Tag Archives: letterpress

Southern Makers: Paper Works Press

I recently spent a rainy Saturday morning with Alicia and Sheri, the two gals behind Paper Works Press.  I arrived at the studio they share with their mentor, photographer and letterpress guru Mika Fowler, around 10:30 a.m. where I was immediately handed a delicious chocolate-sea salt cookie for Mika’s birthday.  After some quick introductions, we got started, and I knew right away that I liked these ladies.

Paper Works Press, Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

A little more on the folks behind the cards:

Sheri and Alicia, the Ladies Behind Paper Works Press in Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

Alicia, one half of Paper Works Press, is a Tallahassee native and a photographer by trade.  You can find her beautiful work over at Alicia Osborne Photography.

Alicia Osborne Photographer, Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

Sheri came to Tallahassee to study art, education, and printmaking at FSU.  Now she makes up the other half of Paper Works Press while also teaching high school art.

Paper Works Press Letterpress Coaster | Oysters & Pearls

Mika Fowler, who isn’t officially a part of Paper Works Press, plays a very important role in the business nonetheless.  He is Sheri and Alicia’s mentor and shares his studio with the duo.  He is always there offering quiet advice and recommendations and is a constant source of information.  He also offers letterpress printing, photography, and letterpress workshops.  The studio is full of his work and inspiration.

Mika Fowler Letterpress, Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls Mika Fowler's Studio, Shared with Paper Works Press | Oysters & PearlsMika Fowler Letterpress Workshops | Oysters & Pearls

All three operate on a letterpress belonging to Mika, which hails from the year 1949.

Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls

Letterpress, a form of relief printing, began around the early 1800s, and is still just as popular today as it was back then.  Traditional printing back then used hand set wood and metal type.

Vintage Letterpress Letters in Mika Fowler's Studio | Oysters & Pearls

These days, thanks to computers, technology, and polymers, a photo polymer plate is used for printing instead.  Designs have become much more involved and embellished, but printing is still done one piece of paper and one color of ink at a time.  Sheri and Alicia can have a polymer made of an image you send them, but  they also draw many of their designs by hand.  My logo is one that I drew, which my friend Nikki Rich (of Rich Designs in Bainbridge) turned into my logo, and Sheri and Alicia turned into a polymer printing plate.

Modern Day Letterpress Printing | Oysters & Pearls

The most time consuming part of letterpress printing, as Sheri and Alicia tell me, is the set up.  Figuring out where you want the press to print on the paper, then translating that location to the plate, and then making sure the polymer is inked correctly makes up the majority of the work.Paper Works Press | Oysters & PearlsInk is smeared across the press.  If too much ink is used, the print will be sloppy.  Too little ink will result in a faint print.Letterpress | Oysters & Pearls Mika Fowler and Sheri of Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls Sheri of Paper Works Press  | Oysters & PearlsOnce everything is set, printing starts.  The press can be hand cranked by turning that large wheel (I’m sure I’m using all the proper technical terms) or if the motor is turned on, printing goes much more quickly.

The Ladies of Paper Works Press, Letterpress in Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

Printing can be paused by pushing that lever that Alicia has hold of forward.  There’s even a foot brake to slow things down a little, but the person running the press has to stay pretty nimble.  Paper Works Press Ladies, Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

We started out with black ink for the notecards that Sheri and Alicia printed for me.  I emailed them my logo ahead of time which they had turned into a polymer plate.  Now that it’s on file, they’ll keep it for future orders, which reduces the future cost and time involved.Letterpress Note Cards by Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls

Sheri & Alicia, Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls

After the black ink, we took a cookie break and they cleaned the press.  They had just gotten in some gold ink that they wanted to experiment with, and I was a more-than-willing guinea pig.

Gold Ink for Letterpress | Oysters & PearlsLetterpress by Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls

Oysters & Pearls Logo in Letterpress by Paper Works Press | Oysters & PearlsLetterpress Note Cards by Paper Works Press | Oysters & Pearls

The gold looks amazing on the kraft paper, and I’m so glad they experimented with my note cards.  I am thrilled with how they turned out!  And so grateful they allowed me in their studio to watch them be printed.  I learned so much from these ladies, and I’m always excited to support some creative lady entrepreneurs.

Sheri and Alicia, the Ladies Behind Paper Works Press in Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

The sweet, awesome gals of Paper Works Press can create custom letterpress wedding invitations and stationery sets, coasters, business cards, note cards, thank you notes, or just about anything you can dream up!  Visit their website for more information and examples of their work, and expect to see more of it at Maiden South in the Fall.

Paper Works Press on Facebook
Paper Works Press on Instagram

Shop this post:
custom letterpress printing (Paper Works Press)
letterpress printing and photography (Mika Fowler)
photography (Alicia Osborne Photography)
Paper Works Press letterpress cards (Maiden South)

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Southern Makers Series
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Anhaica Bag Works

Until Next Time

Letterpress, Crawfish Boil & Stained Glass

Wheat once told me that people would get bored if I kept calling my weekend recap posts “Weekend Recap.”  So please excuse the randomness of the title.

However, that is precisely the three main things that my weekend consisted of: a trip to visit the badass gals at Paperworks Press in Tallahassee, a Crawfish Boil at Ventry Farm with Marc and Anna Jo, hitting the stained glass jackpot on Craigslist, and then spending all day Sunday in the shed working on a stained glass project.

