Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

October Rewind – It’s SPOOKY How Fast It Went!

The only thing that truly is scaring us that we have to do an October Rewind already because that month could not have moved any quicker! However, despite it moving fast, Steel Petal Press moved even faster in order to keep up with the hustle and bustle of a growing small business so keep scrolling to see what we were up to in the month of October!

7-12-16 Steel Petal Press Studio Tour
Chicago, IL
©2016 Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Springin’ Into Action With A New Wholesale Release:
The entire Steel Petal Press team has been in hyper drive to complete our new Spring Release. From designing, to printing, to photography, and much more, it’s a time consuming job but we couldn’t be happier with the new items we’ll be adding to our product offering! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for when those drop for wholesale order and check out our Instagram and Facebook for little sneak peaks, in the mean time!

OOAK December 2018 Show:
It’s that time again when we are gearing up for the December One Of A Kind Show! This is a big show for us as there are lots of shoppers that come through with the hopes of knocking out some Christmas shopping with special and “one-of-a-kind” (see what we did there, *wink wink)* items for their loved ones! As much as we love the bustle of the show and sharing Steel Petal Press goods with the world, it does take a lot of time and energy to proper prepare, set up, and work the show! In the end, despite the exhaustion, it’s always worth it and is a great reminder that an important part of what we want to do with our brand is to connect with people.

Here’s some important details about the show:
– When: December 6th-9th
– Where: 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart
Booth #1021

We hope to see you there ūüôā

Our Newest Addition:
Steel Petal Press could NOT be more excited about the latest permanent addition to our little family: Rachel Kopp! We brought her on originally as a temporary part-time retail employee to help us during the holidays, however her positive attitude and hard work quickly convinced us that we wanted her here with us as long as possible! We found Rachel through our Retail Manager, Shelby, as they are close friends and actually first moved to Chicago together about 4 years ago. It’s awesome to find such awesome people and cultivate a passionate and caring work environment that we hope shines through to all of those who stop in and shop with us!

Last, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Shayna and our Shipping Manager Rachel are huge fans of Halloween so we made sure to do it up right this year at Steel Petal Press! We coordinated a very cute costume for all of  us working that day:
3 Blind Mice SPP

Rachel, Shayna, and Shelby were…can you guess it!? (3 blind mice, haha!) We received a lot of compliments…although a lot of people also thought we were the girls in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” music video (here’s a link if you need a refresher). BUT, it didn’t really matter because it was all in great fun. We got to hand out some candy to a vew very stinking cute trick-or-treaters so you could say we had a pretty kickass Halloween!

On to the next month, stay tuned ūüôā

Behind The Scenes – Color Mixing


A lot of prep work happens before you get to printing, here Shayna and Fuko are picking out the perfect shade of grey to mix up.


Getting the right ratio can be tricky! Shayna shares a few tips on how to get the color just right.

photo(32) We custom mix each of the colors we use, another part of the process that makes hand made products special!

Behind the Scenes – Photo Friday


Another week has passed and another craft fair awaits us tomorrow morning! This time we will have a booth at the DIY Trunk Show from 10-5pm! Today we were busy away in the studio packaging all the great letterpress holiday cards and other goodies like sparkly ornaments and handmade journals! Like always Shayna spent the end of the day doing a dry run of the booth. We like to be prepared for everything at Steel Petal Press. We are super excited for this craft fair and expect a great turn out! Come by and say hi and maybe buy a little something for a friend or yourself.

See you tomorrow!!!!

Lisa, Studio Assistant at Steel Petal Press

Letterpress Studio Move Recap

letterpress studio move

empty space except the presses

Happy October everyone! ¬†It’s been a really busy and tiring few weeks for me. ¬†Most of last week I spent working 12-14 hour days trying to tie up loose ends, packing up, getting ready for the big MOVE, then unpacking. ¬†Read more about the new space HERE.

After a full day of printing on Tuesday Lisa and I started packing up the studio and brought over some of the more delicate boxes of inventory and invitation samples.  Wednesday morning I met the movers first thing in the morning for an early start on the move.

The last time I moved studios was in JANUARY in CHICAGO and it was COLD!    This time it was a gorgeous, sunny, 70 degree day in September which made the whole process, although tiring, very pleasant.

