West Fest with Paperish Mess

We're thrilled to be back up and running with the press bike this summer! The wonderful Lisa of Paperish Mess asked if we could come be a part of their booth at West Fest. If you live in Chicago and haven't been by the store, then definitely check it out. Lisa and Sean make a concerted effort to be a part of their community and stock wonderful and fresh work by local artisans, including Starshaped Press. Our new little homemade press consists of one small metal galley, with a wood frame and slot to add wood type. It has a simple bookboard frisket, on which you can place a sheet of paper. Then the type is inked by hand with a brayer, the frisket is lowered and a small rolling pin is used to create the impression. The benefit of this over the Sigwalt we used last year is that we can now print larger type very easily and clean up is a breeze.

Here's Jo set up to go with the first prints.



Despite the heat, we had a handful of little printers come through and give it a shot. Switching to a water based block printing ink was a great idea for clean up and getting tiny hands ink-free, but the heat really threw us for a curve with how fast it dried! The press bike is definitely happier on more mild days. Here's a great shot of Jo with Lisa in their booth.


On our way out we stopped to watch some talented street artists and Jo got a lesson in spray paint.


We've got a really exciting date coming up with the little press and will have more on that soon!

Renegade 2012

It always takes a bit of time to recover from the Renegade Craft Fair before switching right into holiday mode, hence the delay in posting. This year's fair was a stunning success and the Press Bike was a phenomenal hit with kids of all ages. We had a great corner spot in which to park the bike, and it attracted a crowd all day. Here's our booth from the weekend:

Jo got things rolling as soon as the crowds wandered in, and even got Instagrammed by the Renegade crew. It is apparently way cooler to sit on the side of the bike than inside of it.

Recognize this little cutie? She's a master screenprinter selling her wares at Renegade, too. She stopped by to try her hand at a different printmaking medium. She's a part of this team.

Here's a group of happy printers!

Day two brought even more folks, and Jo had to take a break for a while to hang with all of her friends and check out the different neighborhood playgrounds. She was in long enough to generate interest before social calls pulled her away.

We finished out Sunday with two of our largest printers of the day... a bit too big to climb into the bike! The only thing we didn't manage to do was get a shot of the sticker everyone printed, as we went through so many so fast. It said I (heart) Renegade and was super popular. Maybe you'll see some popping up here and there around the city...

Until next time!



Today we had our first printing adventure as we celebrated Jo's final day of school. The press was in good form after a few tweaks and we set up a little 'School's out!' sticker for everyone to print. And print they did, drawn to the little press and thrilled with the chance to make something cool.

Thanks to all the kids from Chicago Montessori and Lill Street Art Camp for making our first outing a real success!

Success... and setback

Well, we had every intention of getting the Press Bike out on Lakeshore Drive this Sunday for the always awesome Bike the Drive event, in which the entire Lakeshore Drive is shut down to cars and opened to bikes only. However, our little Sigwalt had other plans. Whether it was the humidity or our relative inexperience making the little guy work well, the printing was just not happening and we had to scrap it for the day. We'll be taking the press back to the studio to make a few more tweaks this week so we can get to printing asap! In the meantime, here are a few shots of the fabric signage we made for the sides and back of the bike. Maybe we'll add a little flag? Also, Jo got a killer new apron to match.