Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas :: Buon Natale free download

Merry Christmas to all! For those of you who want a festive screen saver, send an e-greeting or even print next years Christmas greetings, here’s a free download for you (also available in Italian). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Parenting & Creating :: Go Hand In Hand

As a new parent and lover of print, I wondered (and still do) how parenting and creating can go hand in hand. Working at the computer, sketching ideas, writing at the blog, typesetting and doing simple chores has been possible because of my “what would I would do without” baby carrier! Inking my press is another story so far... Printing for the time being is reserved for moments when her grandparents or father can watch the bebè.

Being a creative person, I tend to want to do all creative projects by myself like designing her nursery, taking baby photos, making her stationery and so forth...  Seems like instead of scratching stuff on my to-do list, it grows the more I do! All the same, it's pretty cool as it’s opened up my mind to new projects and challenges which I’ll be posting the new year to come. In the meantime, there’s plenty of dyppies to change and smiles to be had!



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reminder Note & Letterpress Gift Idea :: Be Happy

A thoughtful reminder note and gift idea for your home, “Be Happy” during the holiday season and throughout the year! Happy Maker Station Market was created with the intention to highlight craft, design and their makers. We’ve opened up an online shop which we’ll be adding products to.

Pirouette Press has been collaborating with Paola Paoletti on limited textile print designs which are now on etsy. Letterpress printing on cloth isn’t easy, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well it worked for us on felt. This was also one of the first print jobs on the Vandercook!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Experience :: Letterpress Workers

The Experience with Letterpress Workers an international letterpress summit hosted by Officina Tipografica Novepunti has culminated in a book recounting their (our) adventures. I was fortunate to have been part of this experience and met many nice and talented people who gathered for several days under one roof in Milan to do what we are passionate about, letterpress.

The experience lives on, and as I wasn’t able to take part in the 2014 session due to my growing belly, I look forward to the next in 2015!

More photos here

Friday, November 7, 2014

Letterpress Kraft Envelopes :: All You Need Is Love and Postcards

All you need is love and postcards, especially vintage flea market ones or rock promotional postcards. These rummaged treasures have always been something I can’t resist. There’s permanence in the way Perry Farrell screams into his microphone with fluorescent dipped braids early on with Janes Addiction. I picked up that one on Congress Ave. Austin Texas when that infamous first album came out. These impressions are tainted in a way mail in the inbox has never been-they are stuck in time and bring me back to a physical place, full of smells and colors that plainspokenly give sense of direction.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vampire Hello Kitty :: New additions at the table

Being a new mom, 11 days today, gave me the duty to do a pumpkin for our own pumpkin on Halloween. Since I’m working on little sleep and using other spare moments to document Maya's “firsts”...we didn’t exactly have time to design and carve our very own. A Stencil came fast and easy! I found this vampire Hello Kitty on the net to carbon copy/etch onto the pumpkin. I then used acrylic paints to fill it in and presto! And hey who would have known, Hello Kitty is celebrating 40 years this year!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bathroom Redo :: Hooks

I first wrote about our bathroom redo a long time ago and tonight was the first night I actually got to step into that shower! We worked with a lot of artisanals and you can’t really give these folks deadlines. The bathroom door was custom, left nude then painted our choice color--it only took about three months to get that one done.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Letterpress Basics: Time to Print

This is the fourth in a series of posts speaking about the basics of letterpress. I started off with how to use a composure stick, next working with metal type and then on to moving your composition from galley to chase ready for print. There are a lot of visuals taken from my own hands-on experience learning the basics of letterpress in Paris with Thomas Gravemaker some years back. This is an overview and would suggest anyone interested in the craft to take on a workshop for more in-depth knowledge. So without further ado, it’s time to print!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Unexpected Treats in Kissamos Crete

End of summer getaway before getting back to work and having a baby! Crete has turned out to be a perfect island retreat with the unexpected unfussy treats absent of hipsters along the way. We are in the northwest part of Crete at Kissamos, our base. It’s an off the beaten track location where prices are really fair, tavern owners hustle for your business, and just minutes from bus stops to go to nearby crystalline beaches like Elafonisi, Falasarna or port city Chania for the day.
After the second day, we noticed an almost complete absence of top 40 commercial music everywhere. We, however, became acquainted with the type of music usually accompanying Sirtaki, the traditional dance and liked it.

