Stars on parade at Renegade

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:


signWe 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.

bikeHere's a little print Jo pinned up to show what we were making for the weekend.

finalprintOur first customer of the day! demo6We 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.

demo3Kids were instantly drawn to the prints and loved making them! There was a line most of the day.


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!

demo1As always, grown ups were just as geeked about it as the kids. See a theme?


Jo was again asked for autographs on the prints she pulled. "It's like being a celebrity" she commented.

autographSunday 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.

sellingprintsIf not for selling, prints are great trades! Jo scored one of the killer Matt Daly Renegade posters this way, and two charms for her Lady Faye lava rock necklace.

printswapThen it was back to printing! demo2Look who came by to check out the action. It's our favorite kids photographer, Jookie Jill!

jookiejillPrinting was definitely a family affair.

familyprintThis little cutie was without a doubt our most excited printer of the weekend! She was so thrilled to pull this print.

happiestkidThe 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.

Kidical Mass is Kidically Awesome

Saturday was the monthly Kidical Mass ride in Welles Park, Chicago, a kid-friendly version of a Critical Mass ride. Instead of taking over the streets of the Loop, we had an enjoyable jaunt through Lincoln Square and North Center. And while Jo isn't big enough to 'drive' the Press Bike, she sure enjoys pretending to do so while other kids get the chance to print. Of course we needed a bike-themed print for the day, and here's what we came up with:

Needless to say, the press was popular, and many Bikes Are The Coolest stickers were printed.

Here's a shot of one stop, waiting for the lights to change. There was a great variety of bikes and ages!

This may very well be our new shop manager... oh the entrepreneurial spirit!

We stopped by the North Center Farmers Market for a breather, and to pick up some fresh produce for the rest of the ride. Our numerous markets (one or more for every day of the week!) are one of the best things about Chicago in the summer.

No, you don't need a helmet for printing, but when you're on the road it's a requirement!

We're back to Welles Park! You can get a little shot of Mr. Starshaped corking the ride in the left corner.

And of course here's Todd, a staple of all Kidical Mass rides! Thanks for providing the great tunes to keep us hummin' on the road.


A few last prints for the morning and then we were on our way. Jo wants to ride her own bike next time, so we're looking for a little volunteer to run the Press Bike!


Later in the evening, we headed back to the Ravenswood Outdoor Movie Night for a showing of Toy Story. We switched out the chase in the little Sigwalt for a more appropriate sticker and had a few of our youngest printers so far. Hats off to the 2 and 3 years olds! To infinity and beyond, indeed.

We've got another great event next weekend, so stay tuned for the details coming soon...

Ravenswood Outdoor Movie Night

Last night we were invited to print at the Ravenswood Outdoor Movie Night at Bethany United Church of Christ. It was the perfect night for printing while we waited for the sun to go down and for ET to start. In honor of the film's theme, we set up little envelopes on which the kids printed a famous line from the movie, and then stuffed them with Reese's Pieces. A big hit with kids and adults alike! And while Jo went to town printing the envelopes, these little cuties took to distributing them to the crowd so everyone could enjoy a treat. We'll see you next month at Toy Story!

Final Assembly

Today Jo and I set up our little Sigwalt to print for the first time. It needs a few tweaks, but is well on its way to printing for our Press Bike. Our first print is on sticker stock (what kid doesn't love stickers?), and is bike themed to coordinate with our first event... more on that tomorrow!

Jo chose type to create the fabric signs for the sides and backs of the bucket of the bike, which we printed in happy red on yellow gingham (each letter is 5" tall, and represents our largest wood type in the studio).

Our signage is finished, and the press is ready to roll! The big reveal is coming soon.