Big grant and truck events!

Hello, friends of Moveable Type!

It’s been awhile since I’ve reached out on this here blog… but I wanted to write today to announce two things: 1) my studio is applying for a grant and needs your help and 2) I’ve got some upcoming truck events in the great Northwest.  Please read on!

So, this grant.  As many of you know, when I’m not printing out of a truck, I operate my business out of a cooperative studio in Portland called Em Space Book Arts Center.  This is an amazing facility and has really allowed Power and Light Press (that’s me!) to get up and running these past few years. Em Space provides shared workspace, equipment, education and community support to independent printers and bookbinders.  We each pay monthly dues that go toward rent and upkeep, and in return we gain 24-hour access to the studio and all its wonders.  This is a tremendous help to those of us who are starting a business but can’t yet invest in a fully equipped print shop of our own, or for the more casual printer/bookbinder who just needs occasional access to equipment and studio space.  We also offer classes and other community outreach programming to try to increase awareness and familiarity with book arts.

We’re applying for a BIG small business grant to help us grow.  This grant will award $250,000 to 12 small businesses who are making an important contribution to their communities.  We firmly believe that Em Space is a vital resource in Portland, and thrill at the opportunities 250K could bring – improved workspace (with climate control?!), additional equipment investments, a visiting artists program, a dedicated paid manager position (it’s currently all volunteer run, mostly by Rory, who puts in well over 20 hours of unpaid work each week) and, most of all, just a bit of security that we can continue to provide for our members.

But in order to be considered for this grant, we first need to gather 250 votes by June 30th – that’s THIS SATURDAY!  The voting process is super simple and quick – we don’t need any of your money, just one minute of your time, and it could help us out SO much.  Please consider casting a vote for us so we can be in the running!  All you have to do is visit www.missionsmallbusiness.com, click on “log in and support”, and search for Em Space Book Arts Center by name.  That’s it!  We really appreciate your support – thank you!!!

In other news, I’ve got a couple trucks events coming up.  This weekend, I’ll be heading out to central Washington to an awesome place called Mighty Tieton.  I’ll be taking part in their Camp Mighty Tieton, which will involve camping, experimental shelter-building, textile workshops, wine, music, movies in a barn and printing in a truck.  Should be fun.

And then later in the summer, I’m planning a week-long tour of Eastern Washington and Oregon, with planned stops in Spokane, WA, Pendleton, OR, Enterprise, OR, Bend, OR, and McMinnville, OR.  More on that later.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, and keep in touch!

Portland, OR show this Friday!

Portland friends – come on out this Friday to Em Space Book Arts Center!  This will be a big, comprehensive wrap-up from the trip… prints, photos, other stuff.

Also, great homecoming feature from Oregon Public Broadcasting today, on their Arts & Life website: http://www.opb.org/artsandlife/arts/article/moveable-type-returns-home-portland/

Hope to see you there!

NSS and the next steps forward…

whoa, this is not a truck at all
whoa, this is not a truck at all

Well folks, this time I let someone else do the driving.  Or flying, as it were.  On Friday, I flew from PDX to NYC, and had a cocktail and caught up on some reading while in transit.  Luxurious!  I’ve come to New York for the National Stationery Show, a trade show for paper geeks.  It opened today, and runs through Wednesday.  If you’re in town for the show, please stop by and say hello!  I’ve already run into so many familiar faces – folks I met along the way in my travels.  It’s like a little reunion, and I love it.  I’m in Booth 2267, sharing with my friends Blue Barnhouse and Lady Pilot.

I had a poster version of this hanging in the truck... it was very popular and will soon be available as a card!
I had a poster version of this hanging in the truck... it was very popular and will soon be available as a card!

My game plan upon returning home from my truck adventures has been to dive right into production mode.  In the past three weeks, between reprinting my existing card line and working on new designs, I’ve printed several thousand cards and spent a LOT of time reorganizing the studio.  It has felt amazing.  Driving around all year, I had lots of time and space to dream up new ideas, reflect on my life and work, and figure out what direction to head in next.  I’ve made the decision to step away from offering custom letterpress services so I can really focus on my line of greeting cards and pursue my own creative work.  This is a shift I’ve been wanting to make for a while, and I needed the break this year to really start with a clean slate.  I’m thrilled for what’s to come.

totally not boring, though
totally not boring, though

In the next week or so, I hope to launch a fresh new Power and Light Press website (it’s currently under construction).  I’ll continue blogging on that site, not about travels of course, but about my process in the studio and other bits of inspiration found along the way.  I’ll write the occasional post here, but for the most part, this Type Truck website is going to remain idle until I have truck-related news or start thinking about the next tour… no guarantees just yet, but I’ll be sure to announce it loud and clear if something starts to take shape.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in keeping up to date with my work and happenings, there are a few things you can do:

+ join my mailing list by clicking this link or by e-mailing me.  I send out verrrry occasional missives, mostly when I have big news or shows or new products.

