In the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Paradigm Gallery, Julie Wall Toles and her 1880s tabletop printing press, Ava, gear up to produce a bevy of holiday cards for the museum’s Second Thursday event.
As the owner of Hedgehog Press at 1136 Columbia Ave., Toles prints invitations, business cards, stationery and more on three presses that all are more than 100 years old.
They all have names and personalities, she says. Each had their own life before they came to me, which I think is really cool. I love introducing people to them.
Offering workshops and private printing parties, local artists and newcomers can try their hand at creating holiday cards with Hedgehog’s presses. The print shop features a number of designs and ink colors that will give your handmade card the right sentiment for the season.
When you receive it from someone, you can see the quality level, Toles says. It’s a higher quality ink and it’s on cotton paper. You can feel the impressions and you know someone made it. It just feels really personal.
Here are a few things to consider before making your cards:
If you want your cards to arrive by Christmas Day, it’s important to set up an appointment with Toles right away, and have an idea of how many cards you want to produce. Toles says the starting price for a private printing party of at least four people equates to the $75 admission for her letterpress classes she holds throughout the year.
Timing is going to be really important, because there is drying time in between before sending them, she says.
Patrons can make cards during regular hours on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Toles will also open shop for patrons with an appointment. The price goes down with larger orders.
Don’t walk into the print shop blind – come in with some ideas of what you want your card to be.
Think of what you want people to feel when they receive your card, Toles says. I think when you have a clear vision of what you want to say to somebody than it really shows itself through the whole process.
Don’t be afraid to tweak your idea after you get started. Toles has an array of colored paper, although the white, cream and tan kraft paper make the ink really pop off the page. Toles suggests matching the ink color with the envelope for a cohesive look or trying a gold ink for some seasonal flair.
We can play around with things, it’s supposed to be fun, she says. People are usually hesitant at first because they are a little uncomfortable with coming up with their own design and physically printing them, but once you get started, it’s so much fun.
Donít stress the press
If you don’t have time to make your own cards, she also sells her pre-made cards at Hedgehog and Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s gift shop. The cards feature a variety of designs and cost $5 each.