Sneak Peak: new for 2013
by Kate on Thursday, December 6th, 2012
It’s an exciting and busy time of year around here as we prepare to release a large collection of cards and gifts for January. Heidi and Handsome (our two heidelbergs) are cranking away in the press room churning out fresh and bright designs that we know will make you smile. There’s one birthday card that seems to be our mantra these days (see below). Between the holidays, the new release, last minute custom holiday orders and buttoning up 2012, all we can really do is just roll with it (especially when the coffee machine breaks down). Enjoy the season everyone!
by Kate on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Who doesn’t love a brand new notebook? I can never resist lovely, smooth papers bound together with a deliciously printed cover. The white pages just scream to be filled with notes, to dos, ideas, plans, and mindless doodles. And, for us type A’s out there, you feel super organized by keeping all of your thoughts in one place. A pretty notebook makes the day that much sweeter as I jot down a reminder to grab a gallon of milk or sketch a new idea for a design. Practical, yes, and eye candy too!
In case you didn’t guess, I’m super excited to report that Smudge Ink is launching a notebook line! Below is a sneak peek of some of the covers coming off the presses. Stay tuned as the line is set to launch in August…just in time for the fall to get organized!
Printing with Sam
by Kate on Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Last Sunday I spent most of the day at the studio showing Samantha, my teenage niece, how to print. At the ripe old age of 13 she’s quite the talented poet, so we spent our day printing three of her poems on the Vandercook. I hadn’t been on press for a while, so it felt good to exercise those muscles and share a little bit of what I know with her. Watching Sammy react to the letterpress printing process and the end result — her beautiful poems — was inspiring for me. I was reminded of the excitement and sense of possibility I felt when I first learned to print over 10 years ago. I was happy to share the process with her and hope we can do it again soon.
The poems she printed are shown below in the bottom photograph. I have to admit, I have a favorite which I have framed above my dresser at home:
I pressed my face to the window,
recounting the many bus rides
so similar to this.
But this would be my last.
All of the things I have seen,
I come here to forget them.
I know, I only fly for a moment,
but it is worth something
more precious than my energy.
a day in the life of a smudge ink greeting card: part two
by admin on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Hello again! Now it’s time to tackle the second color: yellow. Just like we did with the first color, we measure to estimate where the second color will land. Once the placement is set, the polymer plate for the second color is adhered to the base, and the chase is set into the press. At this point, the ink is on the press and ready to go. If we measured accurately, the first pull should be close to perfect. And…it is!
A few tweaks are then made for impression, color saturation and placement. Once those are set, the paper (with the first color printed) is loaded onto the feeding table. Now it’s time to begin the run and monitor it carefully to make sure registration, color and impression remain consistent. Once the run is finished, we move onto trimming and scoring.
We use a pencil, ruler and one of the cards to create a guide for trimming the entire stack. The trim marks represent the final size of the card, and in this case it’s 4.25″ x 5.25″. We use our trusty Polar-Mohr Eltromat 72 cutter to trim the stack. We seriously love this machine — it’s precise, dependable and solid. What more could you ask for in a cutter?
Once the cards are trimmed, we move onto scoring. Scoring allows for a much cleaner fold — which we think is pretty important around here. The cards are fed into the press that has a scoring rule set inside the chase, and the rule makes a crease in the card when the platen comes together. Given the amount of cards we score each week, this is not the most efficient way of accomplishing this task. In our ideal world, we’d have a scoring and folding machine which would score and fold at the same time, but the exact magic machine we desire is hard to find. So, we patiently wait.
Next steps: folding and packaging. We’ll return in a few days to continue the day in the life of a smudge ink greeting card. And, by the way, you can buy this snail card as all of our birthday cards are now for sale on our website.
Introducing Weddings by Smudge Ink
by admin on Thursday, March 1st, 2012
This is just a quick note to announce that our new wedding line has finally launched! After months and months of hard work, we are so excited to share these wedding suites with you: www.smudgeink.com/weddings. Please take a peek and let us know what you think. And, please spread the word!
a day in the life of a smudge ink greeting card: part one
by admin on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Given that we are a working studio, we thought it would be fun to share with you the process of how we make our greeting cards. Our fondness for letterpress printing is part of why we started this business, so it’s only appropriate that we share some letterpress love.
Once we’ve determined a card must be printed, there are a series of steps we go through to produce it, not to mention package and send it off to our retailers. In this first post, we’ll show you how we set up the press in preparation for printing and how we run the first color.
After we’ve determined how many cards to print of a specific design, we cut the parent sheets (large format paper) to smaller run size sheets (smaller format paper fit to run through the press but not the final size). Next, we use a measuring guide to determine where the first color should land on the run sheet.
We then take the polymer plate for the first color and adhere it to the base. Now it’s time to add the ink — we’re using warm grey for this particular card. The ink is applied through the ink fountain at the back of the press, a heidelberg windmill that we affectionately call Heidi. Once the ink is ready to go, the base is locked into the chase and set into the press. The pins that guide the paper during the run must be adjusted so they don’t get crushed by the base. Be sure to say hello to Christopher, Emily’s feline friend.
Now it’s time to take the first pull to see if the image is landing where we want it to. We do this several times and make many small adjustments so the card is printing perfectly in regard to color, impression and registration. Once it’s good to go, we prepare the stack of paper for the run. Adding air to the stack makes it easier for the press to suction the paper into the press.
We begin the run and monitor it carefully to make sure the color, impression and registration remain consistent. After the run is over, the stack is set side until it’s time to print the second color.
In the next post, we’ll cover the second color, trimming and scoring. Stay tuned!…and thanks for reading.
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