Making a record of process

I created a shop-centric tumblr in a moment of weakness the other day. Mostly, it’s so all the random pictures I take of printing in process will stay contained. Otherwise they get all kinds of out of hand.

It’s at … and I make no promises about its long-term survival (it depends on my continuing use of a futurephone & also available wireless & Tumblr continuing to be amusing). For the moment, though, I will be posting snapshots of life in the shop for everyone’s amusement.

And since I am going to be printing some ridiculous cards tomorrow, well, there will be more things to look at.

Guest Post Time!

The Boston Paper Collective was nice enough to let me take over their print shop for seventeen days in April. The BPC is on the second floor of an beautiful building that used to be a stove factory, and is now the home of, well, The Stove Factory. It is blocks away from Sullivan Station (an area that previously seemed like a navigational nightmare, but isn’t actually all that bad once you figure it out).


To get to the Print side of the Collective, you go up to the second floor and take a left through an awesome gray metal door. When you get in, you encounter a super sweet building with old wood floors. Look up and find the first sign that says, “Quality Control Branch Seattle Division”. You have discovered the Boston Paper Collective Print Shop.


Inside the shop, you will find a Vandercook SP-20, with an impressive bed size, and a Vandercook 2. They are equipped with all the necessary basics, including two boxcar bases, and are frequently acquiring more goodies.


I had two projects I wanted to finish during my residency. One was a diptych featuring some of the lyrics from You Are My Sunshine and the other was a series of 8 color-coded posters featuring different song lyrics.

The first of the two Sunshine posters took 4 runs through the press, a white undercoat, a pressure print, a linoleum cut and some wood type that I brought from my studio.


The second also took 4 runs, the same linoleum cut, more wood type in two different colors of blue and a pressure print over the top in a very light blue.


These two prints are in honor and celebration of my cousin Jessica who passed away from Colon Cancer last November. You can read more about her here and purchase the posters here. A portion of the proceeds from each poster goes to the Colon Cancer Alliance in Jessica’s honor.

The second project is one I have wanted to do for a few years now, and I’m very excited that I was finally able to do it. The project itself is a total of 8 different prints, each in editions of approximately 20. Each print has 8 colors (and a lot of transparency) to create 12 colors, a light gray, and a black. Each color represents one of the most frequently used letters in the English language: ETAOIN SHRDLU, while the gray represents the rest of the alphabet. Each print has a portion of song lyrics presented in these 12 color blocks. I will not divulge what songs the lyrics are from (they are kind of like a word game with colors) but as my mother has proven, you can break the color code and figure it out.  These posters will be available on my etsy site shortly.


Printing these required a very tight and accurate registration system, which is something my proof press wasn’t able to give me, but a Vandercook could. Thanks to the Boston Paper Collective, I was able to get these printed, the way I wanted, and they came out exactly how I had envisioned.


The Boston Paper Collective is a great resource for anyone living in the greater Boston area. Seriously. If you need to print or make paper, or both, getting in contact with Melinda and/or Regina is a really smart plan.

Until Next Time,

Megan L. King a.k.a. MLK&toast

More about our guest artist – and another workshop!

First: the workshop.

Alternative Letterpress: Sunday April 21. 1:00 – 5:00 $175, materials included

Have a press and love printing but don’t have the money to buy a ton of large type? Bored of carving linoleum? Don’t want to spend an obscene amount of money to have a plate made for a background? This is the class for you! Come learn some alternative ways to get textures, backgrounds, shapes and letters on your letterpress prints with easy to find items and easy to learn techniques!

Previous Letterpress experience is required. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting a little inky.
drew holcombe print
(above, a poster made in part using these techniques, printed by MLK at Hatch Show Print)
About our guest instructor:

Megan L. King graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2008 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts. After graduating, she worked with Rob Charlton at Goosefish Press in Boston, MA until in 2010, she moved to Atlanta, GA and started her own letterpress shop called MLK&toast. In 2011, she ran a successful kickstarter campaign to fund a series of letterpress posters and she did a two-month internship at Hatch Show Print in Nashville, TN. Her work has been featured at 2Rules Gallery in Marietta, GA and at Goosefish Press in Boston, MA. She has also been a designer on She recently moved her shop into a studio space just east of Atlanta and is applying to graduate schools. You can view her work online at and purchase her work at

Visiting artist! New workshops! Posters on sale!

We’re thrilled to announce that a friend of the studios, printer and all-around awesome human Megan King, is coming to town as a visiting artist in April.

She’ll be teaching two introductory letterpress workshops and a special alternative methods class. Check back for details: we’ll be posting as soon as we can!

(I also owe her one: she’s the person who told me I should check this paper collective thing out in the first place.)

