Posts in Studio
We've Moved! (Plus, the Fisherman's Terminal Fall Festival)
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Here it is, the long awaited update. (You've been long-awaiting, right?) We've moved! Sometimes when the right pieces fall into place, progress happens suddenly. It's been that kind of year this year, and the good changes just keep coming.

We've been talking about a storefront space for some time. It's a big step, and one we've been excited to pursue. But it had to be the right space, for the right price. We'd been looking and looking in Pioneer Square and not finding the right thing. Then one night we went to dinner with my parents near our house, and found the perfect place. It's a storefront space with lots of foot traffic, in our price range, and it was available right away. Those are the grown-up, reasonable reasons for it being the perfect place. Here are the irrational, emotional reasons that make it feel like a huge gift to just me:

This new space cuts my commute from 1-2 hours each day to under 10 minutes. I've been struggling with my time in the car for quite awhile, and this is a huge relief. The new space is in the Fisherman's Terminal, which means I get to spend my time right next to the water. I get to eat my lunch on a bench while looking at boats. If I'm overwhelmed, I get to walk out on a dock and listen to the water hitting the side of a wooden boat. I grew up next to the water on a beautiful canal. My dad and I spent countless weekend afternoons out on the harbor in our canoe. They are sweet, comforting memories. Part of why we picked Seattle is because of its proximity to the water. I need water to live. I need to see it, feel it, smell it. I love being this close to it every day. This new space also has a spiral staircase. The little girl inside of my squeals every time I walk up those stairs. I've got a deep, absurd love for spiral staircases, and this one is all mine. 

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Okay. So we found the space, called the number on the sign on September 2nd, and were moved in and open by October 4th. We do these things, and sometimes I don't realize how crazy they are until they're done. September was nuts. We found the space, moved our studio, AND Brad and I have been going through the adoption process - all at once. It reminds me of the time we graduated from college, planned a wedding and moved cross-country all at once. Sometimes the best times are the ones you shake your head at later. Moving letterpress equipment is terrible, with or without advance notice. But it's done, everyone (presses and people) are here safely, and we're open for business!

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We got moved in and set up quickly, because October 4th was the annual Fisherman's Fall Festival at the Fisherman's Terminal. It's the biggest day of the year around here, and we knew it was an important day not to miss! We hustled, and opened our doors to the public for the first time on Saturday. The event was incredible. Thousands of people came out to eat seafood, enjoy live music, and do free activities with their kids. We got to meet many of the neighbors, and had a really wonderful day.

Please note the tiny Wolverine in the bottom left of this photo. I just noticed him, and it's my new favorite thing.

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Model ships!

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Expert knot tying!

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This tortoise!

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If you missed it, put the Fisherman's Fall Festival on your calendar for next year. You seriously missed out. Needless to say, we are exhausted and happy and in need of a week-long massage. I'm getting over a poorly timed cold. But the shop is open (11am - 6pm, Monday - Saturday at 1900 West Nickerson Street, Suite 101, Seattle), the leaves are changing, Brad and I are adopting, and life is good. More updates to come soon.

Constellation Collections: Miniatures
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Slowly but surely over the last year, we've been collecting miniatures. It wasn't our intention to collect miniatures, but every time we see one, we kind of can't resist.

This old Pepsi crate is the perfect curio cabinet for our army of smalls! And now that there's a designated place in the studio for them, there's an excuse to pick up more when we see them! I don't know what it is... they just make me giggle!

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A tiny mailbox, an itty bitty oil can... a duo of bitsy typewriters...

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A shrimpy rubber chicken, a 'lil boot, impossibly small dice, diminutive bottles, a teeny dog...

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A pint-sized ball of twine, a minuscule bible...

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They're all just two darn cute.

Newbies Around the Shop
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We've added some new "friends" to the shop recently, and are excited to show them off!

Jules of Stern & Faye recently sold the print farm and held an estate sale to share the pieces that wouldn't fit in her new studio with the letterpress community. While it was really sad to be visiting the farm for the last time, we were also really excited to buy a full cabinet of beautiful type and a slant-top work surface (among other goodies). You really can't beat a letterpress estate sale!

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We're been busy reorganizing the shop and babying our new type, but we're working on a full catalog of print samples to show you - check back in for updates!

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We recently drove by Alafair Antique & Estate Co. in SODO (always a fun spot to drop by on the way to the paper store) and picked up this charming metal cabinet for our print shop tools. It was another bittersweet purchase - Alafair has lost their lease, and will be closing soon. If you haven't ever stopped by their unique store, now's the time. Everything is 40-50% off!