Moving presses is no easy feat. ¬†They are VERY heavy, oddly shaped, bulky and top heavy. ¬†If you don’t know what you’re doing it could end disastrously,¬†destroying ¬†irreplaceable pieces of machinery. ¬†(I’ve read and heard horror stories of presses falling to their death by the hands of ill equipped and inexperienced movers)

Luckily Chicago is full of old press-men who are prepared for the challenges of moving this type of machinery .  They know how to take it apart if necessary to fit through doorways or around other obstacles.   Don and Gene moved my presses into my old space in January and did a great job, so I hired them again to help me move into my new studio space this time around.

This time they moved both presses, the paper cutter, the flat file and all my boxes and furniture as well.

moving letterpress machinery

presses and furniture waiting in the hallway

moving letterpress machinery

All day Wednesday they worked on getting everything over to the new building (Lacuna Artist Lofts,) which is only two blocks away.

moving letterpress machinery

presses on the loading dock

moving letterpress machinery

press + flat file + paper cutter in the hallway

By the end of the day Wednesday they got everything into the new space except Penelope (the C&P).  She was too wide to fit through the door.

moving letterpress machinery

Paper cutter and Vandercook being put in place

moving letterpress machinery

At the end of the day Wednesday

Don and Gene returned EARLY Thursday morning to take apart Penelope (the Chandler and Price) and fit her through the narrow doorway of the new studio.  They took off the guard, the side arm, the fly wheel and the foot break and were able to push her into the room with no problems.

disassembling Chandler and Price Press

Penelope in pieces

moving letterpress machinery

pushing the press through the doorway

moving letterpress machinery

lowering Penelope off skates

It took a day and a half, a little finesse and a lot of heaving and hoing, but by Thursday afternoon everything was in the new studio space. ¬†The last three days I have been busy unpacking, cleaning, de-dusting and organizing. ¬†(I was even able to get some printing done over the weekend!) ¬†I’m super happy in my new space and will write more about that soon!

Letterpress Studio Move

Old and New


My Past Live(s)

Did you know that in my past life I was a featured as a part of “Chicago Artists Month.” *

In 2009 I met two colleagues  and we started planning a community garden / collaborative space in Logan Square where fibers for paper making are grown along side vegetables for the community.

A few months later I was awarded the Aiko Fellowship**  through Columbia College.  Later that fall my work at the Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm was one of 20 featured projects for Chicago Artist Month.  My face was in several bus stops in downtown Chicago.

It seems like so long ago!  At some point after my first year of involvement with the garden (as much as I loved working there) I realized my level of participation was not sustainable.  Especially considering I was not getting paid, and had no way to actually make a living.

It was around that time I started focusing my energies on letterpress. ¬†I was still using my artistic background, but figuring out ways I could incorporate both artistic practice AND income to support myself. ¬† ¬†… and, A year later Steel Petal Press became my full time job!

* CHICAGO ARTIST MONTH: Every year throughout October, you are invited to meet hundreds of Chicago visual artists at exhibitions, workshops, open studios, tours, and neighborhood art walks at venues throughout the city. Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture in collaboration with more than 200 program partners, Chicago Artists Month aims to showcase the extraordinary talent and vibrancy of Chicago’s art community.

* FEATURED ARTIST: Each year, Chicago Artists Month spotlights a group of artists who embody the range of talent and diversity of the community. They all are associated with exhibitions or events where you can meet them or see their work in October. They are recommended by the organizers of these programs, and represent just a handful of the many artists participating in Chicago Artists Month.

** AIKO FELLOWSHIP: The Aiko Fellowship is an endowed fellowship that honors Aiko Nakane. She fostered and supported paper artists in Chicago for years and was the owner of the famous art store on North Clark Stree, Aiko’s. Each year, an outside juror is selected to award the fellowship, which is awarded purely on the quality of the application: how well the project is conceived and articulated. The Aiko Fellowship is a grant of $5000.00 and is available to Book and Paper graduate students completing their first year. It can be used for projects, as a travel grant, or even to support tuition.

