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So I went to look at some studio spaces in Bridgeport neighborhood last night with a friend who is interested in teaming up to split costs. The area is great, old industry, converted to modern small-scale manufacturing.
The building I was looking at is part of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, otherwise known as Bubbly Dynamics owned by John Edel. I’ve been acquainted with him for some time, and remember when the building was just taking its baby steps toward renovation. It was a mess, really, full of timber, old windows, junk and other people’s storage (John’s a nice guy like that). I haven’t been there in almost 2 years, and when I rolled up on my bicycle, I didn’t recognize the place!
The road had been paved, the factory across the street was razed. There was a sidewalk and curb cuts, and TREES. Wow. What a difference. Chicago really did some work over there. That makes me glad. Then, inside the building was another impressive sight. John had transformed this building into a gorgeous glowing example of economy and sustainability, married with fantastic design and beauty.
The walls that I’d been previously impressed with the fact that they had been sheet rocked finally, were now real solid walls, painted, trimmed with art on them. Oh! The big lobby sign was great too! The windows and doors and all the little things: finished and sealed concrete floors, HEAT!, some nice ficus in the hallways, lovely hand made railings on the stairs. So lovely.
As we toured the building, John pointed out how all the materials were salvaged, or donated. This door was pulled out of a junk yard, this railing was old brewery pipe, this glass block wall was reconstructed from block that was taken out of somewhere else in the building, this expensive Italian tile in the restroom was left behind by a contractor. Yay! For freebies.
We saw two different available spaces in the Center. One on the second floor, with nice windows. Not much of a view, but what can you really ask for in the manufacturing district? (Also, it smelled like cinnamon the whole time we were there. The Factory down the road, makes every kind of off-brand “Pop-Tart” sold in the US.) This space was just about 600 square feet. More than adequate for my needs, but I was going to team up with Chuck, so we went to the basement to see the larger space, but not before we went up to the roof.
A few years ago, I had gone to Bubbly and helped plant the roof top garden. John’s daughter’s face had been pixelized and mapped out with plant colors, and we were planting a picture of her. It didn’t look like much then, but now, wow! I can’t wait to Google Maps updates their satellite photos! Its very clearly a child’s face on the roof, in plants!
Then down to the basement, we saw an 1100 square foot space. Holy cow, it was SO BIG. It was empty and that made it feel even bigger. My voice echoed and to tell you the truth, I was a little intimidated by the vat openness of it. Agoraphobia, just a smidgen. Chuck liked that space. He likes to spread out and says he has done his best work in basements. :)
Now I’m rolling around the numbers in my head, thinking about what I’d have to do to get into that space. Sheesh. I’d have to get the capital funds to start up the business. Then, I’d have to move all my equipment in, which would be ok because there’s a freight elevator and loading dock. Then, I’d have to get all my stuff up from Saint Louis that’s still sitting over there. ugh. Then there’s planning to bring in enough money to pay rent in 2 spaces one to live one to work. Thankfully, the utilities are included at Bubbly.
The other tenants we met seemed excited to have printing in the building. Two are screen printing artists, and a few are people I know from the O.G. Chicago bicycle scene. It seems like an ideal space to work from, collaborate within and maybe become a real participating part of something meaningful and sustainable.
The only problem now, is the funding. And the fact that if I have the space, I now NEED a Vandercook. Dang.
Last weekend was the Amalgmated Printer’s Association Wayzgoose, also called the Playgoose, and the Iowayzgoose because it took place in Mt. Pleasant Iowa.
Mt. Pleasant is a middle-of-nowhere kind of town. Unmarked roads, faded vinyl siding, its not too much to see really. But they have the Midwest Old Threshers, a big fairgrounds with several buildings on it, all housing turn-of-the-century equipment for industry and farming, even a few exhibits on homestead technology from when the Pioneers settled and farmed Iowa and the surrounding region.
The Midwest Old Threshers is also home to a wonderland of giant steam powered machines, including a steam-powered electric generator from a mental hospital that generated its own power up until the 1960s:
A life-size Steam Locomotive Train on a 1.25 mile track around the grounds:
And even a Printer’s Hall with a steam powered printing press!
This year, the Annual Great Northern and Midwest Printer’s Fair ALSO coincided with the Annual APA Wayzgoose, making this event a double-your-fun, double-your-excitement weekend.
I camped out over the weekend, out by the trolley tracks (yes, they have a working trolley too!) and a lot of time exploring all the museums had to offer. Steve Alt, one of the volunteers there and an all around awesome guy (who not only prints on a 100 year old press powered by an antique gasoline engine, but also restores antique cars and engines), gave me a few great tours of the place. He took me into the boiler room and its his voice you hear in the first video explaining the mechanics of the generator. He also got me into the cab of the No. 9 and on the caboose for a ride around the track!
