Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The One that Started it All

The fact that I'm somewhat knee-deep in custom work at the moment kind of got me thinking the other day about the first custom printing job I ever did.  I really, truly love doing custom work for people and have been designing custom letterpress printed items and other personal projects for quite some time now (for at least the last seven years), but this is the first custom job I can honestly say was done under the name of Twin Ravens Press. 

Twin Ravens is still a very young little company and when I started it almost a year ago, I had a good friend, Ashley, who was about to have her first child.   Ashley is also an artist and illustrator and she had seen some of my early Twin Ravens greeting cards and some of the custom projects I had done for other people prior to starting Twin Ravens Press and she really wanted me to design and print her baby announcements.  I was totally excited and thrilled to do so, but I insisted that the project be a joint venture.  This is what we came up with: 

Ashley had just gotten back to Oregon from a vacation she took in Hawaii and really wanted an ocean-themed birth announcement.  She drew the cute little octopus down at the bottom right-hand corner of the announcement and I found the two starfish shaped ornaments in my metal type collection.  All of the words are Baskerville handset metal type.  The announcement was printed on an A7 size card with rounded corners and was paired with a coordinating blue envelope.  Here is a detail of the type (and yes, that is, in fact, their son's real middle name):

Pretty fun, don't you think?  Oh, and did you notice that picture of the cute little boy playing in the fall leaves at the beginning of this post?  That's Ares now.  He's already almost ten months old.  I took that photo of him playing in our backyard just a couple of weekends ago.  I guess what they say about time is true: it sure does fly...

Monday, October 27, 2008

¡Ileana y José están consiguiendo casados!

Just a quick little post this morning because I'm going to be thoroughly busy printing pretty much all day.  Remember those cool wedding coaster's that I printed for Lynn & Matthew? Well, Lynn posted about how much she liked them here on Wedding Bee and shortly after that I got an order from a new couple, Ileana & José, for the exact same coaster design - only with their names and wedding date.  So, what's so different and special about this job, you may ask... Ileana & José are from Puerto Rico and wanted their coasters in Spanish.  I just finished them last night.  Check them out: 

I think they turned out really cool.  What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Espresso Colored Calling Cards

I finished up a unique little calling card job on Thursday right before I went out of town to Portland.  The client already had the design, so this was a quick, just-print-it, sort of job.  What made it unique though was that I got to try out a new paper stock.  These calling cards are printed on Crane's Palette Espresso Brown Cover Stock.  This paper is 100% cotton like a lot of the other papers I use, 134 lb. and very, very stiff... but it's brown, which is cool.  I was trying to match a very light, creamy, off-white for the ink.  The off-white ink almost looks slightly silver on the brown paper, but I really like how the color turned out.  I really like them because they're so different.  Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good Design

I was blog hopping earlier today and ran across this poster. The first thought that came to my head was, literally: "Dude, that would look pretty cool letterpress printed, with some nice old wood type." The second thought was "Wow, that's sad, but painfully true."

(Image via Design Crush)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Carlos Lascano

I'm headed up to Portland this afternoon to run a few letterpress-related errands and potentially do some shopping.  While I'm away, you can tide yourself over with this lovely stop motion animation.  I recently discovered Carlos Lascano, and I think that I may be in love (with his work).  As another blogger put it: his talent truly runneth over.  More letterpress tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Featured on Stiksel!

I woke up this morning to find a lovely message in my inbox from Karin, a graphic designer in the Netherlands, who blogged about my new green scroll cards.  These cards were originally sold in red, yellow and blue, but I have had a few different custom requests that they be printed in other colors, the most recent of which being green.  Here are some photos of the custom ones I printed shortly after they came off the press:

I liked the green so much I printed up a few extra and listed them in my etsy shop.  You can find the boxes here and the singles here.  Want to see the feature blog post?  Check it out here on Karin's blog!  Thank you, Karin, for the feature!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm proud to say that I dropped off my ballot for the upcoming November 4th election this morning.  If you live in Oregon you will probably be receiving your ballot by mail this week if you haven't received it already.  With one of the most important elections of our time (in my opinion) occurring only 16 days away, I would encourage you to educate yourself about the issues if you haven't already, and then have your say about what the next four years are going to be like in this country, by voting.  

Normally, I intend to keep my personal opinions about everything other than letterpress and graphic design off of this blog, but in this case I feel I can make an exception.  This month I created 250 of the cards you see pictured below in support of the Obama campaign.  Each card is approximately 4" x 5" and was printed in three ink colors (red, blue and black) on Crane Lettra's Bright White 100% cotton letterpress paper. Each card features the following quote from one of Obama's campaign speeches: 

"Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.  Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be." Barack Obama, January 3, 2008

I sent 155 of these cards off to the Amalgamated Printer's Association for inclusion in their monthly mailing and I gave several out to family, friends, neighbors, etc.  I have approximately 50 left, if you would like one for your very own, please contact me and I would love to send one to you (while they last).  

I hope as a country we can come together and make better decisions for ourselves than we did the past eight years, because making the wrong decision in this election would only cause us 4-8 more years of the same failed politics that we're dealing with now.  If you need more convincing that voting for change is the way to go, watch this video: 
Seriously.  Think about it.  Happy Voting!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Featured on Mixed Plate!

Back in June, before I had this blog up and rolling, my "This is how we roll" Sushi Cards were featured on the design blog Mixed Plate.  If you're just tuning in and missed this awesome feature, you can still check it out by clicking here.  I hope you're having a great weekend!  There will be more new stuff to show/blog about next week!

