Press Ready Workshop a success!

Last week we welcomed Sarah Platanitis at PRESS for a Berkshire Festival of Women’s Writers workshop entitled Press Ready.

Workshop participants will be coached by a seasoned journalist and award-winning teacher to gain a better understanding of how journalists work.  Learn the secrets to writing the perfect press release, how to prepare press and media kits, plus get tips on how to ace interviews and tune-up existing PR skills.  This workshop can be motivating for beginners and energizing for those at intermediate or advanced levels.

She spoke to a group of a dozen or so people about the ins and outs of communicating with the press as an artist/creative person.

Many of the participants were students in Melanie’s Senior Art Project, a practicum class designed to introduce graduating senior art majors to the business of being an artist. Sarah presented and discussed realms of this process from her side of things, as a reporter and a journalist. We’re even thinking of hiring her here at PRESS to help us get our press packet into order we were so inspired. Look her up. She does great work–she is a business and lifestyle journalist from Western Massachusetts.  She is the curator and photographer behind the Women & Food Project and authors the cooking blog, Sarah in the Kitchen.


Have presses, will travel

Mid-February found me traveling across the state to New Bedford, the whaling center of Massachusetts to participate in their version of Downstreet Art, their Aha! Night. It was part of their Big Read Project, Stark Raven Mad. In addition to printing with my mini-presses at the Aha! Night, the Aha! staff put me in touch with a number of other people in New Bedford. We created a mini artist-in-residence. I spent one morning talking to students at UMass Dartmouth, showing them my work and doing a small printing demo. And another morning & afternoon working with fifth graders at two different New Bedford Public Schools. Since the elementary school kids were working on poetry this month, I set a haiku by Basho, that they then printed onto a previously printed bird card. Here are pics of me working with the students. A big shout-out to Peter Pereira, for these great images.

For the Aha! Night, I was invited to print something inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Quite a dark piece of writing, a bit counter to how I create my mantra cards. So how to make it positive, how to make it my own?

I began by highlighting some of the really great words in the poem. I chose words that were most inspiring and then poured over my lead type to see what I could put together. During the Aha! Night, visitors used one of my mini-presses

Aha! Raven-inspired card.

Aha! Night New Bedford, The Raven-inspired card.

What’s your Mantra?

What are you thinking about this week?

This semester, PRESS has an artist-in-residence. In January Dr Alke Gröppel-Wegener came over from Staffordshire University in the UK for two weeks to work with students on visual ways of integrating writing into a number of subjects. As part of her stay, she also ran a number of workshops for faculty, where we explored her techniques in order to develop our own professional development, particularly through the medium of postcards. We made ‘academic mantra’ cards, with short text that inspires us in our teaching or advice we ‘give’ to students regularly; and we thought about the goals we have for the rest of the semester. You can see how Melanie is doing this here. And you can go here and here to see what Alke is doing. At the end of the semester, Alke will be back for follow-up and an exhibit related to this process.

This dovetails nicely with some of the things we do at PRESS.

You might be familiar with PRESS’ ever popular mantra cards – portraying inspirational statements, slogans or quotes – so popular we even made our 2014 calendar on the theme. Now we want to fill our window with not just our, but also YOUR mantras – some of which might well make it onto cards…MantraWindow

So come in and pop your mantra on a post-it, ready to add to our collection! If you are not local, write your mantras in our comments and we will add them to our window.

Make your own Mantra, on the road to Vancouver

What a winter! PRESS has taken a bit of a pause after all the effort required to create our fabulous calendars. During this time, I traveled to Vancouver to present a workshop about our the monthly mantra cards that we make that inspired our calendar at the Design Principles and Practices Conference.

Title: Make your own Mantra – Discovering Design As Collective Intelligence Through Designing And Printing Mantra Cards

One of the key aspects of design thinking is that very often it is not purely thinking at all, but it is backed up by a healthy portion of making. Schön’s seminal concepts of reflection-in and on-action as well as generative metaphor will center our workshop. We will explore how as designers and educators we rely on tacit knowledge and how it underpins not only our cognitive thinking strategies but how we think and make in the studio, the classroom and in the world.

In this workshop, participants will examine and evaluate examples of how text and image paired together can challenge and change collective understanding. We will discuss ways of using tacit knowledge, reflection-in and on action and generative metaphor to create new and memorable meaning with overused, out-dated or tired text and image. Text and image will be drawn from design education theory, open-source/stock imagery that designers often farm, as well as vintage letterpress cuts.

Participants will design a number of mantra cards – short, useful and inspiring statements that when paired with different images inspire collective learning, challenge perceived biases and enhance memory.

Here are a couple examples from participant David Short:

Mantra card using packing tape transfer imagery and hand lettering by David Short.

Mantra card using packing tape transfer imagery and hand lettering by David Short.

Mantra card using packing tape transfer imagery and hand lettering by David Short.

Mantra card using packing tape transfer imagery and hand lettering by David Short.

This practice and the workshop spawned additional creative ideas, all based on the mantra idea, these short phrases that we repeat over and over to ourselves. My friend and colleague Alke Groppel-Wegener and I are now working together to continue the practice of making mantra cards and recording mantras in a number of different ways. Click this link to learn more about how!

If you have mantras that guide your practice, whatever it is, teaching, printing, making, please share them with us. More soon about how we are using them.

Some letterpress printed calendars still available!

You know you want one. The PRESS 2014 Calendar.


Get inspired every month with our Mantra Calendar. Every month was printed at PRESS gallery on our infamous Vandercook letterpress, on 100% cotton paper locally made by Crane Paper and includes quotes from Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Emily Dickinson, VIrginia Wolfe, and more. Every month will contain the usual PRESS charm!

$50+tax for pick-up at PRESS, $60 for shipping and handing (includes tax). For multiple calendar shipments, add only $55 for each extra calendar.

Download the order form and get yours today.2014CalendarForm

RISING–opening tonight–featuring our 2014 Calendar!

We’ve been busy little bees at PRESS the past few weeks–working to make today’s 5 pm deadline. What happens at 5 pm? RISING opens–our new exhibit featuring our first ever calendar. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to come by tonight. We have it displayed in a couple of different ways to help you envision how it might look in your home.

Calendars are $50 + tax. Or, if you are faraway and would like one, download and send in the 2014CalendarForm to reserve yours. I wouldn’t wait too long–they are bound to move quickly.

PRESS2014CalendarAt the opening tonight you will also see some examples of projects created in some of Melanie’s classes this semester, and of course, you can take care of many of your holiday shopping needs browsing through our cards and broadsides. You can even go next store to Gallery 51′s 99SENSE show to see what else you might like to add to your collection!

Finished, and available for sale THURSDAY!

We finished our 2014 first-ever, mantra inspired calendar today! PRESS2014Calendar

It will be officially available for sale this Thursday at the opening of RISING, from 5-8 p.m. You can still pre-order one by downloading the 2014CalendarForm and mailing it in or bringing it to PRESS. We have already sold 20% of the calendars…we think they will sell quickly, so reserve yours today!

Here’s a little 2014 Calendar Preview!

We are in the homestretch! We have eleven out of twelve months finished–looking forward to getting that last one done this week in between meals and weather events. And then it will be ready for the big reveal on December 5th at our next opening RISING. (If I were you I would download the order form and reserve yours today because these calendars are going to go fast. 2014CalendarForm)

Calendars are 11×14 and printed on 100% cotton Crane paper–locally made from the core! Here’s a preview.

Hope to see you at our Saturday workshop!

Don’t forget we are hosting a great Holiday Card Making workshop THIS SATURDAY, only $75, from 10 am – 2 pm.

We have partnered with our Alchemy Initiative friends for this very special event. photo (1)


Participants will receive one of our fabulous PRESS collage packs–for this workshop they include 10 red Crane paper envelopes, 10 Crane paper folded cards and collage materials galore!

You make the collages and then print your favorite phrases using some of our fabulous wood and metal type.

Download the registration form and sign-up today! 2013HolidayWorkshop

2014 Monthly Mantra Calendar coming soon!

We are hard at work at PRESS on our **new** 2014 Monthly Mantra Calendar! Stay tuned for pictures!

We know our fans love coming into the shop for our monthly mantra cards that we give away and definitely love our Monthly Mantra workshops!

So new for 2014, a calendar with some of our favorite mantras and some new ones! The first person to comment on what the unifying element is gets a free one. Calendars are $50 and will be available at our December opening. We have a limited number available–so let us know if want one!


Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm.



Failure is impossible.

Susan B. Anthony


Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.

Emily Dickinson


The soul is not in the body;
the body is in the soul.
-Hildegard von Bingen


What is beautiful is good, and what is good will be beautiful.


Find glory in the little things.

Janelle Monáe

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark than alone in the light.

Helen Keller


My mind works in idleness

Virgina Wolff


To create one’s world takes courage.

Georgia O’Keeffe


Art and life are inseparable.

Eva Hesse


Stop rushing the river.

Janis Ian


We become that which we love.

Saint Bridget