I just got back from 4 glorious days attending the Ladies of Letterpress conference in Asheville NC. The conference was so jam packed with information, panels, discussion and events I barely had time to enjoy any of Asheville, but that’s OK. Instead I soaked up piles of information and returned to chicago with many wonderful contacts and inspiration.
The first day a studio tour of several letterpress printers around the area was organized. I had lunch plans with family so I didn’t officially make the tour, but I was able to drive around and see a few studios later in the day. Stops on the tour included:
7 Ton Collective
Friday was the first full day of panel discussions. Highlights included a “Designing for Letterpress” panel, a discussion on the history of women in letterpress and where women fit in today’s letterpress world and a “Retailer’s talk.”
Saturday was again a full schedule. Highlights included a “Business and Legal Matters Q&A” and a discussion on “Sustainability in Printing.” In the evening there was a screening of “Proceed and Be Bold” a documentary on Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. followed by a Q and A session with the filmmaker and Kennedy.
Sunday, the final day of the conference I attended 3 super interesting discussions including a ‘super panel’ on the future of letterpress and a panel on high-brow vs. low-brow.
There were SO MANY things I loved about attending the conference. First, I loved the diversity of all the proffessionals actively working in the letterpress world. People came from so many different backgrounds from commercial printing, to fine art printing, book arts, posters or greeting cards and wedding stationery. Coming from a fine art and book arts background myself it was really refreshing to be in that environment again. I can sometimes get so stuck in my own world of running my own business it was really nice to get out of that for a moment. I was able to take a step back, get some perspective and inspiration from people working in the same field around me.
I also REALLY enjoyed meeting all of the other women printers in attendence. It was just so wonderful to be surrounded by so many people with similar interests and similar knowledge. There were about 200 people there and I spent most of my time with Debbie of Penelope’s Press, Julie and Tyna from Henry and Co. in Atlanta GA, and Rachel from Letterpress of Tulsa.
A few months ago, on a trip to Chicago Rachel had contacted me and asked to come to visit my studio. She stopped by one afternoon to see my space and that was the only time we had previously met… I didn’t even know she was going to be at the conference until I saw her Friday morning! It was really great to reconnect with her.
At the end of the 3 days I came away with so many new contacts, a head full of ideas and two full tote bags of paper samples and printed materials. You can see just a sampling of all my goodies in the image below. It was really a fantastic experience all around and I’m really looking forward to the next one!