+ follow on Facebook, Twitter (@typetruck), or Instagram (@typetruck) for daily snippets and immature jokes.

yeah! I hate holes!
yeah! I hate holes!

Thank you all so much for sticking with me throughout this past year.  It has been a truly incredible adventure, and I owe every bit of it to you guys who came out to greet the truck in your hometowns, who cheered me on along the way, and who shared your own creativity and boundless generosity.  I am honored to have crossed paths with you, and I’m forever grateful for what I’ve learned.

P.S. there just might be a book in the works… if anyone out there wants to publish said book, please be in touch.

photo by Krista Friedrich
photo by Krista Friedrich

Please help Hamilton!!

photo courtesy of Hamilton
photo courtesy of Hamilton

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum has suffered some overnight flood damage and their collection is in danger!  This place is an American treasure and needs help NOW to clean up the damage and fix the roof to prevent further flooding.  You can donate securely through their website here: http://woodtype.org/support

Please consider helping out!  Thanks.

…and home

forty seven US States!
forty seven US States!

People of Earth: the truck made it home!  Two weeks ago, actually.  And we’ve slowly been settling back into civilian life, whatever that means.  But first, a little run down of our final days on the road.

terrible after-hours photo of Idaho Poster
terrible after-hours photo of Idaho Poster

First, a stop in Boise, Idaho, to visit the fabulous ladies at Bricolage.  This was supposed to be my very first stop on the tour way back in June, but when I got hit in the face with a bungee cord, I had to alter my travel plans a bit.  I was so thrilled to finally get back out this way and see what they’re up to.  Bricolage is a lovely store/gallery, featuring all manner of handmade goodness from Idaho artists and beyond.  In their words: Bricolage = low-brow art + high-brow craft. Nice.  I also got to meet and collaborate with Bingo Barnes, a local letterpress printer who recently opened shop as Idaho Poster & Letterpress.  His shop is a little maze of rooms stuffed full of type, cuts, and presses – I can’t wait to go back to play around and make some posters with him one of these days.

the sky threatened to snow all day long, but rarely did
the sky threatened to snow all day long, but rarely did

I spent a cold night in the truck and awoke before dawn to get a start on a long drive, back-tracking to Bozeman, Montana.  I was heading there for a second time (first visit was in August), but this time around it wasn’t for a printing event – it was to meet up with four ladyfriends (my old college roommates!), all of whom live on the East coast so I don’t get to see them very often.  It was a bachelorette party, of sorts.  But with less strippers and more hiking.  Probably an appropriate amount of booze, though.  There was definitely a little of this:

And a good deal of this:

And quite a lot of this:

And all around us was this:

It was such a great week.  It felt so good to be with such dear friends at the tail end of this huge adventure – exactly the right way to close out an epic journey of self discovery, with the familiarity and comfort of old friends.  And then, as we were saying our goodbyes and parting ways, and I was gearing up for the last five days of solo travel, this treat:

yay!
yay!

I think it was the truck’s way of saying “Don’t go gettin all soft just yet, we’re not quite done here.” It did snap me back into travel mode again.  So, umm, thanks?

I got the tire fixed and hit the road to Missoula, for a visit to Noteworthy Papers & Press, a sweet little stationery shop downtown.  The next day I drove through the Idaho panhandle and into Washington, to Spokane.  I did one printing event at a bar downtown called Mootsy’s, then headed outside of town to visit the art/design department at Eastern Washington University.  And then it was time to go home.  I drove all day through Washington and into Oregon.  It rained, and then the sun came out, and then it rained again.  A pretty perfect way to return to the Pacific Northwest.

Home is up there, just around the bend.

Utah

nice take on the classic Beatrice Warde broadside
nice take on the classic Beatrice Warde broadside

Next stop: Salt Lake City, where I was thrilled to visit The Mandate Press!  Ben Webster and his crew have a totally legit operation going on in a beautiful and enormous airplane hangar-like space.  We had a great turnout that night, and we collaborated on a two-part poster – much fun was had.  Thanks for an awesome time, guys!