Successful fellows in the past have participated in a range of activities: students have traveled to Egypt to make paper, to Ireland to photograph for an artists book, and attended Penland to make a collaborative artist’s book. Other projects have included an offset edition of a letterpress abecedarium, and one student attended workshops to learn traditional japanese screenmaking.

Newest Letterpress Invitations (and more!)

I have had one BUSY month! ¬†Below are a few of the projects I’ve been working on. ¬†Including:
A letterpress menu for a wedding at a vineyard:

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Lobster wedding programs inspired by my Lobster Save the Date cards.

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Sailboat inspired coastal Maine invitations (also an ode to the lobsters Рwhich is featured on the reply card).  This invitation set features a sailboat that I drew by hand based on a photograph provided by the couple.


*   *   *

Rustic camp invitations for a weekend wedding at a sleep away camp.  These were the followup on the Rustic Save the Date I created for the same couple several months before


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And finally, ANOTHER set of Maine inspired wedding invitations.  This time, using a map of Maine as the background, a lobster, and a depth chart of the small lake where the wedding will be held.

Map wedding invitaiton Stay tuned for EVEN MORE exciting updates from our pilsen studio… Like I said, it’s been a busy month!


Wolfbait and B-Girls

  I have been meaning to write a blog post about Wolfbait and B-girls for some time now so here goes.

I LOVE those ladies!  Shirley and Jenny are the two co-owners and have been supporting local Chicago businesses since they opened (5? years ago)

They were the first store to ever cary my cards (even before I had an etsy shop!) and encouraged me to make more as they sold so quickly in the early days of 2008 / 2009.

Fast forward 3 years later and they STILL sell the crap outta my cards.   I can barely keep them on the shelves.  And now that the summer months are here and the Logan Square Farmers Market is back in full swing, things just keep getting better!

So, seriously tho – hats off to these two awesome Logan Square women for promoting and supporting small, local businesses AND for being straight up awesome.

If you’re ever in Logan Square, this place is not to miss. ¬†In addition to my cards, they also have cute onesies, unique jewelery, belt buckles, dresses, t-shirts and other fun local Chicago wares.

Definitely worth a visit.

IndieAna Craft Exchange!

Next weekend please find me at the IndieAna Craft Exchange!

Saturday, June 9th
12p ‚Äď 8p
1505 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN


Thumbs UP Press

Last Memorial Day weekend hubby and I took a trip down south to spend time with his family in Atlanta Georgia.  Both his sisters have kids and the 13 of us stayed at his parents very full house for the weekend, which included 5 nieces and nephews ages 1 to 11.

Aside from spending time with the family, we also took a short field trip to Thumbs UP Press, a hobby press operated out of the basement of Bruce McDonald (and also an old family friend of the Norwoods) ¬†He runs a commercial printing business downtown, but has been collecting type and presses and letterpress printing as a hobby since the 50s! ¬†Needless to say, his basement was FULL of treasures, many vintage presses, and stacks of type reaching up to the ceiling… ¬†He was gracious enough to give me a tour while we were in town.

Here are a few pictures from my visit there.

Thumbs up Press

Small Showroom Chicago

Small Showroom, Chicago

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Party for the Small Showroom, at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport.  The Small Showroom is a temporary department store showcasing the works and crafts of members of the SMALL MANUFACTURING ALLIANCE, a group that fosters awareness of products handmade in the Chicago Metropolitan area, emphasizing that sustainable businesses are the key to our community’s economic well-being.

Steel Petal Press is a proud member of SMALL, and some of my cards, journals and posters are for sale at the Small Showroom for the month of May.

I was hugely impressed with the level of work on display there, and how professionally everything was set up.  There was large array of gorgeous handmade furniture, house wares, art and clothing.  The opening party featured free food from local vendors, beer and whiskey samples and DJs.

If you’re in Chicago I would definitely recommend checking it out.

The SMALL Showroom will be open  from May 4th  to May 27, 2012.

SMALL Showroom
3219 S Morgan Street

Thursday & Friday: 5-9pm
Saturday & Sunday: Noon to 5pm

Small Showroom, Chicago

Small Showroom, Chicago

Small Showroom, Chicago

Small Showroom, Chicago