If you live in the Treasure Valley, which is the metro area of Idaho’s capitol city of Boise, you have surely seen the unique and whimsical cards from Ladybug Press. I met the artist/owner at the Boise West Elm store, perhaps at the grand opening. I can’t remember except that when I asked if she made custom cards, Angela said yes and my brain buzzed with the possibilities.
I have been looking for personalized note cards since my last stash depleted. The store I purchased the cards at is no longer in business and the notecard is no longer printed from the original supplier. I was on a quest of finding a new source. Having the cards custom made intrigued me, but not as much as I was absolutely delighted when I visited her small studio.
You see, Angela uses a printing press that is 100 years old, maybe even older. There is a patent stamp on the machine dated 1887. Yes, you read that correctly, 1887. She calls the machine the Blue Beast and from the photos you can see why. This is a Chandler & Price press that features a variable motor, which is not original and yet still vintage. The variable speed motor allows her to work at a manageable speed since the process is part machine and part Angela’s hands.
I sent my artwork to Angela and she had magnesium plates created. The plates are mounted on wood and fit in to what she called furniture, a chase of wood blocks that are held together in a frame. A “quoin” helps tighten the entire frame of blocks because tension is what holds it all together. This furniture frame fits in to the press ever so precisely with the plates for the top of my card which is my row of houses and trees, and the bottom of my card which is my name in the font I use in my logo. Then there are gauge pins opposite from the furniture frame that the paper fits neatly for the press process to even happen.
And so it did! When Angela was ready, she said, “let’s print!”. I am grateful she let me learn about this special process and watch my cards evolve from a blank piece of paper in to my very own note cards. After the cards were printed with the houses and my name font, it was time for an ink change. Using special rags and solution, Angela cleaned the plate and the rollers before she could then use a mix of colors to achieve the green we chose for the trees that are in between the houses. Lining up the tree color to the row of houses took a few tries and then voila! She was ready for the last press-ing to finish the cards.
The exquisite result looks beautiful, feels extraordinary and gives me joy in just how the cards were created. Just watching Angela put the parts and ink together, then the cards in her hands as she pressed each one individually will forever be in my memory bank.
I am one happy girl with these beautiful cards. Now you know that when you receive a card from me, how special the work is that went in to the creation and how special you are.
PS If you want to check out Angela’s studio, I highly recommend touring the BOSCO Boise Open Studios, which is a weekend when local artists open their studio doors to the creative process!
Here is the link to the events that are Not TO Be Missed! http://www.boiseopenstudios.com/
#ladybugpress #handcrafted #artworks #printingpress