He let me print a few pieces on his Gordon Press for the APA print exchange bundle, which was so much fun! I used it powered by the engine, and also foot-treadled it manually. Its a fantastic little press!
The Swap Meet was great! There were a lot more vendors than last year, and a lot more people from the outside I think. I sold a good amount of things from Mr. Meers, and then put a lot of the rest into the auction. We made some good coin at the auction! I was very pleased. I ended up selling 75% of what I had lugged up there. Awesome!
I got to put a lot of faces to names, which was good too. Many people I’d “met” on printing forums or mailing lists, and never spoken to face to face. Now, I’m proud to actually be able to call them acquaintances. I got to rub elbows with of the fellows from the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, Jim Moran. We talked about workshops and events up in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I hope I can make it out there in December for a presentation by Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print.
It was a really great weekend, and I can’t wait for next years Wayzgoose in Huntington, W. Virginia!
Come out to LUSH on Armitage in Chicago Lincoln Park tomorrow night from 6:00 til 9:00 pm for an event I can’t remember the name of, but was asked to participate in last minute!!!
Apparently, businesses all along Armitage in Lincoln park are featuring local artists and artisans and Lock and Key Press will have its goods set up around the shop for sale! OMG!
There is another artist going to be there, as well as food from Karyn’s Raw Cafe, a raw foods restaurant here in town.
So spread it around! if you’re in Chicago and want something fun to kick off your Friday night, come get some delicious bath and beauty products and hand made letterpress prints!
NOTE: I’m a dumb ass and my boyfriend just informed me i’ve been mixing my metaphors. Like booze and sleeping pills, it could be dangerous. The title of this post was supposed to refer to the phrase “Wet behind the ears” but I confused the saying with someone being “green” as in “new and young to something”. So alas a new phrase, “green behind the ears” is born meaning: to have not yet participated in one’s first ecologically conscious craft show…Well, I did my first big craft show! I’m so proud! It took a lot of work and preparation, and today, I chill out a bit and don’t really want to look at my press (my print pulling hand still has some blisters that need to heal, for reals).
The crowds were alright for the show. I don’t really know too much about what to expect this time of year, during that weather etc etc in regards to turn-out of attendees, but its seemed like there was a good flow of people.
I am a little disappointed in the amount of sales and such though. I’m pretty sure its not my fault (I Am good enough, people like me!), as a few other vendors where wondering where all the sales were too. But, really, I suppose we should have expected it in this economy…
One thing that really killed my sales was my table location. See, I picked a nice corner spot, thinking that I’d be right by the doors where everyone came in. I guess The Powers That Be decided those doors were Emergency Exits only, so instead the main entrance was at the exact opposite corner, putting my table at the end of the very last row. Unforeseen switch-a-roo there… BAH and FIE!
The other things that I hesitate to complain about because they were pretty awesome, were the Fashion Show, and the Bands. The Fashion Show went on for almost 2 hours, and while it was very cool and participants got their work show cased, it literally blocked off an entire aisle of vendors from any traffic at the busiest time of the day.
The last thing I’m going to have to keep an eye out for at other shows, is : Do Not choose a spot directly in front of the band stand. While I had a front row seat for several great acts including Raw Earth and Red Card Royale, it was hard to converse with customers, and I think a lot of shoppers avoided that corner because of how loud it was. Also, there were belly dancers that accompanied Raw Earth. They were EXCELLENT. I loved it! (One gorgeous woman even asked me to dance with her but I was so intimidated I couldn’t. She was too beautiful and I was unworthy…) But anyway, awesome as they were, it created a bottle neck in front of my table. Lots of people hovered to watch the dancers, but no one wanted to walk in the narrow space between us end cap vendors and the dancers.
I’ll hand in these observations as notes for next years Green with Indie.
All in all, for this show being the first show in the area of its kind to focus on sustainable goods, up-cycled art and craft items and be billed as a No Waste Event, it was a complete success! April Tate of Miss Lemon fame of the STLCM did an amazing job organizing the whole thing and booking the entertainment. (I don’t know when that woman sleeps.)
Webster U was gracious and we had no problems that I know of with the event being held in the gymnasium. Hooray! They’ll let us back next year?
I also got to meet some pretty kick ass fellow Craft Mafioso, like David from Cranky Yellow, Kate of Red Anvil Art (she traded me a necklace!!!), Katie from Scarlet Garnet, and Shelah of Destroyed by Design.
