Our second trip to Tokyo was a blast! Our official mission was to exhibit at the Tokyo International Gift Show. We shared a booth with other Oregon based companies; one specializing in essential oils, the other in natural fragrant room sprays. Between the two we were smelling lovely all trip long! Our off-booth hours were spent exploring ramen joints in building basements, jogging around the Imperial Palace (where the Emperor actually lives!), walking around Ginza, gathering inspiration in Daikanyama shops, drinking Whiskey in Shimbashi and scouring the 100 yen stores for studio gifts. Not a moment was wasted and yet we barely scratched the surface! Sayonara for now, Tokyo. We hope to see you again next year.
This week we’re excited to introduce you to Aaron, an Egg Press veteran with mad skills in printing, teaching and design.
Have a peek at Aaron's personal work: aaronrobertmiller.com
Name: Aaron Robert Miller
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
What do you do at Egg Press: letterpress printer, screen printer, and production design.
Favorite Egg Press card: currently #1238 “you’re a good catch” valentine
Do you or have you ever had a nickname?
Not so much, I had one really insane coworker years back call me Hank, as in Hank Aaron I assume. He would yell it a bit too loud every time I came in the room. Ugh.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Well, when I was young I thought I wanted to play basketball. But I am pretty sure the main reason was the uniforms. I had a Patrick Ewing jersey that I would wear when playing and I always wore at least one knee brace, even though I didn’t need to... I thought those knee braces were SO cool.
How do you imagine your old age?
I imagine it being very similar to now, but I hopefully I have a little more free time.
What’s your favorite place on earth?
depends on who I’m cooking for.
Have you been told you look like someone famous?
There was a small window when people told me I looked like Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots. But it was when he was in Velvet Revolver and doing lots of drugs and yoga so I’m not sure if that’s anything to be proud of.
Favorite thing about Portland is…
There are many reasons to love Portland. But Id’ say my favorite thing is the people. Every time I travel, I realize just how nice and supportive people are here in Portland. I just feel really comfortable here, and it really comes down to the way people interact with each other.
Last good book you read…
I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow by Jonathan Goldstein. Mostly about his struggles with turning 40, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, cannot recommend it enough.
Few people know that you…
I am an excellent jumper.
changes often, currently lighter blues.
Favorite thing to listen to when you’re working…
We listen to a pretty diverse mess of music here at Egg, I prefer music that cuts through the sound of the press, loud music that grabs ahold and makes you forget what you are doing momentarily. At home I usually listen to podcasts or comedy while working.
Favorite Halloween costume…
I few years back I played a Halloween show with my band and we decided to dress as the classic universal monsters… I went as The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I screen-printed and sewed the mask… epic costume and a really fun show!
What’s your home like?
it’s very new to us… we bought our first home seven months ago. It’s a great mid century house in a very pleasant neighborhood with a big yard for the dog. It’s been a learning process, and is going to take a few years to figure everything out. Lots of time working in the yard over the summer and now that the weather is changing we are spending more time inside using our fireplace, cooking, and working on various indoor projects.
What inspires you most?
People, art, nature, books, film... Inspiration comes from all around me for sure. I use my own life and the people around me for inspiration. Work, making music, spending time with friends and family grounds me and clears my mind for projects.
What kind of work routines do you have?
my work routine revolves around and includes my life. I have things I have to do everyday, printing at Egg Press, band practice, spending time with Cassie, walking the dog, cooking, eating, etc. And then there are things that get scheduled in, playing shows, camping, friends, family, etc. All of these things contribute to my overall work routine.
When I start a project I usually just wait for inspiration, I don’t like pushing towards a direction, I like to let it come to me. I make small moves with notes in a notebook or sketches on scraps of paper but the best work I have done just kind of happens when I least expect it. The key for me is to just keep moving and doing the things I love and it will happen.
How was your summer?
Portland summers are awesome… long days, great weather and everyone ready to tackle it as soon as the sun starts shining. I spent the summer getting to know our new home, and trying to complete as many projects as possible. I am also playing in two new bands, guitar and vocals in one and learning to play drums in the other.
One highlight of summer is always the Pendleton Rock Camp, and this year was no exception. This was my seventh year teaching at the camp and it was a truly excellent year. Through workshops, classes, demonstrations and our example, the kids learn all about music and playing in bands together. Along with teaching music-based classes, I taught a poster making class that produced some great designs, a band-naming workshop that including an adorably oblivious group of kids that named their band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I designed the camp tee shirt this year! All and all a great camp and fantastic summer.