Kissamos is a place that teeters in time. It’s an alluring non-chic place for many of nationalities, modern families and couples to come and spend ones summer break. As you walk in the village centre it’s easy to find electronic goods stores dress their windows with piled up boxed radios, microwaves and TVs. Older LG air conditioner units butt halfway outside windows of many homes and businesses to keep them cool when the strong westerly winds aren’t enough.

A lot of cars are smashed up, old rusted motor bikes to get you where you need to go, helmetless locals and boys who travel in tandem popping wheelies are the scenes my husband says existed in Sicily thirty years ago, and still go on here today. There are abandoned buildings, dogs roam the streets undisturbingly, and dress shops whose mannequins sport hair just a little off center. And then there’s the dominant and enchanting blue of the sea and the persistent sound of waves that coalesce neverendingly and perfectly just as it is.

We weren't there as bonafide foodies, however, there are plenty of locally owned taverns to choose from. We found ourselves at Aretousa a few times and would recommend it in Kissamos. It has an abundant menu, good food, honest prices and a treat at the end of dinner.

We roomed at family owned Galini Beach Hotel. If we ever find ourselves in Kissamos again, we wouldn’t hesitate to go back. The hotel is economical, very clean, helpful and full of smiles.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letterpress Studio Visit: Resurgence of Letterpress in Italy

I was contacted for an interview by thesis graphic design student at the Polytech of Turin University, Alessandra, about letterpress. She and her boyfriend, Lorenzo, popped in Friday for a studio visit. We first chatted about her thesis paper; her topic explores the resurgence of manual printing in Italy. I then introduced her to some of my metal and wood type and presses. I had some time to put together a wooden composition on the proof press which she got to ink and print! Good luck to her her and her studies.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Buon Auspicio Letterpress Notecards

Buon Auspicio! Good Luck! This is the first of a series of notecards dedicated to arrows. They symbolized many things for the American Indians and they are still used today to show us direction. 
Small format letterpress notecard - hand pressed - kraft envelope - printed on cotton paper - pms black  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weekend Letterpress Workshop in Italy

Wonderful letterpress workshop over the weekend with the lovely designer and instructor Katarina Czikorovà. She came all the way from Slovakia to Italy to learn a new printing technique and walked away with some business cards too!

We covered a lot of ground in two days... learning the basics, doing practice compositions with the proof press, closing the chase up nice and tight, measuring twice for perfect alignment, mixing color and finally prints on the table top press. She got the last train out of town, but we were able to finish her two sided cards in two colors printed on a variety of cotton and card stock paper (and eat a bowl of pasta)!

If you are interested in a private or tandem letterpress workshop please contact me for details. More details and pictures of other workshops conducted on my website.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend DIY Screen Printing Workshop

Lately I’ve enjoyed printing on textile, so over the weekend we took a trip to the verdant mountainous Fort di Vinadio to learn something more about screen printing.

Switch on Futurebased in Bra (headquarters of Slow Food), is a portal which connects artists with artists, events and organizers of events. Over the weekend they showcased west coast style screen printer  Christian Peirano. He did a diy screen printing workshop with handy tips as making your own printing plates by economical means--ingredients included cooking oil! Can’t wait to put these techniques to the test. Check out Christian’s instagram account!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Strong Arm Vandercook

All the way from America to western Europe this Vandercook has traveled, and it’s the latest big acquisition for the studio. She (I prefer to use the pronoun SHE as she’s got a strong arm) made it from Holland and was in the possession of a printer who passed on and whose wife decided the press should do the same. Now, she’s with me in Italy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Letterpress Basics: From Galley to Chase

This is a short but concise series of letterpress basics. The first two posts started with How to Hold Your Composing Stick to Composing with Metal Type on your composing stick and now getting your design From Galley to Chase secured, keyed up and finally Time to Print!

For visuals I’m using my first cards done at a letterpress workshop in Paris with Thomas Gravemaker.  I had in mind vertical and horizontal text and an oversized P. A line gauge (a specific printer’s ruler) helped measure how much distance I actually needed to create “designerly space”. In this example, the distance would be between the vertical and horizontal metal type relative to my sketch.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Letterpress Basics: Composing with Metal Type

This post might be past due but here it is nevertheless! Certainly, I’ve had time to practice composing with metal type, and once I learned the basics and dove in, this process was relatively easier that it first  looked.