Next big shows coming up are the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show July 31 – August 2, and the Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo Art Fair. Also, check out some of Lock and Key’s printed Ephemera for Sale at Cranky Yellow, on Cherokee Street at Nebraska in Saint Louis Missouri.
Admit it. You like a steamy romance novel now and then. Fabio the Pirate rescues Evaletta, the Mermaid Princess and makes sweet sweet underwater love until Evaletta’s evil Mer-king father finds out and – well, you know how it goes. But I bet you wouldn’t be caught dead reading that novel in a coffee shop. no no. Coffee shops are where you bring your Kafka and your Pynchon to advertise to the world how cultured and well read you are. But you really want to find out if Evalette lives through that avalanche, without the scrutiny of your caffeinated peers.
Enter the BOOK COVER!!! Yes, you can wrap your romance novel, your biography of Richard Simmons, or The History of Paper Clips in an air of secrecy while you sip your latte. Give people a clue about what tome you peruse by using the labels appropriately, or just put on the brown cover labeled BOOK and keep them guessing.
Borrow books a lot? Friends tired of you forgetting you have their copy of Pride and Prejudice? Wrap your on-loan volumes in a BORROWED cover so you don’t forget to whom the must return! You can even write on the cover to keep a record of who you borrowed from and when! COOL!
These covers are highly functional! They keep the original dust cover from being ripped, torn and otherwise abused in your purse/knitting bag/back pocket, while at the same time preserving the cover of the book whether it be hardcover or paper back! A few simple folds and VIOLA! force-field of protection around that copy of Why Cats Paint!
The Cream colored set is letterpress printed from vintage wood type, hand-inked in blue, brown and orange for a unique marbled texture, and set includes 4 covers, one each of FANTASY, MYSTERY (not pictured), BORROWED, and FAVORITE.
The Green set is 2 covers, FICTION and NON_FICTION printed from wood type in brown on textured green paper.
And not in a set, but sold individually, is a brown textured linen finish paper stock printed simply with the word “BOOK” along the spine. Durable and reuseable!
But if you want them you’ll have to come by the Green with Indie craft show next weekend. They are sure to go fast, so shop early and often!
The book plates are done. Have been for some time, but I’m lazy and sometimes the internet is a jerk. Here they are in their purposed application:
In order to complete my membership requirements for the Amalgamated Printer’s Association, I had to print up 155 copies of my proprietor’s card. It is like a business card, but in 3×5 format, I assume for the extinct Roladex…
Prop cards have to have your contact info, a bit of press info and exude your image. I’m pretty disappointed in how this card came out.
The type I have is old, and well-used, so finding crisp undamaged characters is difficult. The underline of “Lock and Key Press” is the only one I have, and it is nicked and dinged up in several places. I don’t mind that so much… My pretty pretty shadow font is so beat up, I can’t set more then five letters without one of them having a big old gash in it. Such is the nature of these utilitarian antiques, though.
I’m also disappointed in my lack of typographic skill here… I’m a great typographer, good with layout and have an eye for figure ground relationships. This arrangement of type on the left hand side bothers me. Its cramped, and dense. It looked good on proof, so I don’t know why I changed it, and didn’t pay any attention to how awful it looked.
But this is the 1stgen prop card, and will serve its purpose for now, but I will be redesigning and reprinting the whole thing because I don’t want this to represent me for long. I’d like to actually have my lock logo on the card, similar to my banner here and in my Etsy shop. I should know better than to make something like this. Ugh.
Congratulations to the new Family!
Come Craft Your Guts out at the STL Craft Mafia‘s first traveling Open Craft Night!
On Thursday Feb 19, at Soulard Art Market, from 6:30 to 8:30, we’ll be hanging out and making stuff – this is our first traveling Stich ‘n Bitch ‘n Drink (bring your own drinkies) and everyone is invited.
Bring whatever you want to work on and chat with your fellow crafters. There are plenty of outlets, so sewing machines are welcome! We’ll be knitting, scrapping, beading, sewing, gluing and more…
Tell your friends, bring some drinks and snacks. This is a free and open Craft night. See you there!
The Soulard Art Market is on the corner of 12th & Russell in Soulard, it’s very easy to find.
Third week of classes and they are going well. Everyone is working hard on their personal projects.
Letterpress Fundamentals, with only two students, is really cooking. They learned to lock u a forme, and register two colors, from which we printed a collaborative broadside.
The Digital Letterpress class made a bunch of photo polymer plates of their unique art work, and are working on printing their projects.
These back-to-back classes wear me out, but its a lot of fun. We’re starting a Student Collection of prints created by the individuals who take classes at Firecracker. Its growing steadily and is full of beautiful pieces of art! i’ll take some pictures next week.