*to read more about Pendleton Rock Camp check out last year’s re-cap here
We are shiny, happy people here now that we have foil, beautiful foil! So many possibilities and just in time for making some sparkly custom holiday cards, among other things.
Our lead printer Tom Sprenkle explains how one of our trusty Heidelberg presses was converted...
Soon after moving into the Schoolhouse Electric building we acquired our second Heidelberg windmill press, which happened to come with most of a hot foil stamping attachment. But there were some missing parts and we never got around to using it in that way. We started using the press quite a bit for printing and eventually removed the foil assembly. Then we got another press and, as we had already used up all our existing electrical circuits, had repurpose the outlet we had set up for the heat unit.
A couple of years down the road and another windmill in our shop, it was time to get our foil up and running. Kevin, our electrician, updated our electrical situation by adding a completely new electrical feed and breaker box, and wired a new outlet for the foil heating unit. Meanwhile, we put in a call to Bob Basel (Portland's original letterpresser, and our go-to guy for parts, presses, and all manner of printing advice) who looked into some different options and found the necessary parts to complete the foil feed spool, put them together in his shop and then attached them to the press. We loaded it up with a sample roll of iridescent rainbow foil and tried it out. For the most part it went well but it turned out that the maximum foil pull was about 2.5 inches, which was far to little for the various cards cards we needed to print.
We increased the size of the pulley but it was still not nearly enough, and made us realize that some math might come in handy. With the help of Ben Shultz (printer Katie's husband & local bike builder/espresso machine technician) we figured out the size ratio of the pulleys and also, due to the closeness of the pulleys and angle of the belt, figured that gears might work better. Here we go!
Minor setback as the heated base was too small for the size of our foil dies, but Bob quickly found a new base in an old shop in Dundee (how does he keep track of all this stuff?). We're in business! Just in time for restocking all the Hello!Lucky foil cards as well as our special edition slang fancy cards for Cole Haan!
Did you get something beautiful and inspiring in the mail this weekend? My brand-spanking new Schoolhouse Electric catalog arrived just in time for the autumnal equinox which suddenly has me in a cooking and cozying mood. The styling and merchandising is top-notch and my wishlist is long. We are so honored to have several Egg Press for Schoolhouse Electric styles included.
Shown above are the the wool Herringbone Rug (also in black), the hand silk-screened linen Egg Press Arrow Napkins (also in grey), the Dot Print Sheet Set (in grey or yellow), and the Anchor Tray which is made in Sweden out of birchwood and is dishwasher safe. Cool!
Egg Presser Emily is known around here as a DIY dynamo and we are so excited about her latest creative endeavor--a collection of embroidery kits she made for Williams-Sonoma's Agrarian. Read on for a little interview...
*Tell us about the new project you did for Williams-Sonoma. How did it come about?
I've been designing and making embroidery kits since 2009, under my business Tako Fibers. I basically have two full time jobs - working at Egg Press and making my kits! This past December I had the pleasure of being a vendor at Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. In addition to the show being incredibly busy and a wonderful experience, I met many amazing people. One of those people bought several of my kits, and they turned out to be from Williams-Sonoma! They were starting a new craft program, and wanted to work with me to make custom kits. The kits were designed for Agrarian, which is their line that focuses on the homegrown and homemade movement. We worked on the custom design and test embroidery for several months, and then I set to work producing the actual kits. It was a challenge, but also very fun to do such a large project!
*When did you learn embroidery?
I had been collecting vintage crewel pieces from thrift stores for years, and decided that I wanted to make some of my own. I learned the stitches from several books, and made several embroidery pieces with my own artwork. It was all very casual, until I realized that there were not very many good kits out there for other people to learn! I became really serious about embroidery when I started making my kits in 2009.
*What other crafty things do you get up to?
So many things that I have put limits on myself! Besides embroidery, I am constantly knitting, I like to sew my own clothes, and I love making pickles and jam. I make a lot of artwork also - my first love is printmaking, but I also do quite a bit of drawing and painting with acrylics and watercolors. I really do not have time to do all these things, so I decided that I am not allowed to get into quilting under any circumstances, even though I want to. If you see me working on a quilt, stop me!
*You're expecting twins soon. Any special baby projects you are working on?
Between finishing up the Williams-Sonoma project, getting our apartment ready, and freaking out that I don't have enough meals frozen yet, I haven't been able to get as many projects done as I'd like! But I am currently working on knitting two Little Coffee Bean sweaters and several pairs of Magic Slippers, and sewing two Maggie Rabbits for my girls! We'll see if I finish them before they arrive... :)