At the top you see the composing rules with ears mentioned in Letterpress Basics: Composure On A Stick. It helps compose lines of type built on top of each other. Lines of type are mirror reflecting letters, words or lines of words you compose on your stick. These lines of type will be set backwards (and facing upwards) since the final print will re-reflect itself correctly. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Letterpress Seed Exchange: DIY Mini Envelopes

I made some mini envelopes for a letterpress seed exchange project I did with gals from mostly Europe. I’ll post more on that project later. Here’s a simple illustrative how-to make your own.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Collisioni Festival: Pure Monkey Business

Collisioni Festival, Italian literature and music jubilee on the hills gets going 18th July in Barolo. This pretty and tiny place is perfectly nuzzled in the wine and truffle region of Piedmont in north Italy. There’s an impressive “old school” music line-up, with the father of grunge himself, Neil Young and the sweet Suzanne Vega set to appear. At the other spectrum, Italian indie musicians new to the genre should be a treat.

There are a host of detailed driven activities for just about everyone this year too. Wine/food enthusiasts (especially those on a budget) this year get fashionable food trucks serving up gourmet Italian food. Also encounters with chefs, wine producers and experts in the industry will engage with the public over a glass of top notch wine.

Interviews with authors, artists, poets and rappers will feed the brainy types, and mommas and poppas toting kids also have a space dedicated solely for bambini, Collisioni Kids. A host of demonstrations and laboratories are planned, which Pirouette Press will be at to participate! It’ll be pure monkey business Sunday...


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mini DIY: Jazz It Up Envelope Liners

Versione inglese e italiano
A printer closed shop in a nearby village and gave away tons of plain white mini envelopes and cards. One way to jazz up a simple envelope is to make some liners. I experimented with different weight and textured paper.  For paper lovers, surely you’ve collected gift wrap or other types of snazzy ephemera. You’ll be able to create envelopes you’d find hard to get. I had some light weight floral wrapping paper I decided to up-cycle tucked away. The colors popped and coordinated with my letterpress baby notecard card design.

IT: Un tipografico ha chiuso il negozio nelle vicinanze così ha dato via un sacco di buste e bigliettini. Un modo per abbellire una semplice busta è fare una fodera. Ho sperimentato con diverse grammature e tipi di carta. Per gli amanti della carta, sicuramente collezionare carta non più utile al momento (carta da impagliatura, depliant, reviste, etc...) aiuta nel processo. Ho trovato carta da impagliatura floreale con colori che si coordinavano con il mio design di auguri per bambini fatto in letterpress. 

Two color letterpress BABY Notecards designed for Cuore di Mamma baby concept store- handset with wood and metal type - white cardstock with envelope and floral liner

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Maker Station :: Secret to Happiness Revealed

Along with a host of original Italian craft, art and design, Happy Maker Station introduced a couple of dedicated products at the second annual event this year. Pirouette Press along with graphic designer Paola Paoletti created fleece wood type letterpress “Be Happy” pillows and printed cotton shopping bags. 

Here’s a mini diy: Vintage Milk Bottle Packaging
Use re-purposed tomato sauce bottles. Spray paint the lids, use cotton tape (or other decorative tape) and sticker (in our case, we used the HMS logo) to create a vintage type seal.

The bottles could be fun to re-use again in other imaginative ways. The pillows included a secret to happiness tag which read, “ La felicita sta in una bollincina - Happiness is in a bubble" (roughly translated) and bubble wrap overlay. Who doesn’t love the simple funny pleasures of popping bubble wrap?

A parallel prints on cloth laboratory was also conducted. The public could bring in a t-shirt or similar cloth for us to print on. Some of the stylists brought cloth to be eventually turned into their own creations. I can’t wait to see them!

A re-cap of Happy Maker Station 2014 / Italian creatives works here
photo credits: Lisa Di Sabato, Maker at HMS 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy Maker Station: A Maker’s Market, Takes a Second Look

Asleep at the wheel, not quite. Happy Maker Station takes a second look with a host of new creatives. I’m really excited to be collaborating with such talented people, and perhaps more than that, I love the chance at offering the public an alternative experience (true to my Austin, Texas spirit) in the bucolic north of Italy.

There’s textile, fine art, print & ecological design to be found. In addition, I’ve tried to introduce more home decor, demonstration and workshops.  Small brands and plenty of heart go into the products and making of the event. Local shops even lent a hand and allowed makers to give an anteprima (pre-show) in their shop windows. 

top left to right: Caterinette laboratorio/bottega, Korai - textile, Cobo lighting, Marcoantonio sculptor, Rama illustrator, ElimondHandMade eco design
24-25 maggio Mondovì, Italia

Publicity Foto Credit: Matteo Barberis
Creative Direction: Pirouette Press

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Barnwood Sign Painting DIY

Never tried my hand at sign painting. So why not try!  In the studio with HMS creative creating some DIY signage out of salvaged barnwood for 2nd annual creative market in Mondovì. 

