Artist Profile: Dutch Door Press

At the recent Maker Faire, I visited the booth of letterpress artists Mara Murphy and Anna Branning of Dutch Door Press. I loved their work so much that I wanted to share them with all of you. 

One of my goals this year is to learn more about letterpress because really, letterpress fills me with glee and awe and those are good feelings to have. (Hence #6 on the new year's list). I think I have a button near my mouth called "automatic gush mode" which happens when I get near letterpressed cards or art, not to mention "turbo gush mode" if the actual artists are nearby.

Anna and Mara were so kind and generously told me that if I ever wanted to try letterpress myself that I should really head up to San Francisco's Center for the Book

They were the second folks at the Maker Faire to recommend going there, plus a friend of mine from my son's school told me about it originally a few months ago. That makes for three recommendations so I guess I'll be spending some time perusing their workshop schedule and dreaming. 

Of course, it helps if you are an actual artist, which I am not, (but they are) and like I said I am a good dreamer.

Dutch Door Press is so-named after the actual dutch door in the studio and their letterpress line is based on their "mutual love of pattern, nature and vivid colors." You can find their beautiful work in their Etsy store or check this list of brick & mortars.

all images © Dutch Door Press

Bonus Q&A with Mara of Dutch Door Press!

Q: How did you learn to be a letterpress printer?

A: Anna and I both took classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book. We highly recommend using this resource. The teachers are amazing and the facilities are great for learning something like letterpress printing. After you take the classes, you are able to rent the presses to work on your own projects and there is always someone around to answer questions or help out if you need it.

Q: Do you have any advice about running a successful Etsy shop (for folks like me just starting out)?

A: Blogs are such a fantastic way to get the word about your product out. We have also paid for showcases around holidays which has been great for selling holiday specific product, like Father's Day for example. People have been so kind to us by "hearting" us and highlighting us in their treasuries as well.

Q: What is the first thing you ever bought on Etsy?

A: I bought a beautiful bird necklace for my sister-in-law. Recently I have been eyeing the cutest baby clothes for my daughter.

Q: Any thoughts to share on the letterpress action in the Will Smith movie Seven Pounds?

A: I was very disappointed at the inaccuracy that was displayed when the female character, a letterpress printer, demonstrated how to print on her platen press. She had a stack of paper and pulled only one print and when she showed it to Will Smith's character, it was a 4-color image!! It was truly baffling to me that the producers of the movie were unwilling or unable to show what an actual letterpress print looks like hot off the press!

Q: Did you take any time to wander around the Maker Faire; if so, what did you see?

A: Unfortunately, Anna and I worked alone on different days so we really didn't get much of a chance to wander around. When I had a break, I headed straight for the concessions which were delicious! Nothing better than carnival food. On the way to the food stands, I will say that I was rather impressed by the life-sized mouse trap game! Wow!!!

My heartfelt thanks to Mara of Dutch Door Press for this sweet little interview!