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The cabinet was originally dark brown (as you can see inside the door), but was painted a pastel pink at some point in its life. It's grimy and chipped, so it needs some love - but I can't decide whether or not to keep the pink. The knobs and tapered legs are so sweet and feminine, the pink kind of works. I'm a sucker for anything with wheels - you can use it anywhere!

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While in Port Townsend for our anniversary trip, one of the little boutiques was selling some of their fixtures. We were really excited when we saw this quirky shelf for $15! It's perfect for our craft show display. It's a little bit shaky at the moment, but with some tweaking and paint, it will be ready to go! We'll be debuting it soon for the holiday show circuit! (Be prepared for a fun before & after reveal!)

Studio Before & After
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As I was organizing files this week (a long overdue task), I stumbled upon the photos we took of our studio at 110 Cherry before we moved in.

I love a good before and after, and it doesn't get much worse than the mustard walls, black ceilings, and blue accents of this "before."

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We're in the Seattle Times!
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We were so excited to zip down to our local bookstore and pick up Sunday's paper - because look, it's us!

(Well, it's our logo, Josephine the printing machine, and Sara...sweeping.) The Seattle Times has been in touch with us and our studio mates since before the big move, and it's great to see the story finally come out. If you missed the ink and newsprint version, you can read the article online here. There are also several more photos and an audio clip here.

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We weren't sure exactly what the article would be about, but were pleasantly surprised by the content when we finally got to read it. A few quotes and thoughts:

"Despite or maybe because of its shabby condition, the 619 offered affordable work space for artists both starving and successful in the bustling center of town, cheap parking and a loading dock for art projects."

619 was exactly what we needed when starting our business. For us (and for so many artists), 619 was the only option we could afford starting out. Sure, it scared our friends and family (which everyone admitted after we moved), but it was our little slice of Seattle. It was a foothold that allowed us to grow our business. We scrubbed and painted and decorated and made it ours. It was special.

It was a lot of work and a leap of faith to find a new place, make moving arrangements, get things moved, settled, and reestablished. We lost months of client work in the shuffle, which could have been devastating without the help of the DOT. But we did have their help, and they have our gratitude.

"(Jane) Richlovsky used her (reestablishment) check to set up shop in a historic building nearby at First Avenue and Cherry Street. She renovated an entire floor's worth of commercial spaces in a project known as the '57 Biscayne artist studios. About a dozen of her former neighbors from 619 Western have since followed.

Have I told you lately that Jane is awesome? Our new space in '57 Biscayne is amazing, and she's the one to blame. It's really wonderful to see Jane's hard work and selfless service to our little community shown to city at large. Nothing about the '57 Biscayne project was easy - but Jane tackled each challenge with skill and poise. We are very thankful for her, and for the opportunity to be a part of the community at '57 Biscayne.

"In Seattle, artists have to be developers, landlords and mom-and-pop entrepreneurs, marrying a right-brain sense of creative possibility with a left-brain business savvy that's more common in an MBA."...It might seem nuts to think that an artist, the very definition of unconventional living, may want what bankers, engineers, teachers and corner grocers do, that they might measure their success with benchmarks embraced by the 9-to-5 cubicle crowd. But it's not such a stretch. Serious artists struggle to find a place to work, earn a living from what they do and manage their money like everybody else. In fact, they are small businesspeople, and many, like Richlovsky, believe it's crucial for artists to establish themselves in the same way that other professionals do."

This idea of small business in the arts was on our minds a lot when it came time to move. "Where do we fit?" was a question often asked. We didn't want a storefront, were too messy for an office building, and considered "too much of a business" for certain arts buildings. At '57 Biscayne, we fit right in. We're all "small business artists," making a living doing what we love. It's a great place to be.

Our craft is archaic and often inefficient, but we've chosen to build our business around letterpress. It's not just another job, but an art form that allows us to work closely with the people of our city at integral parts of their life. We're part of weddings, announcing new babies, and branding new businesses. We're in local shops, sharing the visual arts via ephemeral cards and gifts. We chose Seattle. We live here, work here, and aren't going anywhere. We've only been in Seattle for 3 years, but this city is our home. We'll raise our kids here. And our business couldn't exist anywhere else - it's so inspired and supported by Seattle, I wouldn't dare try to move it. (Plus, we physically weigh a lot in cast iron.)

