More from adventures in letterpress! After my trip up to Two Rivers, I discovered that right here in Milwaukee, there are folks here just as excited about letterpress. Bay View Printing Company is a full-service print shop, with dedication to community workshops and spreading the love of this craft. They offer Thursday night Drink & Ink classes, one of which I attended last night.
And while I have your attention, I want to tell you how fun the class was. How I met some great people, and how you should get involved. If you can’t attend a class, watch this short video about Bay View Printing Co’s Indegogo campaign. They’re raising funds to expand the workshops, update the building, make things more accessible, and share printing opportunities with community members and artists alike. Donate if you can, and spread the love!
I called up my friend Shannon yesterday morning and asked if she could come with me. She said yes, I picked up a 6 pack of beer (my friends over at Central Waters Brewing Co. make some delicious stout, y’all), and we made our way to Bay View. Shannon hadn’t done any printing before, but came away with one killer poster. Above, she’d already set and locked up the blocks, and was inking them in green and black.
Here, Shannon is rolling over the blocks with the help of the lovely Ashley Town. Ashley is a super talented lady, who took on this great project of owning a print shop. Ashely had been working as a designer with the previous owner, Jim Baker, and eventually learned all about the machines and processes of printing. And only about 6 months ago, Jim retired and with nobody to take over the business, it would have closed for good. But Ashely stepped in and took over, and how she’s dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the machines, preserving its history, as well as making the art form available for others to practice.
And now folks like Shannon get to make beautiful posters like this!
While Shannon and Scottie, the other attendee at the class, worked on their projects, I browsed around taking a few photos of the incredible machinery and tools. Bay View Printing Co. even has a working Linotype machine! One of less than a dozen in the Midwest. Below is the scrap metal, just waiting to be melted into new type.
I’m not going to show you what I made, because I don’t want to blow a Christmas present surprise. Which is REALLY hard for me. You got a surprise for someone? Well don’t tell me. In what has become a fairly descriptive story about me as a child, I was telling my family what the first letter of their presents started with. And because I was a kid, I asked “does purse start with a P?”.
Here, Scottie and Ashely are setting his poster, which turned out really well, too!
Upstairs, we got to chat about the night, view others’ work, and talk about how we’ll see each other again soon because it was such a good night.
Thanks to Ashley for offering such a fun and accessible way to print, and here’s hoping you reach the fundraising goal! It ends in just a few days, so to everyone reading, don’t wait until the new year to watch the video and make a contribution.
Enjoy the weekend, all.