The Renegade Craft Fair is both our favorite and largest event outside of the studio every year and we were pleased to be invited back to share the Press Bike with shoppers and their little ones. Our convenient spot at Booth No. 1 worked great as we caught the eye of everyone entering the Fair from the west end of the street.
The Friday before Renegade is always a whirlwind of late night preparation and packing and this year was no exception. Luckily, our former intern, Lindsay, came out for the weekend to help. And to everyone’s delight, Jo was able to run the Vandercook herself and put together her own print for the show.
Here’s a shot of our booth this year:
We opted for using our little Chicago stars (coined ‘Jo Stars’) that we commissioned from Moore Wood Type, because everyone that loves Chicago loves those stars.
Our first customer of the day!
We started with a more kid-friendly acrylic ink, which turned out to be a bad idea. As you can see from the brayer, it was very sticky and dried way too fast given the heat of the day. Sunday we brought a rubber based ink that worked great and went on smooth.
And see who’s eyeballing the bike in the corner there? None other than Brad Vetter, printmaker extraordinaire. He’s wishing he could make such great prints!
Jo was again asked for autographs on the prints she pulled. “It’s like being a celebrity” she commented.
Sunday we started out early with Jo meeting her friend Ella to sell their prints to our vendor friends. Next year little Coco will be joining them! Ella has learned her trade of screenprinting from her dad. We’re thinking next year they should all have their own booth.
Then it was back to printing!
Look who came by to check out the action. It’s our favorite kids photographer, Jookie Jill!
The press bike really took a beating; not more than 20 minutes went by without someone coming up to print, and we ran out of paper by 6 o’clock each day. While out shopping with Jo, Lindsay witnessed folks putting their own clothes on the stars to print them, as well as arms. Wish we had some documentation of that!
Three years ago we bought our Madsen cargo bike with the profits of that year’s summer Renegade Craft Fair, and we’ve had so many great adventures since then. Commuting by day, printing by weekend, it’s been a real workhorse! We hope to keep up the fun at next year’s Fair. Thanks to everyone who made this our best Press Bike event yet.
Yay, it’s time for the Renegade Craft Fair! This is one of our favorite events of the year, and the Press Bike will be set up all weekend. Jo will be around for a good chunk of it, showing kids and adults how to pull prints on the new press. Come on by and check it out; we’re easy to find this year in Booth Number 1, right at Division and Damen.
Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th, 11am – 7pm
on Division between Damen and Paulina
Jo and I were asked to run workshops at the annual Western New York Book Arts Center Book Fest, which sure sounded like a lot of fun, given that most of our family is in the Buffalo area. While the grown ups were off making prints with a steamroller (read more about it here), Jo set up her new little press outside and enjoyed a little celebrity.
Many kids came through in the morning and gave the little press a shot. It’s so easy that the prints were successful and fun! And given our location, we found the appropriate type amongst the vast collection at WNYBAC.
Did we say kids? Because grown ups tried it, too.
Jo’s cousin Adam came down for a while and he had a blast making prints, too.
Jo (and all the kids and grown ups) had a chance to try her hand at making paper as well, which she loved.
Book Fest was a success! If only we could have ridden the bike there… 674 miles is a long way to go. Thanks to WNYBAC for having us!
We’re thrilled to be back up and running with the press bike this summer! The wonderful Lisa of Paperish Mess asked if we could come be a part of their booth at West Fest. If you live in Chicago and haven’t been by the store, then definitely check it out. Lisa and Sean make a concerted effort to be a part of their community and stock wonderful and fresh work by local artisans, including Starshaped Press.
Our new little homemade press consists of one small metal galley, with a wood frame and slot to add wood type. It has a simple bookboard frisket, on which you can place a sheet of paper. Then the type is inked by hand with a brayer, the frisket is lowered and a small rolling pin is used to create the impression. The benefit of this over the Sigwalt we used last year is that we can now print larger type very easily and clean up is a breeze.
Here’s Jo set up to go with the first prints.
Despite the heat, we had a handful of little printers come through and give it a shot. Switching to a water based block printing ink was a great idea for clean up and getting tiny hands ink-free, but the heat really threw us for a curve with how fast it dried! The press bike is definitely happier on more mild days. Here’s a great shot of Jo with Lisa in their booth.
On our way out we stopped to watch some talented street artists and Jo got a lesson in spray paint.
We’ve got a really exciting date coming up with the little press and will have more on that soon!
Given that we’re into the cold months, the press bike hasn’t had much opportunity to get out and about. So when we found out about the Hamilton Wood Type and Print Museum’s need to move from its current location, we jumped on board to co-sponsor a Chicago event to raise much needed funds. The majority of wood type in the Starshaped collection was produced at Hamilton over the last 100+ years, and it’s important to us that the museum survives.
To gear up for a benefit print sale held December 15th, I put the call out to letterpress printers to create a new piece specifically for the the day. Those who could not participate sent wonderful prints, posters, books and cards they had in stock to help out. We retrofitted the little Sigwalt onto a new base so that we could easily carry it the the Book & Paper Arts Center (our lovely Madsen wasn’t about to go up two flights of stairs), and Jo could do press demos and print stickers for the crowd.
Yes, we love Hamilton! These stickers were a hit and Jo collected lots of money in her tube. Here she is standing in front of the new work, waiting for the crowds to arrive.
Over the course of 7 hours, the Chicago benefit raised over $8000 and blew a matching grant out of the water. It was very satisfying for April and Jo to count up the loot at the end of the night.
We’ll be driving up to Hamilton again in February to help with their upcoming move. Lend a hand if you can, and we’ll keep setting up great prints with fabulous wood type!
It always takes a bit of time to recover from the Renegade Craft Fair before switching right into holiday mode, hence the delay in posting. This year’s fair was a stunning success and the Press Bike was a phenomenal hit with kids of all ages. We had a great corner spot in which to park the bike, and it attracted a crowd all day.
Here’s our booth from the weekend:
Jo got things rolling as soon as the crowds wandered in, and even got Instagrammed by the Renegade crew. It is apparently way cooler to sit on the side of the bike than inside of it.
Recognize this little cutie? She’s a master screenprinter selling her wares at Renegade, too. She stopped by to try her hand at a different printmaking medium. She’s a part of this team.
Here’s a group of happy printers!
Day two brought even more folks, and Jo had to take a break for a while to hang with all of her friends and check out the different neighborhood playgrounds. She was in long enough to generate interest before social calls pulled her away.
We finished out Sunday with two of our largest printers of the day… a bit too big to climb into the bike! The only thing we didn’t manage to do was get a shot of the sticker everyone printed, as we went through so many so fast. It said I (heart) Renegade and was super popular. Maybe you’ll see some popping up here and there around the city…
Until next time!