We are really lucky to have artist Robert Howsare as a part of the Hammerpress team. Not only is he a super nice friend and co-worker, he is also a very talented artist. Bobby currently has a fantastic show set up at the UMKC Gallery of Art, so we wanted to share a glimpse of his work with you here.
And some of the results...
If you're looking for that last-minute gift or ideas on how to spend your hard-earned holiday bonus, here's a list of things we think are particularly great from shops that we love.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday. See you next year!
Brady, Matt, Jenn, Britta, Debbie, Bobby, Felicia & Sarah
We've had a year full of some really great projects and some really great clients. This year we were pleased to have some of that work selected to be shown at the Kansas CIty AIGA awards. Here are the winning projects:
Boulevard Brewing Postcard Set, available at the brewery's gift store
Hammerpress was honored to be asked by Jim Moran to show our work at the historic Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. This collection of Hammerpress work is currently on display through October.
The Hamilton Wood Type Company began making wood type in the 1880's and became the countries premier manufacturer of wood type, printing equipment & type cabinets. Recently this historic building has been given new life as a working museum on the history of American wood type, typography and letterpress printing. Very cool to be a part of this history.
We all stayed pretty busy this summer... Brady's taxidermy collecting, Matt's do-it-himself kitchen renovations, Lindsay opening her (and our) dream shop, Little Freshie, Katie and Fredrick's half-cross-country travels, Debbie's Texas engagement, Jenn's first camping trip ever, Bobby's move here from Ohio, Britta's puppy dog adoption, and our Hammerpress + Little Freshie pot luck/late night charades,... yes, in between all that, we made some pretty great things! Here's a glimpse into our summer happenings. No pics of late night charades though.
Our dear Kara Laricks just had her first show at New York Fashion Week. We were honored to create the invitations for this special event.
Sleeve for a limited edition version of Nocturne, the latest release from the lovely music-makers, Wild Nothing.
Now here's to cooler temps and crispy leaves! Stay tuned.
Sometime around 1988, I stumbled across an original pressing of Joy Division's "Still" at Rainbow Records in Oklahoma City. It was an expensive record at the time - 20 bucks or so, and that's not including the extra cost of bounced check fees (the effect of paying more attention to the details of albums than the details of my account balance). I was far from a Joy Division fan back then, but this record jumped out at me amongst whatever other late 80's punk, new wave, early grunge stuff that I was probably thumbing through. I was immediately drawn to the construction of this record - double gatefold, made of this crazy-heavy-weight, industrial, grey paper stock - and I've cherished it since.
Joy Division "Still"
Our First Project
We printed our first official Hammerpress project in 1994. The band Giants Chair was releasing their first album on Caulfield Records out of Lincoln, Nebraska. I was roommates with these guys, and like many other early Hammerpress projects, it just kind of happened into a project while I was studying print making at the Kansas City Arts Institute. The job was to design and print 1,000 each CD & LP packages for their 1995 release "Red & Clear". I don't remember the budget, but it was probably much less than the cost of the end result. It was more a labor of love and friendship than an actual money-paying job. Giants Chair's guitar player and singer, Scott Hobart (aka Rex Hobart & Misery Boys) designed the cover. The design was in line with the overall minimal design aesthetic of the band.
This is where the Joy Division record comes in. I don't know how many miles I drove around Kansas City, or how many different paper suppliers I visited with this Joy Division's “Still” in hand, asking if they had paper like this. It was a quest and no one knew what the hell I was talking about. They showed me grey paper, but really lame, light-weight office paper. Should we just settle for this crap? No, and the quest and driving continued continued. Finally, we found some scary warehouse in the West Bottoms district that recycled paper and resold it as industrial grade boards, known as "converting”. This was it! Much closer to the style of paper we were searching for. Back then, there was no “keyword search” or Google to help us out. There was the yellow pages and a car.
Well we never found the actual paper, but something close enough, and we learned our way around Kansas City at the same time. And almost 19 years later we still buy paper from those guys. Once we sourced the paper, we had to figure out what the hell a die was, and who makes them? A whole new quest ensued. After much more driving and calling, we found a die-maker and sourced this piece to cut out the shape of the LP package.
And once we finally sourced the paper and die, we were ready to print. The first layer was silver – hand silk screened in order to handle that big of a flood, and the silk screen ink was much shinier than other options. We wanted shiny.
