina’s letterpress work and these pizza pies never fail to delight.

Read on to find out more on the commanding and captivating Nina Bell.


THE NATURAL PRINTER I’m a a graphic and web designer, letterpress printer, paper maker, and lover of nature and local/organic food, with a dash of rock and roll. Also, I want to be a cowboy.

FOR THE LOVE OF LETTERPRESS When my husband (iHub, also know around the shop and our house as “Minister of the Office Of Fun”) and I got married 5 years ago, I helped to design and assemble our invitations. I had them letterpress printed by a local printer, and knew when I saw them that I wanted to learn how to do it. I took several series of classes at Columbia in Chicago where I learned to work with cylinder presses, type, and plates, and also helped out up at the Platen Press Museum in Zion where Paul Aken taught me my platen press chops. I wouldn’t necessarily claim one particular moment of insight when I realized I wanted this to be my full time job, but everything just sort of coalesced: my lifelong love of paper and desire to own a card shop, all my years of experience with graphic design, my (apparently) genetic desire to be a business owner, and the fact that I love to get dirty and tinker with dangerous equipment.

PRINTING LEGACIES I knew when I saw the miniature empire that Jen from Starshaped Press had built that it would be possible for me to do what I envisioned. I wanted the flexibility of creating my own schedule, the satisfaction of having people choose to spend their hard earned money on beautiful things that I design and print for them, plus the ability to take time off for kids when I need to (which will be March, 2012!). Paul Aken too, of course, without whom I would never have acquired any of my equipment and who I credit with helping me move closer to accepting imperfection. Still working on that.

THE DESIGNER & THE PRINTER I do everything! My career experience has been 11 years of graphic and web design, and I’ve been printing for the last 4 years. However, I didn’t actually go to school for any of this – my music degree was supposed to help me be a recording engineer for when my band got famous, but that didn’t work out so well. Luckily I have always been a designer at heart, and creating show posters and websites for my band ended up giving me the experience I needed to land real design jobs. It all looks very intentional in retrospect.

THE DAILY GRIND Usually I end up procrastinating on big design jobs because getting over that initial hurdle of inspiration is so intimidating. Once I’m up against a deadline and have assured myself that there are no other “important” internet tasks for me to complete, I usually end up staring at the blank screen for a while. Once something gets me into the zone – it could be an image, a piece of text, or a color combination – then there’s no stopping me. Coveted episodes of TV on the DVR be damned! I can remain glued to my computer, despite iHub’s desperate attempts to force me to “relax”, for a very long time indeed.

FULL TIME PRINTER BY DAY, CREATIVE CHAMP BY NIGHT Just about. I still do a bit of freelance design work here and there that is unrelated to Tweedle Press, but most of my time is spent working at the shop. It has been a slow transition from my full time design job to what I’m doing now, but I’m very lucky that the owner at my previous company let me step down my days there gradually as Tweedle Press got busier. I’m still only making about half as much as I was when working full time at my previous design job, but I’m lucky iHub is so darn supportive and the business is growing every year. Continue reading