Okay, okay. Time to wrap up. But first, some sappiness: it's really exciting to be in the paper in the city we love. Once upon a time I stared at a glossy poster of the Seattle skyline, hoping for a chance to live here. A picture in the paper may not be a big deal (but come on, i'm a Newsies girl...King of New York, anyone?), but today I just feel honored to be an artist and business owner here in this city. It's an honor, Seattle. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

(Oh, and just in case anyone had the impression that what we do is glamorous, that photo seals the deal. It's a dirty job. See Sara sweep! Sweep, Sara, sweep!)

A Funny Story & Unexpected Gift
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Last week, we were given a type cabinet.

Now, I've been looking for a type cabinet to purchase for some time - and they don't come up particularly often. When they do, they tend to be one of two things: 1) in terrible shape - filthy, broken, missing parts, etc. or 2) ungodly expensive. Until last week, we'd pretty much resigned ourselves to a shop without a type cabinet and a workflow of setting type in an unorthodox and inconvenient manner.

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But last week, a gentleman who had attended our 57 Biscayne grand opening gave Jane (our lovely landlady) a call. He'd been driving that day and spotted a lady wheeling a type cabinet out to the curb. He remembered us, and called Jane. The lady had this type cabinet in her home (it had been there for several owners, apparently), and was concerned about being around an object that had once contained lead. She was convinced that being in the same room with the type cabinet made her feel ill. Her solution? Wheel it out to the curb. I'd love to see the garbage men try to throw that hunk of steel in the back of their truck. (NO WAIT, I wouldn't love to see that!)

Sidebar: Lead isn't good for you. I concede that fact. But unless she was licking the interior of the case or using it to store food, there's no chance it could have affected her. However, I'm okay with it, because now this lovely type cabinet lives with us and holds type again! But seriously, don't eat lead. Because it will make you go crazy/kill you.

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This wonderful gentleman loaded up the type cabinet into his truck and delivered it to us. We all lugged it up the stairs (darn you stairs!), and later rearranged the studio to give it a place. Since then, I've been enjoying organizing our type in the traditional California Job Case system, and i've been inspired to start setting type again. It just blows my mind that the "letterpress fates" had this great gift for us. It was a really tough week (feeling very overwhelmed, getting behind, and spilling things on my desk), and I really appreciated this unexpected gift.

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Jenny came in last week (her last day!) to take these photos of another new configuration of our space. Jenny and her husband Mike headed out on Saturday to live in Portugal for a few months. It's a bittersweet goodbye for sure. Jenny has been such a huge help to us, and will be sorely missed! I am so thankful to call her my friend. Jenny will be writing and sharing photos of her time in Portugal on her personal blog. You should definitely check it out. And also take a look at an adorable photo shoot Jenny & Mike did with Karen K. Wang Photography. They are too cute. Good luck friends, and come back soon!

New Furniture, New Config
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We recently picked up a (very heavy) new piece of studio furniture on Craigslist. We'd been looking for an additional storage solution (flat files, type cases, etc.), but our budget wasn't lining up with what was available. But then (ta da!) this beautiful galley rack came up, and we snatched it up and brought it to its new home.

We took the new addition as an opportunity to re-think the work flow in our studio, and reconfigure the way everything fit together. I'm glad we did, because the new configuration is a big improvement! I trip on things less, and have more space to lay out in-progress work.

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We also took the opportunity to organize, categorize and catalog of our collection of type and printer's blocks. We've taken a proof of each item, and will soon have a full catalog of vintage imagery to share with our clients!

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The lovely and talented Jenny took these photos of the galley rack/studio config today, and captured some studio still life's as well.

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I love seeing the way other people look at the studio. Some of the still life's to be found here are intentional (I like to organize things until they are the most pleasing to my eye), but many of them are the product of the work. Jenny always does a great job at finding the unintentional kind. For example: tools left in the place I last used them...

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New-to-us items left out until we find a place to put them or a use for them...

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There's something really comforting about all the repetition in the shop. Furniture, reglet, galleys... they are organized and in line. Tried and true. Always in their place. Well...most of the time.

Grand Opening!
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Today I'm excited to bring you photos and info about the Grand Opening we had a few weeks ago! Our amazing intern Jenny took all of the photos and wrote the following post. Enjoy!

Jenny the intern here. A few weeks ago the '57 Biscayne residents opened their doors to the public for the first time. It was quite the party, with lots of wine, cheese, friends, and Carmelita (our landlady and fellow studio-mate's dog).

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While guests were checking out the studio, Sara was multitasking like a boss, answering everyone's questions about Constellation & Co. and printing special keepsakes for them to take home. She had multiple presses running, printing two different colors on each chipboard keepsake.

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We were also selling some limited edition posters, which were reprints of our Northwest-themed posters on vintage maps of Washington. They're incredibly beautiful and we still have a few left if you're interested.