It couldn’t be easier! After choosing a motif (I’m digging Indian arrows). We’re just about done going over the sketch with Sharpie.

mini diy: Barnwood Sign Painting
find a piece of barnwood, sand it down and give it one hand of white primer paint. After laying out to dry in the sun for half an hour, sketch out your design in pencil and then copy over it with a Sharpie marker. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

French & Italian Type Separate, Like Their Wines & Cheese

French type height 0.928” and widely, but not strictly, used in Italy. Best to keep French & Italian type separate-like their wines & cheese. In Europe there are quite a few type heights and it can get baffling as one starts to learn and buy letterpress tools. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy Maker Station II: Meet & Greet

Happy Maker Station II had a face to face (love off-screen time) meet & greet this week. There are new and interesting work by creatives to add to the event this year. Here we are KALATA’S co-working space.

Happy Maker Station Part II è un mercato creativo di prodotti con la targhetta “made in Italy”, materializzati dall'arricchimento delle idee dei creativi a Km 0 e 100% di passione. Questa è un'esperienza intima tra pubblico e maker, con creativi di varie tipologie, dalla stampa tradizionale al design, dalla moda all’arte. Nuovamente saremo nel centro storico di  Mondovì Piazza - un’accogliente location da valorizzare con l’aiuto di tutti, dove ognuno è protagonista.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Make Do :: Furniture for Letterpress

Hand-setting type at the beginning was a challenge, mostly because I didn’t have a bunch of furniture for letterpress to start off with and had to make do with what I did have. It was a big puzzle trying to fill up the spaces in my form with a limited supply of widths and lengths. Now, that I’ve built up my supply, I’m happy I went about building up my forms the hard way funny enough. Then of course, you’ve got to think about building a piece of furniture to house all your furniture.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

QR Iscriviti Gratis: Letterpress Newsletter

These QR codes look like modern art pieces. This one is to subscribe to Pirouette Press free NEWSLETTER when you’re mobile. New updates on the way.
Gratis| Ricevere le ultime notizie sui corsi, eventi e STAMPA Letterpress Newsletter

Friday, February 14, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine’s Mini Pop-Out Card: Free Printable

Remember absolutely loving pop-out cards? Other things that can pop-out, or explode, are hearts this Valentines.  This one’s designed by me to add to the free PRINT ITS section of the blog.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Personal Cook : Letterpress Business Card

LA MANU CHE CUCINA loves to cook and can arrange a nice evening with a northern Italian menu in the comfort of your home with family, friends or other special occasion. Bespoke design & letterpress printed in hot pink and chocolate brown on Neenah Classic Crest cotton paper. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Letterpress Workers PoP Up Letterpress Poster Show

LETTERPRESS WORKERS pop-up letterpress poster show in Milan over the week. These were the creations at the 2ND. edition congress hosted by OFFICINA TIPOGRAFICA NOVEPUNTI held last spring. I had the pleasure in participating and contributing to this interactive event with other passionate people of graphic design and letterpress. The congress was held at MACAO a dual functioning workspace which once housed a slaughterhouse and fruit/vegetable market to Milanese.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Say it in Italian: mini letterpress notecards

You don’t have to be Italian to say something in Italian! Italian mini letterpress notecards. Tanti Auguri & tante belle cose, roughly translates to congratulations & many beautiful things. Notes printed on text weight Italian Magnani ivory paper | Neenah Classic Crest text weight handmade envelopes in a variety of textures/colors  - hand printed in one color | eggplant. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bathroom Renovation, Process and Economy

Recently we started a renovation in our main bathroom. This process entails economy in many ways. I think it’s a good word to describe the style we lean towards. Inspiration at work and at home come in many forms and guides our design process and choices. Human concepts, good reads, visuals snippets of what we find beautiful--from modern to rustic to audio to print all combined spur insight into what works well with us.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Letterpress Wish From Amsterdam

My letterpress mentor and friend Thomas Gravemaker, whom I first met in Paris, sent me a special letterpress wish from Amsterdam, and I received it today! He has recently set up his office back there and I look very much forward to visiting his new studio soon.
Some of his very interesting work is here.