Friday, October 10, 2008


It's been a while since I gave my little etsy shop any real attention on this blog - so I thought I would share one of the newest additions to it with you!  If you haven't been to my etsy shop in a while, you'll notice a couple of really cute new additions, both in the form of little green frogs.  

The first of the two is a great multi-purpose card.  It features a little green thoughtful looking frog with the words "Thinking of You" on the front.  As always, this card is blank on the inside for your own personal message.  They are sold as singles for $4 each or as a box of six for $20. 

The second frog card is a little more occasion specific.  He is jumping for joy with the message "Happy Birthday to You" on the front.  These cards are currently only sold as singles, but if someone wanted a box of six, I'd be happy to arrange that.  

Both frog card designs were printed on Crane's Lettra Bright White 100% cotton cover stock and both come with lovely, 4bar size, leaf green envelopes to match.  Both have a really awesome texture particularly because of the raised white hearts on their chests.  Because the green of the frogs gets pressed down all around the little white heart from the letterpress, the hearts came out quite a bit raised - it's kind of silly, but really pleasing to run your fingers over. The artwork for both of these cards was originally created by my good friend Ashley, if you want to check out more of her original art work, go take a peek at her etsy shop.  Happy Etsy Shopping!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Glowing Reviews

Now this may sound a little pretentious, but Twin Ravens Press loves glowing reviews of our work almost as much as we love puddle stomping and Oreo cookies with peanut butter on them.  While I feel like getting to do what I love every day is reward enough in-and-of-itself, reading or hearing about someone else loving my work is always an added bonus.  Remember the most recent wedding I posted about?  Well, the lovely bride from that post, Lynn, just posted another glowing review of her stationary and Twin Ravens Press on Wedding Bee, and on her personal blog.  Thank you, Lynn!  I'm very touched.  Go check it out!  

Friday, October 3, 2008

Meet Your Maker Show & Sale on October 3rd!

This will be a very brief post because there's a lot going on here today, but if you're in Eugene, Oregon and don't already have plans for this evening, Friday, October 3rd, you should come down to the First Friday Artwalk.  All of the downtown galleries will be open late and you can come and see (and purchase!) Twin Ravens Press products from me at The Broadway.  The Broadway is located on the corner of Broadway and Charnelton Street (the address is 200 W. Broadway).  They will be hosting me along with a group of other artists and craftsmen for the October Meet Your Maker Show. I've been participating in the monthly Meet Your Maker show since it began last July, and it always tends to be a very casual and fun little show and sale, with a variety of artists and craftsmen always present.  The Broadway is also hosting a free wine tasting in conjunction with the show and First Friday Artwalk, so come on down, drink some free wine, say hi and check out the art!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Finch Metal

Generally speaking, the majority of the custom work that I do currently is for wedding invitations and other social stationary.  One of my favorite other types of custom work to do though is business stationary.  I often think that with all of the "get way more business cards than you would ever need for $19.95" offers out there on the internet, that most people don't really consider letterpress or custom printing when it comes to ordering paper products for their businesses.  On the one hand, I find this a little disappointing that so many people are willing to sacrifice true quality and uniqueness for super-savings, but on the other hand it makes it really exciting when you do find a business (or a business finds you) that wants to do something really special, unique and high-quality for their paper products.  

Jill Antonishak of Finch Metal Jewelry Studio in Washington D.C. recently contacted me about creating some unique, high-quality paper products for her business.  Jill creates a line of awesome, whimsical and unique sterling silver jewelry.  Those who know me know that I don't ever really wear a lot of jewelry, but despite that I really like Jill's work and may have to order a piece or two for myself.  Check out this awesome kite necklace:

She also has some other really playful and whimsical designs including a jack, pinwheels and a paper airplane!

Besides making really beautiful jewelry, I also like Jill's work because she tries to be as environmentally conscious as possible, which I feel is something we have in common.  Twin Ravens Press generally buys only 100% cotton rag (tree free!) paper or paper that has been recycled and contains at least 30% post-consumer content.  I also recycle all of my misprints and off-cuts by donating them to paper-making students at the University of Oregon (my Alma mater).  I am also proud to be taking advantage of  the new Boxcar Press Photopolymer Plate Recycling Program (BPPPPRP, for short).  When I'm not printing from antique lead type I buy all of my photopolymer from Boxcar.  They are an awesome company to work with and are really proud of their sustainable practices.  I mean they plant a tree for every order anyone makes over $100... how cool is that?!?  I'm proud to do business with them and I like to attempt to do my part sustainability-wise, because honestly, printing isn't historically the most environmentally friendly industry ever.  

Anyway, back to Jill: she uses recycled and reclaimed silver in the creation of her work, and she also strives to minimize the environmental impact of her business and promote sustainability by using recyclable recycled packaging and other materials as much as possible.   She also donates part of her proceeds to various charities that help to alleviate poverty and focus on getting resources and services to those in need.   Way to go, Jill!

When I started working on her business products, she already had her business logo from another designer, so creating designs for Jill was all about incorporating her existing logo design into a beautiful and functional business card that could be printed on the letterpress.  This is what we came up with:

Aren't they pretty?  Her logo's colors were a lighter chestnut brown and a light sky blue.  She also wanted some folding cards  to send out to customers, clients and galleries using a variation of her logo that she also uses as her avatar on her website. Both the business cards and folding cards were printed on Crane Lettra's 100% cotton Pearl Lettra letterpress paper and the folding cards come with some pretty 30% post-consumer recycled sky blue envelopes. Check them out:

Thanks so much Jill for your business and for making such awesome work!  All the best!