I shared this video on Instagram Saturday morning, but it’s worth sharing again.  Letterpress is so fascinating! I think because it is such an old technique – you know me: the older the better!  Sheri and Alicia created some custom letterpress notecards for me with the oyster and pearls I hand drew for my logo.

So cute!  Much more to come on these two ladies very soon!

Saturday afternoon, Wheat, my parents, and I went to a crawfish boil with Marc and Anna Jo at Marc’s family farm. His parents go to Louisiana a few times a year and always bring back an insane amount of mudbugs.  We were SO excited to be invited to the 75-pound feast!

Live Crawfish | Oysters & Pearls Crawfish Close Up | Oysters & Pearls Boiling Crawfish | Oysters & Pearls Crawfish Boil | Oysters & Pearls Crawfish Boil at Ventry Farm | Oysters & Pearls

Believe me, it was as awesome as it looks.

Back to Saturday so I can tell you about Sunday.  After an impromptu lunch date on Saturday with a friend at Whole Foods, I hit the stained glass Craigslist jackpot.  I am a firm believer that if you put good vibes out into the universe, what you want will come to you.  I wanted a glass grinder, and I found one in no time flat.  Along with a tupperware full of glass, extra grinding bits, soldering iron and stand, lots of tools, patinas, and other supples – even a pair of gloves that somehow fit my tiny hands!  It was meant to be.

Craigslist Stained Glass Jackpot | Oysters & Pearls

I took a stained glass course my last semester of undergrad, and I’ve wanted to get back into it ever since.  Now that I have a shed/workspace – never mind that I most likely have no business taking up another hobby at this point in my life – I’m back at it.

I had some scrap glass leftover from that college class (I finally made it worth toting it around in all my moves in the last 4 years) that I had made some random pieces with a couple weekends ago, including a couple of sun catchers, a wall vase, and a couple of necklaces.  Nothing mind-blowing, of course, but good for practice and getting reacquainted.

Stained Glass Mini Projects | Oysters & Pearls Stained Glass Necklace | Oysters & Pearls

Also in the Craigslist box, was a tiny, unfinished project from the person it all once belonged to.  I felt compelled to finish it for her before I got started on my own project on Sunday.

Found Stained Glass - Unfinished Suncatcher | Oysters & Pearls Tiny Stained Glass Suncatcher, Finished | Oysters & Pearls

I don’t know if the original owner intended for this to be a sun catcher or part of a larger piece of work, but it’s a sun catcher now and I’ll think of the original owner when I see it. :)

Once I got all my new-to-me supplies and tools organized and that little sun catcher finished up, and set about starting my first bigger project utilizing my new grinder.  You can do so much more with a grinder.  It makes tiny pieces and curves possible, so I found a hummingbird stained glass pattern I loved (along with a few more I plan to make for a certain mom who loves hummingbirds) and got to work.

Cut Glass for Stained Glass Hummingbird Suncatcher | Oysters & Pearls

Again, I’m a complete amateur, and my pieces aren’t pattern perfect, but it will be okay.  And just to give you an idea of how time-consuming a hobby this is, I started this project around 1:00 p.m.  I took a quick break for lunch and another for supper, and got to the point where I took this next picture around 10:00 p.m.

Copper Foiled Stained Glass Hummingbird Suncatcher | Oysters & Pearls

First you have to pick a pattern, use pattern scissors to cut out each piece from a copy of it, label each piece, pick out glass for each piece, trace the pattern pieces on to the glass and label them, rough cut each piece of glass, grind each piece of glass, wash the glass, copper foil each piece, then you finally solder them all together.  Whew!  It’s a long process, but it’s really meditative for me.  I’m so glad I jumped back in after all this time.  And thankful for a husband who cooked me a steak dinner while I was doing it.  (In my defense, he did get to play golf all day…  And then eat a steak dinner.  ;)

At lunch yesterday I soldered everything together, added hooks, painted on the black patina, waxed it, and added chain.  It’s hard to tell how pretty it is, but here are some iPhone pics of the finished product.  I’ve still got lots of practicing to do, but I was pretty excited about how this turned out!

Handmade Hummingbird Stained Glass Sun Catcher | Oysters & Pearls Handmade Hummingbird Stained Glass Sun Catcher | Oysters & Pearls Handmade Hummingbird Stained Glass Sun Catcher | Oysters & Pearls

If anyone has any great stained glass resources they recommend (either online or IRL), I would love to hear about them in the comments!  Or feel free to shoot me an email.

Now back to that steak dinner. ;)

Jones Meats Ribeye, Hopkins Farms Squash and Onions, and Whole Foods Truffled Mac n Cheese | Oysters & Pearls

While at Whole Foods, I picked up a couple of these truffled mac n cheeses from the deli counter.  They were so good alongside a hand-cut ribeye from Jones Meats and some fresh Hopkins Farms squash and onions.  This meal was a little ridiculously indulgent, but I think we earned it.

We have some exciting things going on this week that I’ll share when the time comes… but until then, I hope everyone has a great week!

Shop this post:
custom letterpress goods (Paperworks Press)
waxed canvas koozie (Anhaica Bag Works)
stained glass supplies (Glassworks by Susan)
stained glass necklace (unintentionally similar by Canadian artisan Here and Now)
stained glass wall vase (inspired by Athens artisan Copper & Torch)

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Southern Makers Series

Until Next Time