Archive for December, 2014

  • Chapter 100- Drink & Ink at Bay View Printing Co.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    And now folks like Shannon get to make beautiful posters like this!

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    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.

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    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?”.

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    Here, Scottie and Ashely are setting his poster, which turned out really well, too!

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    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.

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    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.

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 99- Colectivo’s Gospel Brunch (Plus a totally unrelated giveaway!)

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    Last month, I finally made it to the Colectivo on Farwell for their Gospel Brunch, which supports Progressive Community Health Centers.   I packed up my kids and met a friend, and the dancing immediately commenced.  It was a great way to spend our morning!

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    My kids made a new friend, ate some delicious baked goods, listened to gospel, and had a blast.

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    And we danced our way out of the building.  A pretty straight-forward “listen to beautiful music and move around” morning.  One I’m hoping to recreate at the next opportunity!

    Remember the totally unrelated giveaway I mentioned?  Well here it is.  I have a copy of A Mom’s Guide to Milwaukee by Calie Herbst of MiltownMoms.  It’s my Christmas present to you!  If you’re looking for a current list of things to do and places to go in Milwaukee, leave a comment below.  I’ll pick a winner at random on Tuesday December 16th.  To get another entry, make sure you subscribe (just enter your email address to the right in the “subscribe” box).

    Have a great weekend, all!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 98- Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (Travel Edition)

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    St. Nick brought a toy for the kids, and a Jack White LP for Theo, but I made out on top this year.  Yesterday, I drove up to Two Rivers and attended a workshop at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.  If you don’t read anything else in this post, just know that you should go there and get a tour of the museum.  My mind was blown by the history of print.  In a few words: the collection they have is expansive, the process was revolutionary in its day, machines were complex beyond my own comprehension, artists perform a deliberate craft, and the museum is doing an amazing job of preserving the history.

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    Assistant Director Stephanie Carpenter gave us a tour of the building, and imparted such an incredible amount of interesting knowledge to me and the other 8 workshop participants.  I can’t summarize all the information about how the wood type is made, but there are so many steps and machines which I’d never heard of before.  Read this to learn about the manufacturers, the pantograph (which people are still using in the facility!) the history, and more.  Also watch this short video to get a feel for the people and the passion at the museum.  They even have a few Linotype machines in the building.

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    The museum used to be in the Hamilton factory, just up the road, but re-opened in its current location just over a year ago.  The space is open and well-maintained, with a large amount of machines, wood type, and posters to view.  Also, the museum shop has LOTS Of beautiful prints, posters, cards, clothes and other gifts to browse.

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    Stephanie told us a story behind this poster of the Lushootseed alphabet.  I might botch it, but at one point in the state of Washington, the Tulalip Tribe only had two native speakers of their language.  In language camp, wood type was used to help people learn the language through a tactile way, hopefully enhancing the learning process.

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    Posters line lots of the walls, and this one reminded me of the John Prine song “Angel from Montgomery”.

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    Jim Moran, Museum Director, joined us in the workshop to show us the steps of printing.  I absolutely love the process.  It requires planning, paying attention, keeping your station neat, and being ok with making mistakes.  We had access to pieces of type that were over 100 years old, so we understood the importance of taking care of the equipment.

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    I had grand plans to make our holiday cards, but found posters much more inspiring and fun to create.  I messed up a whole lot, and didn’t have time to look through all the (millions of pieces of ) wood type, but came away with a greater knowledge AND desire to come back!

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    I also made a poster for my dear friend Nancy’s husband’s band, ROM.  There, Nan.  I blew the secret.  This should be in your mailbox soon!

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    A lovely lady named Carol did this poster pictured below.  You can see in the above photo where she’s locking up the stars to lay over the “joy” and “peace” she’d already printed.  A great end product!

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    The guys at ArcInt Architecture and I swapped posters, which was one of the highlights for me.  The setup of the workshop facilitated working on your own (which is awesome because even though I love being around people, I also love to be alone) with the opportunity to connect with other people with similar interests.  As it turns out, I’m neighbors with one of the architects, and their office is near the Menominee Valley Branch of the Urban Ecology Center, which I’ve been meaning to visit since it opened.

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    In all, it was a wonderful day.  Totally worth the drive from Milwaukee, and I’d recommend taking a trip to anyone.  I’d also suggest getting a tour, because the vast amount of history that the museum is preserving is simply fascinating.  It really makes me think about the change our world has seen, even in the past 100 years.

    And one of the best parts of my day…I got 3 hours in a car by myself.  Without the Frozen soundtrack playing, or kids fighting, or anyone screaming because their sock is on the wrong way/their pants won’t tuck into their boots correctly/their seatbelt JUST IS NOT COMFABLE.

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    Just me and my thoughts.  Oh, and the view in Two Rivers/Manitowoc is incredible.

    Peace to everyone,

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 96- Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

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    Because life happens to be particularly crazy right now, I’m finally getting to post about a trip to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center from about a month ago.  We’ll pretend I’m posting pictures of warmer weather on purpose, to get us through the next few days, ok?

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    I had been talking with a friend about October’s solar eclipse, and decided to get my kids out to the nature center to see it (no, we weren’t going to look at it, I had cardboard with holes cut out to make my kids’ names and everything).  Unfortunately, I had the date wrong, and we were there with all of our crap a day early.  BUT!  We still got to run around with a million other kids outside!  So no loss at all, really.

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    We met up with some new and some old friends, and the kids quickly made a pretend fire and passed out marshmallows (leaves).  Delicious.

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    And then they quickly jumped the fence and trotted around in poison ivy.  My friend Brooke came to their rescue.

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    I noticed that some of us take fashion pretty seriously, even for outdoor hikes.

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    Because it was an after-school-but-before-dinner adventure, we really only hung out for an hour or so.  It was enough time for the youngest of the bunch to ace her walking skills, eat some leaves, and for the bigger kids to play with sticks, and for the adults to start but never finish a conversation.  Which is pretty standard for any hangout with this many children.

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    Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is a really awesome place to be.  I’ve written about it a lot before, because we have a great time every time we are there.  And weather doesn’t have to be balmy to visit.  Snap on some snowshoes and hit the trails this winter, or attend any of the indoor events throughout the cold weather.  There’s a lot to learn, and a lot of fun to be had!

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    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Peace to everyone,

    A. Storm