Here’s her post on the project she’ll be doing while she’s here and the sale she’s running to get travel funds: 30 for 15! This an awesome deal on some excellent posters — we have a lot of them hanging in the print shop, and they have a certain inspirational quality.

For our first Monday night “open studio” (Feb 4)

We’re going to have some binding things out. I’m working on a few single-section hardcovers (I decided I wanted to do some fun bindings this year, and I have a few things in mind. I’m considering this practice.)

So: come in, take a look at our collection of bookbinding manuals, peruse the work we’re doing in the studio, and we’ll do a simple pamphlet or two to get you started. There will be paper, chipboard, and thread. We’ll see what excellent things we can do with that. It should be fun.

The following week, we’re doing some low-key paper decorating on Thursday. I don’t know exactly what kind of decorating it’ll be for sure yet, although I suspect it will involve the suminagashi kits, because I’m still thirty covers short on an edition.

(Please register for these (and other) events at our Eventbrite page. We need to know you’re coming!)

Updated workshop and event calendar!

We’ve given our event listings an overhaul for the new year, and you’ll see a brand new page in our site header: Event and Workshop Calendar. We’ve embedded the Boston Paper Collective’s calendar into the page, so you can start planning which of our regular workshops you’re interested in attending.

You may notice a slight change in what’s available, too. We’re scheduling short introductory workshops at a special low rate (only $125 for a full afternoon, and we provide the materials), as we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. And never fear – we will also add more advanced workshops and longer intermediate workshops as the year progresses!

For 2013, though, we’re adding special “open studio” nights and evening decorated paper workshops. Both of these are intended to be low-key, two-hour introductions to our space and some of the things we do – they’re only $40, and we’ll still be providing materials. During the “open studio” evenings, we’ll have a rotating selection of book-arts related things for you to try, depending on what we’re working on in the studios. It could be anything! During the decorated paper workshops, we’ll do paste paper, suminagashi, or whatever tickles our fancy. Feel free to come to more than one!

We’ll be updating the calendar with conferences and fairs that we’ll be attending, as well as travelling demos, so check back for updates.

I know this is getting long, but a few more quick notes about our workshops: we do ask that you register in advance. If there are no advance registrations for open studio or decorated paper nights, we reserve the right to lock up and leave early. Please visit our EventBrite site for registration details, or e-mail bostonpapercollective at gmail dot com with questions.

Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that can get a little messy. For papermaking workshops, our floors can get slippery, so wear shoes with good soles.

All workshops (unless otherwise noted) take place in our studios in Charlestown, which are easily accessible by public transportation. There is also parking available.

For a limited time only!

I printed these cards as a demo yesterday: come get yours today. Five dollars gets you a card and the warm glow of knowing you’ve gotten us closer to our goal of a complete font of wood type.

(Yes, I will probably do more at some point, in another color, on different paper.)

This weekend!

This weekend (December 1 & 2) is the annual Stove Factory Open Studios! We’ll be here from 10-5 both days.

This is your chance to come see everything we’ve been working on (and the rest of the building, too, while you’re at it).

The print shop looks fantastic, thanks to a recent reorganization. We’ll be printing postcards on the SP-20, and we might even bring something out on the Vandercook 2 (on loan from Mike Dacy of Repeat Press) … come find out!

Check out the Artist’s Group of Charlestown for more information. (The highlights: our address is 528 Medford Street; we’re a five minute walk from the Sullivan T stop; the building does have parking, if you want to drive!)


Winter special workshops

It’s getting dark really early, and retail establishments have already started gearing up for winter holidays. Winter is coming, and we’re offering a selection of classes to brighten those long dark days. We’re offering these classes at significantly reduced cost as a seasonal special — and they’re a little shorter and less formal than our usual classes — to encourage you to come try more than one!

Intro Papermaking: Saturday, 8 December; $40

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

We make paper with all kinds of things: canvas rags, blue jeans, t-shirts, the bags coffee beans get shipped in, prepared sheet pulp. We’ll prepare a batch of fiber — whatever we’re in the mood for — and show you how to make sheets. Then we’ll play with the pulp until it’s gone. Dress for a wet and potentially messy process – and wear closed-toe shoes with good soles. Our floors can get slippery!

Accordion books: Sunday, 9 December: $40

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

We’ll make a simple accordion book with a folded non-adhesive cover, for notes or drawings or whatever you like. We’ll provide sufficient materials for each student to create one book.

Paper Marbling, suminagashi-style: Sunday, 16 December; $40

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

We do a lot of marbling at the studio. This style, based on Japanese suminagashi (although with modern materials and some simplifications!), is simple to get the hang of and produces fabulous results. We’ll introduce you to the process and let you loose with paper to cover with spectacular designs.

All workshops are limited to 8 participants. Visit our Eventbrite page for tickets and directions to the studio.

Contact us at with questions.