Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the Portland creative community.
What is it about letterpress that drew you in?
A love of words and the way that they can be strung together. The first instructor that I had was a typesetting purist – no photopolymer plates in the classroom, so it was all about using letters and spacing and punctuation and color. I like the thoughtfulness of creating something one letter at a time, it’s so deliberate and precise. I like the pace of it. I’m naturally a little bit impatient, and if you try to rush through a print job, something will inevitably go awry, so the pace is a good challenge for me.
What did you learn by putting out your own products?
I learned that it requires an amazing amount of hustle, and I learned that if you don’t have a naturally business-oriented brain, you might want to consider taking a class. The best part was that it showed me how supportive Portland is. Stores were very encouraging and fellow printers cheered me on and that seemed really special. This town is so full of creatives and instead of being competitive, everyone just wants everyone else to keep making amazing stuff.
What’s a typical day like at Scout Books?
First things first: stereo goes on. Check email. I spend a lot of time communicating with people about the nature of print – what to expect from offset lithography and the ink colors and materials, how to best set up their artwork, which format is ideal for their project. Then I wrangle all the details so that when the production team gets started, everything is clear. I also prepare proofs and print files, write blog posts and manage our editorial calendar, which includes documenting interesting internal projects and client work, and also sharing how people are using their Scout Books out in the world!
What’s your dream project?
I’d love to work on some kind of map or illustrated instructions. I find that my to-do and grocery lists often become these fun and practical little drawings and I’d like to expand on that. Also, I know letterpress printers everywhere will roll their eyes, but I could really stationary geek out on designing and printing a wedding invitation suite. My sister recently got engaged, so it might be in my future!
You’ve been to a lot of CreativeMornings events. Which talk has stuck with you most and why?
I have this distinct memory of getting to work after the Anna Telcs talk last year and not being able to focus at all. Some coworkers had been there as well and we all gathered in a circle and buzzed with excitement. The theme was Crossover, and Anna spoke very eloquently about the variety of creative endeavors she’d explored and how the various experiences all had value and came together. She made me feel excited, not exasperated, about the fact that I like to write and print and get lost in Illustrator, and that I’ve tried out more jobs than I can count on both hands. Her talk left me feeling inspired and eager for the future – what an awesome gift on a Friday morning!