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Since I'm only in the studio once or twice a week, it's rare for me to run into the other '57 Biscayne artists. The Open House was a real treat for me to get to meet and talk to our studio neighbors. There are painters, jewelry makers, print makers, photographers, videographers, and book designers. If you're ever in the neighborhood, drop in and have yourself a little look-see. For now, more photos from the Open House:

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...and last but not least, Sara "perched atop her old favorite girl." (in reference to this photo, taken at the old studio.)

If you want to hear more from me (Jenny), you can check out the blog I've been updating throughout my internship here.

And if you missed the Grand Opening, don't despair! '57 Biscayne will be open to the public tonight (December 1st) and Sunday (December 4th) for a Holiday Open House! For more information, visit '57 Biscayne online.

Everything needs a sweater.
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Now that our office and print shop have been united in our new studio, I've been making a pot of french press coffee every morning when I get in. Since I drink coffee super slow, the pot tends to get cold. (There's a microwave down the hall, but one gets tired of going back and forth.) The solution to this age old problem? A french press sweater.

I'm especially excited about this project, because I made my own pattern! I took the basic shape from this tutorial by Design*Sponge and mixed it with this cable knit hat pattern. I've been knitting for a long time (very basic things like scarves), but I've only recently begun tackling projects with purling and patterns. It's been a really fun challenge. It's like I know another language now! K2, P2!

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There's something undeniably soothing about knitting. It keeps my hands busy, but allows my mind to rest. We're swamped at work right now, finishing up client projects and getting things ready for our grand opening and the Urban Craft Uprising winter show. But when I'm knitting, I'm cozy - snuggled up with yarn in my hands. It's a nice feeling.

We've got a great studio for knitting. After lunch, the afternoon sun comes around a building and in through our big window. Last weekend, we picked up a chair for the studio - which (as it turns out) is the perfect cozy chair for knitting. I see many afternoon knitting breaks in my future. Because, you know, everything needs a sweater. (Even this dog, Carmelita. Her "mom" is our studio neighbor, and Carmelita likes to come visit.)

For my fellow knitters, here's the pattern I created. I used size 6, 4.0 mm needles, with Lion Brand Jiffy yarn in "Fisherman."

Cast on 66 stitches K2, P2 rib for 6 rows

Start pattern, repeat 4 times: Rows 1-4) P2, K6, P2, K1 (repeat to end of row) Row 5) P2, slip 3 to cable needle, K3 from cable needle, P2, K1 (repeat to end of row) Rows 6-8) same as Rows 1-4

K2, P2 rib for 6 rows Bind off. Use yarn tails to make top & bottom button loops, attach 3rd button loop in the middle with extra yarn. Attach 3 buttons in coordinating spots on the opposite side.

Photos by Jenny Linquist. Visit her internship blog and her photography facebook for more!

Let There Be Shelves!
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We've been hard at work these past few weeks, doing projects to make our new studio home. And we've finally got some photos for you!

This is the wall between the office and the print shop in our new space. We decided to take advantage of the divided wall space, and build these two shelving units. We really wanted something that would be a "statement piece," and fit in with all the cast iron and wood that come with the territory of a print shop. We'd previously searched for pre-made shelves or storage solutions, but nothing seemed to fit.

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We found a tutorial for a similar shelving piece, and loved the vintage/industrial feel. And so, we launched an epic DIY weekend (that became a week), and forged through blood, sweat, and tears to build these lovelies. We're by no means experts when it comes to carpentry type projects - and this was a big stretch for us. But we're really happy with how they came out.

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The initial intention for the shelves was "all storage all the time," but we've been having fun with them instead - lovingly arranging and displaying our favorite things. Their purpose may morph over time (as we have more things to store), but that's the great thing about shelves - they can be whatever you need.

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We built our shelving units based on a tutorial by The Brick House. Ours are quite different in size and configuration, so they took some improvisation along the way. The biggest difference is in how the boards are attached. The tutorial suggested drilling holes in the boards for the pipes to go through. The boards that were available to us weren't quite deep enough for that to take place. Instead, we flipped the "spigot" part of the pipes downward, placed the boards on top, and used pipe straps to connect the pipes to the underside of the boards. (You can see this in the photo above.)

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All supplies  for the project were purchased from our local Home Depot store (which we visited approx. 100,000 times during this project). Wood: Pine boards stained with Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut (For more info about the staining process, check out Jenny's blog post.) Pipes: Galvanized plumbing pipes spray painted flat black

Photos by our wonderful Fall intern, Jenny Linquist. Visit her internship blog and her photography facebook for more photo magic.