"welcome to The Mandate Press.  I'm glad you're here"
"welcome to The Mandate Press. I'm glad you're here"

I met David Wolske, creative director of the Book Arts program and Red Butte Press at University of Utah.  The next day, I headed up the hill to campus and he showed me around the print shop.  It’s a phenomenal collection, and Red Butte Press publishes some gorgeous books.

fleet at U. Utah
fleet at U. Utah

I left SLC and headed west on I-80, into some of the loneliest stretch of highway I’ve ever seen.  It was magic.  The highway passes south of the Salt Lake (the Great one!) and through the Bonneville salt flats – such a beautiful and desolate landscape.  This might have been one of the best days of driving on this whole trip.  Photos:

salty
salty

preparing to set a new land speed record
preparing to set a new land speed record

VEGA$

Las Vegas!  My first time here!  I’ve been wanting to visit for years, but never really had a good reason to.  Or any money, for that matter.  This time around, I still didn’t have any money, but I did have a good reason: Michael & Brooke Coxen, who run Paper & Home, a stationery design studio in town, had contacted me a ways back about a potential visit to Vegas.  We teamed up with Evelyn Walker from RDG, a local advertising firm, to set up a truck event.  It was a crazy windy day, but sunny, and we had a good time.  It was great to finally meet Michael and Brooke and Evelyn, after so many months of emailing.  I think I also ended up meeting every person in the Vegas letterpress community, which was awesome because I hadn’t even realized that there was a community there.  I met Amy and Mitch from Somersault Letterpress, who recently took over an existing printing business and are in the process of revamping it and calling it their own. They had me over to their lovely home studio for a beer and a tour.  Their place is just south of the Strip, but it feels like another planet – it’s quiet, shaded, green, and there’s nary a tourist or club promoter in sight.  So refreshing!  And their studio is gorgeous.  Here’s a blurry photo of their front entrance.

Somersault Letterpress' dreamy home studio
Somersault Letterpress' dreamy home studio

They took me out for an amazing sushi dinner at their favorite neighborhood spot.  I love it when people are clearly regulars at a place – the chef just kept putting food and wine in front of us without us even ordering.  Everything was delicious, except maybe that sea urchin stuff… what was that called?  Uni?  Amy loved it, but I’m still not so sure.

woot!
woot!

It was really important to me that I get this glimpse of the non-Vegas-y side of Vegas, but I also wanted to get a glimpse of the full-on VEGAS experience.  And so, I lost a bit of cash at the blackjack table.  That’s what you do when you go to Vegas for the first time.  It wouldn’t have felt right any other way.  This cashout ticket represents what I walked away with at the end of the night, after I’d lost it all at blackjack and then moved on to the penny slots, trying to salvage a bit of my dignity.  Pro tip: playing the penny slots will never salvage your dignity.

where neon goes to die
where neon goes to die

On my way out of town the next morning, I discovered the Vegas I wish I had seen more of.  Old downtown Vegas – with the campy older casinos and fabulous neon signage.  This is where I will go next time.  I stopped at the Neon Boneyard, only to find that you need an appointment to get in.  But I skulked around and shot some photos through the fence at the beauties inside.  This stuff knocked me out, and has inspired me to start working on a potential “Desert Typography” project… stay tuned.

Arizona

Again, the photoblog format – both for the sake of catching up, and also because Arizona is pretty darn photogenic, too.  Big thanks to: Karen Zimmerman at the University of AZ in Tucson; Pyracantha Press and Cheryl Chlebowski with AIGA for a great visit to ASU in Tempe; and my friend Laura/Lulu Dee and her family for two fabulous days of r n’ r in Scottsdale.

I'm all ears
I'm all ears

double trouble in Tucson
double trouble in Tucson

ASU
ASU

and then... this
and then... this

New Mexico

Oh, New Mexico… you never disappoint.  But so much has happened in the 3+ weeks since I was there, that I’m going to rely mostly on photos to tell the story.  And with such a photogenic place, I doubt anyone will mind too much.  BIG THANKS to my new friends and co-conspirators:  Edie Tsong and Axle Contemporary (a gallery in a truck!) in Santa Fe; Brooke Steiger and the students at UNM in Albuquerque; and Laurie Taylor Gregg at The Village Press in Magdalena.  I know I will be seeing you all again before too long.

