A custom deck inspired by the Eames House of Cards

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


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.

Staff Christmas Card Writing Party

Dec.1, 2014
categories: 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?


Meet Koop!

Dec.5, 2014
categories: 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.

Japanese Paper Box-Making Workshop with Keiko and Shuhei of Box & Needle

Jan.12, 2015
categories: 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!

Egg Press People: Hello Carla!

Jun.13, 2014
categories: Friends, Get to know, studio

Name…Carla Peters
What do you do at Egg Press...Customer service
Favorite Egg Press card…I love that proceeds from our three Best Couple cards will be donated to marriage equality agencies. So Happy Smiles is pretty dang cute, though.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? When I was really little, I thought the best gig in town had to be driving the ice cream truck. Runner up? Dentist.

Favorite color: Blue

Signature dish: Roasted chicken with sweet potatoes, onions and carrots.
Favorite artist/s:  Portlander Suzanne Elizabeth makes gorgeous paintings. She elevates ordinary scenes into sublime ones. I've also always loved paintings by Mary Cassatt. I think they're peaceful. There is an etching by Degas of Cassatt looking at Etruscan art and I like to think about that drawing. Art by an artist of an artist contemplating art.  

Favorite thing about Portland is: It is the biggest small town. Everybody knows everybody.
Last good book you read: Last good book? As opposed to favorite? I recently read Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude From the First Ten Years of Story Corps by David Isay. People have a lot to say when given the right forum.

Few people know that you…: I came this close >< to being a game show contestant.

What’s your favorite place on earth?: I haven't seen enough of the earth to know that. But I do love redwood forests.

Favorite thing to listen to when you’re working:TED talks.

Favorite names: Being a mom means that I've been able to affix my favorite names to real people. Samuel and Nina are not getting any more siblings, but I think Zinnia would be lovely for their imaginary sister. Maybe one day I will name pets Cypress and Hemlock after the residence halls of my alma mater where I lived with my sweetheart.



Nov.25, 2013

We took a field trip to our local Cole Haan store over the weekend to see their new holiday offerings. The store looked amazing, the staff was lovely and there were many drool-worthy new bags and boots that had us rethinking our gift lists. This year for the holidays they've introduced Cole Haan & Friends, a grouping of products complementary to their line from like-minded companies. ….and (drum roll please…) we are thrilled to be included! Our set of exclusive cards for Cole Haan & Friends is both letterpress printed and foil stamped in our NW Portland studio. See the full offerings here, and the boxed set of greetings we designed for Cole Haan here.

P.s. We love this illustration of Tess by Lauren Tamaki for Cole Haan & Friends

Hello Christa!

Nov.18, 2013
categories: Friends, Get to know, studio

Happy Monday! We continue our get-to–know Egg Press series today by showcasing another talented printer, Christa Hand! Christa has been part of the Egg Press crew for the last 2+ years, and is a force in the printroom printing much of our custom work --weddings, business collateral and special projects. As is the case with many Egg Pressers, Christa has her own creative pursuits, designing and making work outside of our studio. Though she doesn't have a website at present, we've included a detail of one of her screen printed posters below.

Name: Christa Hand
Hometown: Lake Arrowhead, California
What you do at Egg Press: Letterpress Printer
Favorite Egg Press Card: There's a New Year's card from a while back I really love: 2829

*What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be an explorer. I lived in the mountains and used to roam the woods my whole childhood. I just liked the idea of being the one to discover new places no one had ever been.

*How do you imagine your old age?
I imagine telling lots of stories, surrounding myself with the people I love, and hopefully still spending time creating in whatever way that I can.

*Signature dish?
Chocolate chip cookies. Not a dish, but should be.

*Favorite thing about Portland is...
I love the encouragement and the freedom there seems to be here to go after whatever you love to do. There is so much youthful energy and passion and idealism in Portland that is truly inspiring to me. There is a real community feeling here, even though Portland is still a fairly large city. There isn't that cutthroat edge to people that you can get in other bigger cities. I think Portlanders are generally incredibly supportive and friendly.

*Last good book you read...
"Here, There and Everywhere" written by Geoff Emerick who was the engineer that recorded almost every Beatles record. I usually don't go for non-fiction reads, but this was so well written and really fascinating.

*Favorite color?
Probably sea foam green at the moment. Or maybe a rusty orange.

*Favorite item of clothing?
I love coats.

*What's your home like?
Crazy. I live with three other people in a house on one of the main streets in Portland, so there's always something going on. People having parties, cooking, baking, singing, dancing, talking or just hanging out. Luckily we all get along really well, so its actually a great situation, and its just a fun time of life to live in a big community of friends.

*What inspires you most?
People, music, art, nature... When you see or hear something that you can get completely lost in.

*Favorite holiday?
I'm a total sucker for Christmas. I love it.

*Best gift you ever received?
My dad's record collection.

Japan, we love you!

Oct.24, 2013
categories: Inspiration, studio, travel

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.

The Heidelberg Hack

Sep.25, 2013
categories: studio

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!

Emily's Baby Shower

Jul.18, 2013
categories: Friends, holidays, studio

Yesterday at Egg Press we had an ice cream social party for Emily who is expecting twins. It was a book shower. We've done this before for other Egg Press expecting moms – we find it to be a great gender non-specific theme for a shower. And because books come in all price points (or can be hand-made) it's also affordable for everyone.

We were surprised that though there were 19 of us, there was only one duplicate book. Good thing Emily and Ben are expecting twins! There were board books, designy books, classics, as well as one or two aimed more for Mom and Dad. We had ice cream with fixin's, and root beer and orange soda for floats. The flowers were by Anna Mara. Two stand out wrapping jobs were from Jon (see the card he personalized) and Sarah who hand lettered Emily's name on the package.

It was a nice break from the heat, and lots of fun to sit around and look at new books, find inspiration, and reminisce about old favorites.

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