gilah press and design: let’s chat!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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cedar stump side table

posted by the scholar on May 1st, 2008
filed under: design, furniture, wood
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ooh i love these versatile holeystump stools from canada’s thout. these substantial pieces are made from white cedar, which apparently is a weed tree up there. i can think of at least four different places i could use these, whether as side tables or for extra seating.

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delightfully rustic!

find them in four colors and three different sizes at design public.

via more ways to waste time (leah has great taste — go over there if you can!)

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smock chair by paticia urquiola

posted by the scholar on May 1st, 2008
filed under: design, furniture
5 Comments »

i am convinced that patricia urquiola can do no wrong when i look at the details of her pleasing smock chair. bonus: it comes in a swivel version (personal favorite).

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i love how it looks like a fabulous handbag through the armrests.

purchase it over at unica home.

via bltd

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indoor tabletop garden by kikkerland

posted by the scholar on April 30th, 2008
filed under: green, home accessories
2 Comments »

pansies are cute, but what with this downright chilly weather in chicago i am wondering if i will ever go outside to plant anything ever again. i suppose i wouldn’t feel as bad if i had this idyllic table garden from the fine folks at kikkerland to practice my gardening skills on in the meantime.

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don’t you love the little urns and tidy pathways?

it’s $27 and it’s right here, waiting for me you.

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erin smith mixed media art

posted by the scholar on April 30th, 2008
filed under: art, mixed media, words
4 Comments »

i love the rich and humorous mixed media collection from georgia artist erin smith. these printed giclee collages are crafted from a combination of acrylic, watercolor, inks, paper, found objects and digital media. the folks in the vintage photographs are her relatives, and the witty prose of course is her own.

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this may come as a surprise to some of you but the feeling of being on edge comes quite naturally to me. i think these pieces are an almost perfect reflection of some of my innermost thoughts. do they reflect your thoughts too?

find erin’s collection at uncommon goods and mud and metal, and be sure to visit erin at her website too.

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natasha preenja paintings

posted by the scholar on April 30th, 2008
filed under: art, paintings
4 Comments »

these acrylic paintings from indian artist natasha preenja are making me dizzy in the best way. i love the patterns and lines combined with soothing color schemes and the strong feminine subject matter.

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wah – i hunted around but found no website for natasha. i found these pieces on pav’s lovely blog, though, and you can click over there to see more of natasha’s work and more cool things!

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alicia mordenti pottery

posted by the scholar on April 29th, 2008
filed under: artists, clay, home accessories
2 Comments »

it is so cold and gloomy out the window right now so i am really happy to have found these glossy little 4″ earthenware birdie plates from connecticut artist alicia mordenti.

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i think these are too cute to cover up with a sloppy cooking spoon — put them on the wall instead!

see more samplings from alicia at her etsy shop.

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handmade wood beacon bookmarks

posted by the scholar on April 29th, 2008
filed under: wood, words
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keep your place with these supercute $6 wooden bookmarks from the beacon bookmarks. jon and kristy try to use scrap wood whenever possible.

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i so need that yawn one right now.

see the full collection at their etsy shop and say hi to jon and kristy on their blog too.

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