Axle Contemporary!!
Axle Contemporary!!

foil stamping at the Village Press
foil stamping at the Village Press

Magdalena, NM
Magdalena, NM

Portland should try something like this
Portland should try something like this

views from the truck
views from the truck

different kind of truck view
different kind of truck view

sunny days
sunny days

Marfa

To be honest, I really had to get out of Austin.  Love that town, but SXSW was overwhelming.  So many people everywhere, so much humidity, no parking.  I really enjoyed the moments when I could just park on my friends’ quiet street and walk to the coffee shop and around the neighborhood to see a band or two, but everything else… it solidified the fact that I just really don’t like festivals.  Before heading too far out of town, though, I first went down to San Marcos to visit with some great students at TX State – these guys came out on their spring break!  Their letterpress program is in its infancy, but the graphic design students were all really awesome and fun and smart, and seemed genuinely excited about learning a little more about printing.  They were live tweeting during my presentation.  ..  …  Thanks, guys!

And so, then, I hit the road West.  To Marfa!  The landscape makes a major transition just west of Austin – hills to desert.  The air changes, the humidity evaporates, the sky gets bluer, and the colors of the earth turn from green to shades of gold and brown.  It’s beautiful.  Marfa is one of those towns that’s not really on the way from anywhere to anywhere.  Of course, that’s not true at all (it’s on the way from Marathon to Valentine!), but it’s off the beaten path enough to attract a certain kind of traveler.  I always love coming here, but I usually just keep to myself and enjoy the feeling of disappearing into the desert…  This time though, with the truck, I was excited about actually meeting some locals and getting to know a different side of this strange little town.

I set up shop outside the Marfa Book Co, a really great bookstore in the heart of town.  It was an insanely windy day, but a bunch of awesome folks – and dogs – came out to make some prints.

this dog chooses the letter I!
this dog chooses the letter I!

I met some really interesting local artists – photographers, printmakers, writers.  Some of them are full-time Marfa residents, while others spend their winters down here, but travel/camp or have a home elsewhere during the hotter months.  This is a town I always seem to come back to, and it feels good to have actually, finally, made some personal connections here.  Next time I come back, I’ll only hide out for part of the time.

El Cosmico
El Cosmico

Run on Sentence and our friend Nick Jaina had finished their shows at SXSW and came out to Marfa the day after me.  We all stayed at El Cosmico, and they played a show that night as part of El Cosmico’s “SX Hangover” series – a few nights of music from some of the millions of bands that were all driving back from Austin to the west coast.  It was a lovely night.

outdoor kitchen at El Cosmico
outdoor kitchen at El Cosmico

And, AND – I ran into my friends The Crow and The Wolf!  We’ve been internet friends since last spring, and finally met in person while we were both in Minneapolis last summer.  We’ve been weaving complementary paths throughout this country ever since.  They have been traveling for the past 9 months, collecting material for a gigantic mixed media documentary exploring the state of art, creativity, and community in America.  It’s a massive undertaking, and they’ve gathered some incredible stories and experiences along the way.

hey ladies!
hey ladies!

As we sat around outside talking, the sun was setting over the desert and it occurred to me that this was perhaps the most powerful and definitive moment of this entire adventure.  This is what it’s all about – learning to be open to chance and uncertainty, to set fear aside and trust your own strength and intuition.  And to see the boundless BEAUTY that results.  These are the most important things that I have learned through my adventures this year, and it felt amazing to be able to share and talk about these lessons and experiences with other people, other women, who are on a similar path.  Crow and Wolf did a lovely write up on their blog, which I will quote here, as it so beautifully captures the magic and power of our reconnection in the desert:

The dust settled and the three of us sat around a table and shared travel stories. As our paths crossed early, on both our voyages, we were able to reflect on our personal growth and leathered hides. There was an overwhelming sense of solidarity. As travelers. As artists. As women. We shared the questions that we consistently receive as women on the road. We questioned the fears that are instilled in women and observed how us three have broken down our own trepidations and boundaries for the sake of our art and for a more fulfilling existence. Certainly, there are complications that come with being a female traveler, we have to be safe, but we are also not willing to live in fear.

Our reflections were coupled with the emotions of reentering the desert, a territory we all have a particular draw to and affinity for. Over the past 9 months of traveling, each of us can agree that much of our endurance was made possible by embracing the empowerment that is had when you just let go of it all and trust in the femininity of intuition.

Amen to that, ladies.