Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sycamore Street Press

So I consider myself seriously lucky because I happen to be friends with Kirk and Eva. I'm really going to miss our weekly dinner and movie nights. I mean, who else would always come over here so we could put Creed to bed and watch the back to the Future Trilogy or Troop Beverly Hills? When I met Eva, I knew I HAD to be friends with her, but I was secretly afraid that I was just not cool enough (she is the opposite of snobby, but she loves Japanese candy and goes to modern exhibits at the Wexner Center that I don't get and records music with Kirk and has a unique style about her. Much cooler than me, you know what I mean?) I'd only talked to her once when I invited to her witches brew party, and not only did she come, but she showed up in a beret with an owl on top and our friendship was sealed.
Well, it just so happens that Eva has a masters degree in print making (pretty much the coolest degree that I have ever heard of, and I am green with envy) and she's an amazing artist. I would kills to have her drawing skills. On their move to Ohio so Kirk could get his PHD in Russian, they picked up a vintage Vandercook Press which they set up in their dining room, and so began Eva's shop, Sycamore Street Press.
I've loved and admired her work and helped her with a few minor details here and there and in return, Eva offered to print something for me. I wavered for a while, and finally decided to do a simple alphabet print for Creed's room. After talking to Eva about it, we thought as long as we were paying all the set up fees to have the plates made (the plates for a letterpress are expensive and we had to have two plates because I wanted the print to be two colors), we might as well print several and try selling them. Thanks to Eva's suggestion, I designed them to be 11" x 14" so they can fit in standard frames. They rolled off the press two weeks ago (literally rolled, Eva has to hand-crank every single one), and I'm so very happy with how they turned out!Eva printed them twice, in gray + orange and turquoise + crimson and she took them to the craft fairs she has been in this month and people are actually buying them! It's so cool to make something that other people appreciate too.In the midst of that project, I got this idea for something else I wanted to try. I loved some wallpaper I saw a while back that was covered in sketched picture frames and then you just stick your own artwork on top or even color it in and your own artwork is displayed all over in a fun way. We'll be renting our next home so that option is out for me. Then while I was reading The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child, the text on the opening page was surrounded by a beautiful hand drawn frame, and I LOVED it. I thought about trying to draw something similar on a plain white picture frame mat, but oh yea, I can't draw without a computer so that wouldn't work. I don't know how to actually print on a mat so that wasn't an option either. Then it occurred to me, wouldn't it be even cooler if it was a letterpress printed frame silhouette on a mat? Eva could print them on big sheets of thick, white, cotton paper and then people could cut them down to fit into any frame that they wanted and just put their own photo on top of the mat.

Eva loved the idea, but she was busy getting ready for several crafts fairs and didn't have time to hand draw frames so she told me if I could design it, she would try to squeeze in printing them. Somehow, we got them all done and Eva even printed them in two different colors. Here they are. They are printed on 12.5" by 20" paper and are designed to frame your favorite 4" x 6" photos or perhaps some of Eva's beautiful cards. I designed them in a baroque style full of lots of flourishes so you would be able to see the letterpress indent. There are three different designs meant to go together or stand alone and you can mix and match them in turquoise or crimson. After the move I plan to use three of them to frame my favorite black and white photos from Candice. I think mats like that could make even the not so good photos I take look like art. There's talk of creating another set in a different style if these sell well, but for now I'm just enjoying how these have turned out.

I highly recommend checking out Eva's Etsy site to see her other marvelous products. Like these Gentleman Caller birthday cards that always make me smile (see, Eva really can draw!).
And witty cards like these designed by Be a Decent Human Being.
Can you believe that all of these paper goodies are created in Eva's dining room?
After the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn this weekend she's been getting noticed on some big time design blogs like Design*Sponge , and I couldn't be happier for her. She's worked really hard and loves what she does.

13 comments:

shanna said...

the work under eva's tent was lovely! so nice to read a bit on the process of making it so. your blog is a lovely find!

cheers to you and eva!

danielle said...

wow! congrats on such beautiful designs.. i absolutely love the ones you did! and thanks for turning me onto her shop. She is very talented! Love your blog!

emilykate said...

Awesome! I've already seen that alphabet poster on several blogs! How cool that you know her. I'm all over those frame mats!

Cristin said...

Congrats to both of you talented gals! (The alphabet is darling...and I'm a little crazy over the mats - they are fantastic! -- Seriously, eveything is lovely!)
...and the idea of the printing press in the dining room just makes it all even better!

Best wishes to you both!

Stephanie said...

Those are so cute and what fun to be a part of starting off a crafting business like she is. That's very exciting!

The Jensen Family said...

I NEED those! they are beautiful! good work guys!

Elisa said...

I love the Princess and the Pea by L.Child, but I can't say I remember the frame. I will have to go check it out at the library again. You and Eva are like a creative dynamic Duo...its so sad to have you guys split up.

Shauna said...

You are so talented - I love the alphabet posters. I may have to order one for the boys room. I'm so sad that you guys are moving and we never made it out to see you. We do visit UT more often though, so hopefully we'll be able to catch up sometime soon. You always have a place to stay if you visit Boston!

Eva Jorgensen said...

steph, i am blushing! you give me too much credit! you are so so talented. you did an amazing job designing the frames and the alphabet prints, and i am lucky to work with you. and even more lucky to be your friend! i'll miss you so much!

Melissa said...

Can I just say how much I love your blog?! It's crazy to me that we have never met and yet I still enjoy hearing about your creative, gun life. You are a great writer and I am always inspired by your creative adventures! Keep it up.

lisa (lost pezhead) said...

congrats to both of you! that is so cool.

Anna McF said...

So cute, and I love your haircut! (You probably have had that style for awhile, and I've just not seen you in 2 years!)

Himni said...

Your cousin Daniel here. Welcome back to Utah. (I saw you posted on my sister Wendy's blog). Moving to Sugar House should make it a little easier, but there will probably be some unexpected culture shock. I moved my family back after several moves and about four years away--most recently in London--and it was an adjustment, but there are lots of great things about Utah, too, and you'll survive.