Right before the Letterpress Trail took over life, I spent two days at Signal Return, located in Detroit's Eastern Market, hanging out, printing and enjoying the company in their incredible space. When you see a giant manicule, you know you're in the right place. And when you understand their mission to create a vibrant printmaking studio that seeks to 'Teach, Connect, Serve, and Produce', then that's even more rewarding.
Their open and airy retail space literally invites people to come in and browse. So many beautiful prints and cards from all over, as well as pretty sweet aprons and shirts. I'm happy to say that Starshaped's cards and prints are in good company here. Need an awesome gift for someone? This is the place to go, Detroit! Stop on over after you hit the markets on Saturday morning.
They had recently acquired a few new banks of incredible wood and metal type. Here you can see Meg going through it to gauge what was lurking in these cases. I can tell you, there were some real treats there, buried under decades of dirt and dust. And mouse poop. Because all old type comes with complimentary mouse poop.
The beauty of this Vandercook is that it was actually large enough to set all of our ornamental letters in a straight line. So we took advantage of that and printed quite a few new Detroit prints. These are for sale at Signal Return and all of the cash goes directly to them to support their workshops, outreach and all around awesomeness. If you're in Detroit Friday, September 19th, you can attend their fundraiser, Type-Oh!-Rama, which looks to be a pretty fantastic evening of letterpress activities.
After printing, eating and fraternizing on Friday we went to Shinola for an Art Crank poster show. What an incredibly beautiful place this was. Here's just a tiny shot of the bike I coveted all night. If anyone wants to donate this to Starshaped, it would see a lot of use.
Their storefront is virtually a museum, and you can see the posters in the background here. Many of the prints were sold as a benefit for Back Alley Bikes, a cause we can really get behind. The community support and brisk sales of prints was heartening, not to mention the overall enthusiasm for the print community in Detroit.
After my time at Signal Return on Saturday, I headed over to Kennedy Prints to hang with Amos and see how Detroit was treating him. He has a lot of space for his vast collection of prints, type and presses. Not fully unpacked since moving from Alabama, he's got plans for a grand and glorious new space.
Of course I had to go here. It felt like a pilgrimage, and it's hard to believe I felt my heart flutter when driving by. So modest. And so earth moving at the same time.
It was such an inspiring 36 hours in the D. Everyone I had the opportunity to work and chat with was filled with the midwestern gumption that makes me proud and assured of the fact that they will succeed with whatever ventures they choose to take on. Go Detroit!