Working Hard or Hardly Working
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In many ways we've been working much much harder than usual (late nights, long days, lots of manual labor): hence, the working hard. But in the midst of that, we haven't been doing the work we typically do: hence, the hardly working.

Soon the new studio will be in order and we'll be back to printing - but for now, here's an update on what we've been doing in the meantime.

We picked up two new-to-us desks for the studio. The first desk, for me, is a lovely warm desk with lots of drawers and just enough of a decorative feel. The second desk (for Brad/interns/friends/freelancers, etc.) is a Singer sewing table that's been turned into a desk. It's got cast iron legs, 3 drawers, and a whole lot of character. We found both desks Antique Liquidators in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Antique Liquidators has 3 floors of amazing antique furniture - and their prices are insane. We found two desks we LOVE for about the same prices as we've been seeing on Craigslist, at estate sales, etc. And they're in pristine condition. I really love this store. They even deliver. It's definitely worth a trip.

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We've also been working on several DIY projects this week to get the studio ready to roll.

One of our biggest needs in the new studio (and any studio, really) is storage. We've searched and searched, and most of the available options (in our price range) are unattractive or just not appropriate for a print shop. We need something sturdy, unfussy, and something that goes well with the feeling of our equipment and work. Brad stumbled upon this blog post & tutorial by The Brick House, and fell in love with their DIY plumbing pipe shelf. It's industrial and structural, yet vintage-y and poetic. So, we've embarked on our own shelving project. All the materials have been purchased, the wood stained, and we're nearly ready to build it. More photos and info to come.

The black trim in our new studio (windows, baseboards, doors, etc.) is so lovely and classic - we noticed right away that several of our light colored pieces looked pale and dull next to it. A few cans of spray paint later, some of our least attractive furniture pieces (estate sale finds, etc.) are now bold and black and lovely as well.

For more on what we've got planned and what's the come for our new studio, check out our Studio Inspiration board on Pinterest.

Logistics
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Well friends, it's the last week of September, and our last week at 619 Western. It's going to be a crazy one, so there will be some "radio silence" on the blog.

Here's what we've got going on: We spent our Sunday scrubbing and preparing the floors of the new studio. Monday & Tuesday evenings will be stain & clear coat.

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We'll spend part of our week doing final packing and start moving our boxes over on Wednesday & Thursday. The professional movers will move the press & deliver our new paper cutter on Friday.

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This week we'll also be reprinting two products and shipping several hundred packages out to the shoppers of our Fab sale. Needless to say, this week will be busy, manic, and completely chaotic. BUT after this week, we'll finally be settling in. We're so ready to move and make the new studio home - and get back to business!

New Studio Location
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Constellation & Co. has officially found a new home! We will soon be moving with several other 619 Building artists to another historic building in Pioneer Square.

Our new studio will be located on the 2nd floor of 110 Cherry Street, on the corner of 1st and Cherry. The new floor of studio spaces will be named "57 Biscayne," a clever and timely nod to a line of Joni Mitchell song lyrics. 57 Biscayne also has available studio spaces, if you're looking. Join us!

[Photo from an article on the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerence]

110 Cherry is an ornate brick building, built in the wave of new construction after the 1889 Seattle fire. I'm having trouble finding historical information on the building - but be assured, we'll hunt it down! We're looking forward to bringing our presses to their new home, and creating lots of fun historic prints together. (We're also looking forward to lots of DIY interior decorating projects, which you can look forward to seeing here on the blog.)

New Studio Inspiration
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With all the 619 hullabaloo, we've been excited to put it behind us and start planning for the new studio.

We've found the space (details coming soon, I promise!), and we'll be moving sometime before October 1st (as soon as the new space is ready). We've got a plan brewing for the new studio that takes into account the style of the building, the additional space (Yes, it's going to be bigger!), and our aesthetic desires. We love our current studio and had so much fun designing the space, painting, decorating, etc. - but we're even more excited to take what we learned on that "project" and improve upon it. Here's some of the photos we've been gathering on Pinterest for inspiration.

[DIY Built-in Shelving from The Brick House, Metal Truss Work Table from West Elm, Architect's Boom Sconce from Restoration Hardware]

Henry Ford’s Design Studio for the Model T  - This is such a gorgeous space!

Henry Ford’s Design Studio for the Model T - This is such a gorgeous space!

Mechanic's Beacon Light from  Anthropologie , Bookshelf Made From Antique Apple Crates found on  Pinterest

Mechanic's Beacon Light from Anthropologie, Bookshelf Made From Antique Apple Crates found on Pinterest