gilah press and design: let’s chat!

posted by the scholar on May 1st, 2008
filed under: design, let's chat!, paper

gilah_press_buzzkill_coasters

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in the world of handmade stationery, choices abound that reflect many facets of our personalities. i for one have a bag full of cards in my closet that range from elegant letterpress to hipster sarcasm to simple pretty greetings. my stock reflects my ever changing moods, which is one of the many reasons why i love the clever, bright and pretty stylings of kat feuerstein and her company, gilah press. when i look at the collection of witty and just sacastic enough humor wrapped up in a classy letterpress card, it makes me howl with laughter. gilah (which is hebrew for joy) is a design company that not only creates clever cards and accessories, but also does custom work for corporate identities and invitations for special occasions. i enjoy this collection because it makes quick written correspondence so much more personal (and humorous) than a generic greeting card, and leaves the receiver not just with a gorgeous physical souvenir of a moment in time but also a fond memory to keep. let’s have a chat with kat and find out more!

gilah_press_design_studio

q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: i live in a little eclectic neighborhood (hampden), which is located in baltimore, md with my husband (adam) and two cats (reo & mel). i create my collection in the very same neighborhood, a few blocks away in a big pink warehouse that i share with two assistants (whitney & nathalie), two interns (justin & maggie), a colleague (emily) and a cat (pica).

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i went to maryland institute college of art (mica) where I earned a degree in graphic design. from there i worked for a couple of design firms, knowing that one day i would start my own company. i started doing some freelance design and happened upon letterpress through a friend of mine and the rest is history.

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q: how did you come to work in paper as a medium?
a: i’ve always had an obsession with the printing process, so it was a pretty natural progression. there’s something so rewarding when you see a project come to life as the ink hits the paper and your vision becomes a real, tactile object. i love working with a variety of different paper types because every paper will react in its own way to the design.

gilah_press_postcardsgilah_press_plantable_cards

q: are there any distinct challenges and rewards in working with a letterpress?
a: YES and YES. rewards wouldn’t be so rewarding without the challenges. with letterpress there are a lot of variables and almost every project we print comes with its own special set of challenges. the 100 year old presses we use can be finicky buggers, there are lots of rigs to help the process along. it literally depends on the weather some days, if it’s humid out the rollers will swell and we have to compensate for that. if the project we’re printing has a large solid area of ink coverage, we will print that differently than we would print a block of text. if we’re printing white ink on brown paper a whole new set of rules applies. if the ink is pushing out too much (looking sloppy) we can add masking tape to the rails that the rollers ride on to help correct that problem by bringing the rollers back to “type high”. so, to make an already long explanation longer, there are certainly lots of challenges every day, but that’s what we love about it and that’s what makes it so rewarding every time we print a beautiful looking piece.

gilah_press_custom_invitations

q: are there any differences in your creative process between custom work and production work?
a: the custom work certainly takes more time in the beginning phases. there’s a lot more thinking involved, you know, in the shower, at the bar, on the couch to come up with the design and the specifications of what will work best for the design in terms of paper and printing. with the production work we really just have to make the time to bang it out, we already know what we’re getting into.

gilah_press_female_dog_cardsgilah_press_female_dog_cards_thanks

q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: inspiration comes from the things i surround myself with. my friends, my neighborhood, wine, the studio, etc. i also enjoy traveling to become inspired by new sites. a few months back we took a studio road trip to tennessee to visit yeehaw industries and hatch show print, talk about inspirational. the more sarcastic lines come naturally out of my acerbic sense of humor that i’ve had since i can remember. i’m a smartass at heart.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: our single greeting cards generally retail for between $4 and $6. we have some boxed notes and postcards that go for $10-25.

you can find gilah press cards around the country, at places like kate’s paperie (ny and ct), and powell’s books (or) and anthropologie (everywhere). if you’re a retail buyer you can see kat and the crew at the national stationery show in new york from 5/18-5/21/08, and if you’re looking for a perfect design for your special event in charm city, the studio is open by appointment. those of us who aren’t lucky enough to live in the are can stop by the gilah press website to see their full collection and say hi.

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thank you kat!


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