Bikes? Letterpress? Yes Please.

You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.  ~H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance In the fall of 2010, we purchased one of Madsen's sweet cargo bikes, in a lovely warm yellow. It quickly became our main source of transport, riding miles every day between home, school and work. We carried boxes to UPS, groceries from the farmers markets and occasionally other children for short joy rides through the park.

Since 1999, I've run Starshaped Press, a full time, old fashioned letterpress shop in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, focusing on the original craft of printing entirely with antique wood type, metal type and linoleum cuts that are part of the studio's collection. On New Year's Eve, 2006, my daughter, Jo, came into the world with a bang, and hasn't let up since. At 5, she is starting to wholeheartedly participate in the day to day activities of running Starshaped, including cleaning and maintenance, organizing type and yes, a little bit of printing.

At some point in the last year, the idea of turning our beloved bike into a mobile printing unit for kids came to be. We talked about how it would work, what kind of press to use, what to print and where to go. And now it's coming together! I found a small 3x5 Sigwalt press, not too heavy or awkward for children, and enlisted the help of Mr. Starshaped to build a strong 'shelf' that can both showcase and protect the press when not in use. Jo and other children can sit on the seat in the bucket and easily reach the handle of the press to pull prints.

The shelf flips over when the press isn't in use so that it can be stored under the surface.

We'll be printing the banners to wrap around the outside of the bucket this weekend so that everyone knows what our mobile press bike is all about! Can't wait for a summer full of printing adventures and making new friends.