i. I work as a letterpress printer and stationery designer. I’m the founder and owner of Porchlight Press, a commercial print studio.
ii. I do this creative work because…
I care deeply about preserving analogue – letter-writing, personal communication, creating things with your hands. That’s what letterpress is all about. It’s about slowing down and taking time to make something of quality and craftsmanship. That matters to me a lot. That’s why I take the time to rescue these gorgeous old machines and restore and care for them. There will never be more like them.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are…
Being able to laugh every day. That quality helps you find joy in any work, I think. I love working with people. I’m very curious, which means I’m always learning new ways to be better at my craft. I see inspiration everywhere I go. And I’m a mom, which I love love love. Having a sweet little girl continuously helps remind me how important it is to give back to my community.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are…
Work/life balance is probably the biggest challenge for me, and for many small business owners, I think. It’s important to constantly be creating new work, but being constantly stressed out isn’t going to help that. I find the trick is enjoying and feeling freedom within the ‘entrepreneur’s dance’ – the creative work and production and distribution and then all the other good stuff like taking time for family and friends and myself. I see it as a free dance, ‘cause what’s better than always having the time and freedom to stop what you’re doing and just dance? I’ve learned that from my three-year-old.
That helps you be okay with sudden changes, and you just have to adjust and dance on. It’s about having fun, being free-flowing and ready for anything, and taking it all in stride. And you have to be able to laugh. Always. There’s always something to laugh at.
v. Creative childhood hobbies
I was obsessed with paper as a youngster, much as I am now. I was really into origami and I loved wrapping gifts. I also was into baking. I played piano and especially loved playing duets with my older sisters. I can’t forget I was so influenced by gardening, which is absolutely creative – watching veggies and flower grow from start to finish while digging, playing with worms and collecting slugs for my mom and dad, no I didn’t wrap those!
vi. Other creators who inspire you
Janine, of Uppercase Magazine. She’s a one-woman show and manages to create a gorgeous publication keeping things fresh and inspiring for all the rest of us. Marian Bantjes, who gave up her day job to do what came naturally…and the rest is history. I’m constantly inspired by stories about people doing their part for their communities. I think when people focus on their individual passions, that creates a lot of positivity in the community, and creates an environment where other people are inspired to pursue their own passions.
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career …
I grew up around entrepreneurship and creativity. My dad was a very successful entrepreneur and salesperson and loved interacting with people and building a thriving business, so I think entrepreneurship is in our blood. My mom is a Renaissance woman, creative and talented in every way.
In terms of formal training, I have two creative university degrees in communication design and landscape architecture. Taking the time to complete those allowed me to grow into myself as a person and dive deep into creative explorations.
I spent a year working as a graphic designer in Paris, which opened my eyes to so much spontaneity and creativity in the simplest things, happening around every corner. I brought that home with me – it only takes an idea, good people and positive energy to make cool stuff happen.
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is…
That letterpress is obsolete. It’s not! It’s adapted to the times, and is still a viable and important print medium. And I think it always will be as long as people love to receive hand-written cards and letters, which I can’t see ending any time soon. People are doing less of it – we’re trying to reverse that! – but there is still joy in receiving something that’s been carefully chosen, and written with love. Long after much of the stuff in our lives has been discarded, most of us will still have a box with precious tactile keepsakes in it.
ix. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you…
Take a workshop to see if you love it. You need to LOVE it. After five years, I still love the little things – trimming down a job, seeing that first ink of one of our designs come to life on paper, making a sale, hearing about how someone has used one of our cards to give to someone for an important occasion in their lives. That stuff never gets old to me.
x. A professional goal I have for the future …
I’d like to find time to travel more. Travel is such great creative inspiration – noticing the details and feeling the energy of different places, and bringing that back to fuel our work. Hopefully there will be more of that in 2018.
I would also love to create a community engagement project or program for youth through our studio. I’m not sure yet what that will look like, but it will happen. Young people need more analogue in their lives!
xi. If you want to see my work, go to…
Come see us at Shiny Fuzzy Muddy Craft fair December 9th and 10th! You can always check out the shop on our website, and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with all of our new creations and letterpress experiments. Because letterpress is so wonderfully tactile, it’s always nice to touch it to fully appreciate it. You can stop by our studio at 585 McLean Drive (Monday to Thursday), or better yet support one of the wonderful stockists who carry our products. You can find a list of stockists on our website.
Header: Mailboxes. Walker Evans. 1934.