Smudge Ink is a result of: heaps of design classes; a graduate degree in historic preservation; years of gardening, wood working, drawing, painting, and generally getting our hands dirty; extreme aesthetic pickiness; an appreciation for beautiful compositions and delicious textures; the desire to create things from scratch; a few stints of living with the folks; a love for gorgeous stationery and old, cast iron machines; and two field hockey team mates who realized they had similar career interests.
After learning how to print in Oregon and then Massachusetts (big thanks to Macy Chadwick, Tess Darrow and Elias Roustom), Kate opened her own letterpress studio in a garage bay on the Cape. She focused largely on custom weddings and a tiny greeting card line. Deb came aboard soon after and the two of them continued to build the wedding business through word of mouth while writing their strategic plans on the back of an A7 envelope. In less than a year, Smudge Ink moved up to Boston into a converted textile mill on the Mystic River. Kate and Deb continued to spread the word and gain traction with their custom work and greeting cards and eventually grew into what Smudge Ink is today. The new letterpress-printed wedding collection has been an opportunity for them to reinvent a product line that was part of their humble beginnings. They look forward to working with you and sharing in your new beginnings as well.
The Weddings by Smudge Ink team is made up of a creative, quirky and truly fun group of people. We love what we do and feel fortunate to be able to do it. After almost 10 years of printing wedding invitations through word of mouth, we decided it was time to reintroduce this part of our business with a brand new wedding line. Here’s a little bit about each of us:
SABRINA // service with a smile // caffeinated to boot // seeker of her parachute color
Favorite restaurant in/around Boston: Impossible to name just one. Baja fish tacos at Dorado’s, peach and mozzarella salad at Ten Tables; $1 oyster night at Myers+Chang
Favorite TV Show: How about a channel? HGTV!
Most memorable wedding and why (it can’t be yours): Dini and Anju’s wedding. I got my hands covered in beautiful henna and the groom came in on a horse like straight out of a Bollywood movie.
DEB // financial modeler // treat day police // the “D” in WWDD (What Would Deb Do?)
Favorite Coffee Shop in/around Boston: Sportello (not a coffee shop, per se, but my favorite coffee)
Tell us about a hidden talent you have: impersonations
Favorite thing to bake: Any type of fruit pie…no cream or pudding or custard pies…blech
EMILY // aficionado of all things tiny // print shop manager // cat rescuer
Favorite vacation spot in New England: Lake Winnepasaukee
Your most favorite part of going to a wedding: dancing and having fun with friends
On what occasion to you most appreciate receiving a hand written note? Any!
MEGHAN // collector of vintage ephemera // printer // dedicated auntie
Favorite wedding venue in/around Boston: The Barn at Gibbet Hill—gorgeous countryside location, fantastic fresh cuisine right from the farm. The barn is rustic but elegantly modern—great atmosphere inside and out.
Your most favorite weekend activity in/around Boston: Sunday brunch! You can never go wrong with breakfast, mimosas and great company.
Current favorite wedding palette: Ivory, warm grey and rust orange.
KATE // loving mother of two, Oliver and Smudge Ink // obsessive list maker // flower snob
Favorite romantic comedy: Something New
Favorite smudge ink wedding invitation: Terra
Your ideal Smudge Ink treat day includes: 3 GF chocolate chip cookies for me and 36 totally glutenous chocolate cookies for everyone else. Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream on the side.
Letterpress printing dates back to the mid-15th century when it was the common way of printing text on paper. Invented by Johannes Gutenberg, it remained the primary way of printing until the mid-20th century when offset printing took over. In the past decade, letterpress printing has gained in popularity for its hands-on nature and beauty. Polymer plates have added to its resurgence as they allow for a more efficiency and freedom in terms of what types of images you can print.
Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing where a raised image, usually a plate, is set into a press, inked, and then pressed into a piece of paper. The raised surface makes an impression in the paper, creating a lovely, three-dimensional effect. The process to set up the press for printing, hand mix and apply the inks, and make sure the inks are aligning just right (known as registration) is an extremely involved process that requires patience and an expert hand. And keep in mind this process needs to be repeated for each color. It truly is a lovely craft, the results of which no other form of printing can match.
We use a Heidelberg windmill, whom we lovingly refer to as Heidi, two Chandler & Price platen presses, and one Vandercook No. 4, a cylinder press also known as Vandy. Each machine has its strengths and weaknesses, so we use all of them at different times for different purposes.