We completed the printing on a Chandler & Price press that did not have a treadle, which meant we needed plenty of extra hands to crank the fly wheel to keep the press running into the wee hours of the night. This required at least two people - one to crank the fly wheel, and one to hand feed. We printed a total of 1000 LP jackets and 1000 CD jackets this way, each piece having at least 3 passes through the press.
A couple weeks later, the sleeves were printed, assembled and shipped to the label. We were all a little creaky from cranking the fly wheel, but we had completely done this by hand, and it was beautiful and satisfying, and felt like we had done something real. This is still one of my favorite projects that we have done. This is still a great record, and holds a fairly legendary status both in Kansas City and beyond as once of the best post-punk/math rock releases of it's era.
I just found two copies of "Red & Clear" on Discogs for $40. That's about what I ended up paying for that Joy Division close to 24 years ago.
Our neighbors and friends at Manifesto make some seriously good cocktails. These talented bartenders are known for serving up quality, awe inspiring cocktails in their darkly-lit, speakeasy-style basement lounge. This weekend Kansas City's own Manifesto competes against five other national acts in the Bar Room Brawl at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. The Manifesto team will be crafting signature drinks for hundreds of eager sippers who will ultimately determine the winner.
We designed and printed this coaster for our fellow Kansas Citians to accompany their competition drinks this weekend. We're excited to be a part of this national event, and to help Manifesto represent KC with some Hammerpress printed coasters.
We were honored to be asked to design and print the labels for this years collaboration between Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City) and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (California) for SAVOR - an American craft beer and food experience held this June in Washington D.C.
Boulevard Brewing Company started in 1989 by entrancing their hometown with their full flavored beers and unique packaging. One early memory of Boulevard was in the early nineties, seeing these amazing beer boxes strapped onto the back of Kansas City Art Institute kid's bicycles carrying their books and such. Well Boulevard quickly took over Kansas City, becoming a heavy-hitter in the craft beer movement. And this brewery has continued to grow their reputation as, arguably, the best beer in the country.
The designs for the Terra Incognita label were executed completely on press with handset lead type. Once the design was finalized, we printed a limited edition of 5000 labels from magnesium plates, created from the handset design. Each bottle was labeled by the hand's of Boulevard employees, Hammerpress staff and other friends during a festive labeling party. We were delighted to join in the hand labeling process, especially with the test keg of this small batch brew on hand!
label proposals with concept sketches
hand setting the lead and wood type
hand applying the labels
the finished product, cheers!
The Black Keys & Volkswagen-sized disco ball, Bolivian blankets at Tesoros Trading Co, seeing pink at Jo's Coffee, the sweet puppy we almost adopted
Everybody needs a break now and then, right? Lindsay is getting ready to open her new espresso bar and soda fountain, Little Freshie, so we decided it would be a good time to get a little last minute down time in one of our favorite places, Austin, TX. There's never any shortage of amazing food, drink, and generally inspiring things to see in this town and this time was fantastic as always. Jo's Coffee always hits the spot - too much money spent here as always, but it's just so easy to want to hang out and enjoy the sun all day at this place. Hotel San Jose - this is maybe the best place on earth. It is perfect in so many ways and the folks that work here are always so nice. Perfect thing at 5-ish in the evening - Modelo with lime, Champassion, Olives and Edamame.
Hotel San Jose
We always try to stop in at Spartan even if we don't buy anything. It's beautiful. Sadly, they were closed for remodeling and making room for their new partners in the space, JM Dry Goods. We look forward to the next trip to Austin to see this sure to be amazing collaboration. The Corner Shop Mall - do you like taxidermy? OK, good. Then you should go to this place because it is totally insane. You drive up to two open shipping containers lined with prong horns, boars, deer, moose, mountain lions, hyena and a tent with a mound of antlers the size of a small house. luckily I was broke and we were flying or I may have come back with a new prize.
Taxidermy at The Corner Shop Mall, Bolivian blankets at Tesoros Trading Co., JM Dry Goods, dinner at Hillside Farmacy
We have been really feeling the Tangerine Tango here at Hammerpress lately. This cheery color was chosen by Pantone as 2012's color of the year, and it seems to be everywhere these days in clothing, homewares, and even cosmetics. You can't deny the excitement of Tangerine Tango!
The story behind this exalted color is that Pantone (the renowned color authority) declares one particular color each year to reflect and represent the spirit of the times. For 2012, the upbeat Tangerine Tango is meant to provide a burst of vigor to keep us charged and energized. And it just so happens that it's an awesome color to look at.
Here are some shades of the tango around the shop...
Do you feel energized now?