I have a special place in my heart for letterpress, so I am thrilled to introduce you to Letter & Lark! Check out Colleen’s interview below, then come see her in person at the 2012 Bazaar Bizarre!
Hi there! First things first: What’s your name, what’s your business name, where are you from, and where are you currently located/crafting?
Hello there, my name is Colleen Ellse. I am a designer and letterpress printer – I own a studio called Letter & Lark. We offer completely custom pieces for weddings, milestone celebrations, business branding, as well as a letterpress paper goods line of note cards, prints, and gift sets. I’m from Norwood, MA (although I was born way out in Cheyenne, WY on an air force base) and currently print in Providence, RI.
How did you get your start? Please tell us a little bit about how your business went from an idea to what is is today.
I graduated from the Art Institute of Boston in 2004 with a degree in Graphic Design and worked for a designer for several years. After I lost my design job at the start of the recession, I decided on a whim to take a day workshop in letterpress printing. I loved it so much I took several others, and then it totally snowballed: I accepted an internship, which then lead to a printing position at a letterpress studio. I studied under several printers for just over two years before I started printing my own work.
What inspires you the most to create?
I am constantly looking at (and filing away) inspiring color palettes, textures, patterns, and projects. I also get really inspired by a walk in the woods or on the beach, and try as much as possible to get off the computer and go outside.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with gorgeous cotton paper (who wouldn’t?), really satisfying color palettes and great type, gorgeous ribbons and handmade papers. It’s always the best when I can use components that are specially made by other artisans!
Do you have a favorite color palette?
I have a few favorites – I can’t seem to pick just one! I love coral and apricot with navy blue or emerald green, a bright, indigo blue with a minty green or buttery yellow, and charcoal grey goes amazingly with pretty much anything, especially a bright, pop of color.
Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
I’ve loved the work of Ann Wood and Myra Callan (of Twigs & Honey) for such a long time; there are a lot of people doing the same sort of products, but to me are the originals – not to mention they are so good at what they do. My favorite stationery studios are Simplesong Design, Mae Mae Paperie, Bespoke Letterpress, Mr. Boddington’s Studio, Bird & Banner, and Rifle Paper Co. They all have their own unique style, but have such great design and color sensibilities!
Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business? (Nothing TOP-SECRET, of course!)
A resounding yes! I’ve got some exciting things planned for Letter & Lark for 2013, one that I can share is a promise for new letterpress products. Other than that, my plans are squirreled away and I’m dying to share the details. Stay tuned to my blog/facebook page/mailing list for the updates as they happen. I’m still in the process of figuring out all the logistics, and will be taking several leaps of faith… to be continued!
What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?
I’m a big homebody, I like nothing more than baking or cooking in the kitchen, getting my hands dirty in the garden, or just hanging with my two cats and husband. Looking forward to the chillier months where I can relax by the fireplace with a good book!
What are the top 3 reasons someone shopping at the BBB 2012 should be sure to stop by your table?
First, everyone needs cards for the holiday season (to send your well wishes or for a quick thank you), and we’ll be selling plenty to choose from – no matter what holiday you’re celebrating. Second, we have lots of other great letterpress products that make great gifts, like 2013 calendars, recipe cards, bookmarks and more. Third, I’m sharing a booth with the uber-talented Paper Taxi, and between the two of us you’re sure to get several awesome items. That, and we’ll have some treats to offer on our tables as well (because who can resist candy)?
What is your favorite background noise to listen to while working?
Good question! It depends on the type of work and which parts of my brain I need to use. I’m either listening to music on Spotify (the last two weeks I can’t stop listening to Florence + the Machine and the new Mumford & Sons album), tune into NPR or BBC World Service, or sometimes I just put a good British comedy on in the background on my laptop (That Mitchell and Webb Look is so, so good).
Where do you (craft) work?
All my design work is done at home, while all my printing is currently done at the AS220 Community Printshop in Providence, RI.
What is your favorite mythical beast and what do you think their favorite crafty past time is?
Hmmm… immediately I thought of watching original Star Wars, Willow, and the old Jason and the Argonauts movie as a kid. I could imagine a Ewoks from Star Wars excelling at making tiny felted creatures, Warwick Davis as Willow being a great cross-stitch embroider, and the statue of Talos from Jason & T.A. being really into stained glass work.
Can’t wait until December 16th? Find out more about Letter & Lark here: