blog

Mar.24, 2015

We recently had the opportunity to work on a really fun and creative custom job for Karen who commisioned an Eames-inpsired House of Cards style deck for her husband's 50th birthday. Read on for details from Karen about this amazing project and gift. We hope it will inspire you as much as it did us!

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects.  The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
-Charles Eames

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John turned 50 on October 10.  I wanted to commemorate the milestone and honor him at the same time.  I hoped to design something that was personal, relevant to his interests and allowed his friends/family (near and far)  to express their wishes, thoughts and memories.
 

I started by thinking that 50 was really John's mid-century, which was relevant because he has always been drawn to mid-century design and, in particular, to the work of Ray and Charles Eames.  I remembered a fund development project that I had been involved with that used the idea of the iconic Eames House of Cards in a similar way. John and I had used the Eames cards to build "houses" with our sons when they were younger and had always enjoyed the connection between the unique nature of the individual cards and the texture that they brought to a single structure, once the cards were combined.

It was a perfect way to allow for the individual contributors to John's birthday project to express themselves in an authentic and unique way, but also combine their efforts to create a vibrant and beautiful structure.  Each card representing a part of John's life separately, but being an integral part of the whole.  (I've attached the letter of introduction/explanation that I sent out with the cards - which might do a better job of explaining my thinking - I hope anyway).

I commissioned the custom deck because I didn't have the skills to create what I envisioned in my head.  I contacted my friend and graphic designer, Carey Portzline, and pleaded for help.  She graciously agreed to help me and suggested that we connect with Egg Press (ALWAYS my favorite card "shop") to see what was possible.  We decided to create 4 different card designs, each  with a common birthday "stamp" on the reverse side.  The rest of the card diversity was to come from the creativity of our friends and family.  It was a crazy fun project.  Everyone was really respectful of the purpose and goal of the project, and seemed genuinely invested in making the idea into an even better reality.  I was ecstatic with the outcome.  The cards were exactly what I had envisioned - better even.

 

When the cards were returned, I was overwhelmed.  Each one was unique and told a different story.  I had a box made (by MADE, Inc) so that we could store the cards once the structure came down and that is how  I presented it to John.  His response was layered.  Surprise (which is huge because very little surprises him), appreciation for the beauty of the cards and the box, wonder and gratitude for all of the people who had taken part in honoring him, and celebrating his mid-century.  We also had a lot of fun combining all of the cards into a single "house", which we did in several different combinations.

All in all, it was perfect.
 

Jan.12, 2015
Friends, studio

Just before we broke for the holiday we had the opportunity to have a box-making workshop with Japanese friends Keiko and Shuhei of Box & Needle who were visiting Portland from Tokyo. It was a very serendipitous, last minute arrangement (less than 48 hours notice!) - one that we embraced fully! We shut the print room down for the afternoon, ordered pizza and made a party of it! It was fantastic to stop what we were doing, roll up our shirt sleeves and make something with our hands. And to learn something together!

Keiko and Shu taught us how to construct a small simple box using chipboard and a traditional Japanese natural glue called Nikawa (which they brought with them). The boxes were then covered in a thin fibrous paper made by their company. They sell soooo many pretty prints!!

We pre-cut the chipboard and the paper for ease of production. The glue was sticky! It needed to be heated up and thinned with water in a double boiler. Since we don't have a proper kitchen in the office, we made do with two stainless steel bowls, one nested in the other using hot water from our electric tea kettle. It was a pretty straightforward process: attaching the sides and top (or bottom) with tape, painting a long strip of paper (long enough to cover the 4 sides of the box) with glue, then rolling the box along the strip and folding the extra over the bottom (or top) edge. We then covered the bottom (or top) with a square piece of paper for the finish.

If you get a chance to visit Tokyo we highly recommend a visit to Box & Needle where you can take a box making workshop yourself and get all the supplies and pretty papers. You'll be inspired by all the shapes and sizes of boxes that can be made and all the gorgeous papers. They are wonderful for storage of jewelry and trinkets and make wonderful gifts. Egg Presser Emily said she used the one she made as a gift box for her husband's grandma. Inside they gave her a barrette that her husband cross stitched by hand. She loved it and now has the box on display.

Can't make it to Tokyo? You're in luck (especially if you read Japanese) because Box & Needle have a book!

Jan.12, 2015
news

Looking back, 2014 was a very busy year for Egg Press. It was our 15th anniversary and we had fun getting nostalgic and rereleasing some blasts from the past. We launched a little letter writing campaign called WRITE_ON with Hello!Lucky expecting to write a good handful of letters (turned out to be 781!) and give away some free cards to others to join us (turned out to be 8,000 cards!). And we launched a new line that we'd been working on for a very long time, something very close to our hearts, called Social Preparedness Kit.

Born out of our mission to help people keep in touch, the line includes a collection of tools that our designers Tess and Kara have found missing in the marketplace. Anecdotally we've loved hearing about how people have been using the new products and we're really grateful for the attention we've gotten in the press. It was a thrill to be included in our magazine crush, Sweet Paul, and to finish the year with a cover on Stationery Trends. Ending the year on such a high note has us especially excited to share with you the NEW Social Preparedness collection which we will be unveiling at the NY Now Gift Show later this month and launching soon on our website.

For this second launch the two main things our designers were inspired by were textiles and interesting formats. I asked Kara to give us the lowdown on some of these new products...

When we were thinking about the zipper pouches for SPK, we talked a lot about new sizes we’d like to see. We decided to add the document size – it’s weirdly an old school size, but also relevant for today. We realized that it fits standard file folders as well as Tess’s laptop computer. Tess made a prototype to test and used it as a clutch. She got tons of compliments around town – it sealed the deal. 


 
The write-on-velopes were partially inspired by self mailers from the 1970’s, partially by our die-cutting capabilities, and largely by the idea that you don’t need separate pieces to mail a letter – making it an easy format to take on the go. 

 
We loved thinking about what to put on the note pads - - we thought that dream day vs. to do might compel us and others to think about our day differently and perhaps to do a better job of merging the two.

 

Dec.5, 2014
Friends, studio

We were very sad to say goodbye to LONGTIME Egg Press employee and beloved pal Jayson Wynkoop this Summer--he'd been here for 13 years! To honor his tenure we dedicated a press to him, effectionately christened "Koop". Jayson was by recently for the unveiling including a ribbon cutting and some champagne toasts. He sure is missed...

Some memories!

- I have vivid memories of Jayson jamming out to Talking Heads while printing.

-I love his swagger and his dry sense of humor!

- A black hoodie comes to mind.

- He's a great problem solver. When I ran into a problem while printing, Jayson was my go-to! He loved to help solve the problem and ultimately relieve the frustration.

-Jayson Wynkoop is my favorite dancer. He sets the bar. He's got rhythm and terrific moves mixed with a little herky jerky. When a good song came on in the print room you'd typically find him doing the Running Man. He's also got a terrific hip hop Charleston.

-I'll always remember him for his mad movie-making skills.
 




Dec.1, 2014
studio

We like to send cards to our friends and customers and it was all hands on deck last week as we worked on signing cards. For this year's exclusive Egg Press card we brought a little elf back from the depths of the archives and gave him a quirky new mint green color and a festive message. Working on Christmas cards as a group really makes it fun, especially when there are treats on hand, and thanks to Adi who carries a wireless speaker in her car, we even had Christmas carols. Are you getting into the spirit?

 

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