Posts tagged Interview
Interview: Emily, Spring 2013 Intern
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Today is an interview with someone who I consider a "kindred spirit." She was so much fun to have in the studio!

By the way, I swear i'm not bribing these people to say nice things. It's been unexpected and wonderful to hear how much our interns have enjoyed their experiences! This is by far our longest and most thorough interview yet, and I love it because it perfectly encapsulates Emily's personality. I know you'll love her! Here she is, Spring 2013 intern Emily Scott!

Q: What was interning for Constellation like? How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
I absolutely loved interning for Constellation. I not only got to be a part of all sorts of cool projects, but I also learned a ton about the letterpress process: how to mix color, how to set and put away type, how to foil stamp, how to clean the press, the list goes on and on. In addition to getting a chance to work both Josephine and Wendy (don't worry those aren't people) I got to be a part of the design process. I loved getting to work on wedding projects, especially creating mood boards, because then I got to look at cute wedding things on Pinterest to find inspiration. Plus designing things for someone's wedding is just the best thing ever.

My favorite project that I got to be a part of was definitely We Make Seattle. I'm really proud of how everything came out. Sara, Dorothy (the other spring intern), and I got to work together to create some "swag" including a really awesome poster and set of coasters. This fall I went back into the studio a couple of times to help Sara print the posters on the iron handpress, and that was a lot of fun. FUN. That's what interning at Constellation was like...Absolute fun. Design/letterpress things aside, I got to sit in on a client meeting for We Make Seattle to talk about visual direction, and that was a really good experience.

I also got a first-hand look at how a small business like Constellation works - everything from bookkeeping, to working with clients, to understanding the importance of organization. There are so many things that go into running a small business that had never crossed my mind. It was nice to experience them rather than reading about it online or in a book. Designing specifically for letterpress has taught me the importance of simplicity. Successful typography and creative but simple illustrations can definitely take you a long way. Working with letterpress also taught me the importance of patience. There is quite a bit of adjusting that goes into the actual act of printing; you can't just click a button and expect it to come out perfectly. There will be flaws, the ink won't necessarily be even across the page, and there might be a smudge or line here and there, but all of those things add character to each printed piece. The further I move along in my career as a designer, the more I settle into my own style, and working at Constellation definitely helped push me forward in that direction.

Q: Tell us about your favorite part of the studio - the recycling bin.
Words cannot express how much I love that recycling bin. Let me lay it down for you. Ok. So. Sara creates really awesome things, right? (Everybody knows that so we'll just move on.) Well what do you think happens to all of the "oopsies!" the "just a little to the left's," or the "too much impression's" ? Since they are no longer sellable or client-worthy, they get put in the recycling bin, which is basically a danger zone for people like me. I walk into a paper store and can easily drop $30 on a couple pieces of paper (it sounds ridiculous, but if you saw the array of beautiful sheets at some of these places you would understand what I'm talking about). Anyways, I come in to the studio and casually glance at the bin a few times. I feel like Sara always knows I'm eyeing her trash, so sometimes I don't even have to ask to sift through it. Then the real fun begins. I have quite the collection of cards, partially-printed wedding invites, posters, the whole shabang - most of which are now decorating the walls of my room. Some of the scraps were just blank pieces of paper (small, but such great quality) that I use for things like writing encouraging notes to people or making little mini paintings. I'm such a romantic so anything with "The journey is sweeter with you by my side" or "I'm over the moon for you" or basically just any of the You/Me stuff automatically catches my eye. Also, anything with trees. Sara has done a few projects with tree illustrations, so finding one of those in the bin is always a treat. Probably one of my most favorite things from the bin is a map with "You are home to me" printed on it. I also picked up a couple sweet constellation journals. Neither of them were my star sign, but they were just too cool to pass up. I love to write and I've already filled one of them and am currently halfway through the other. In a nutshell. The recycling bin is the best.

Q: You're graduating soon from SPU, what is your next step?
A college Senior's least favorite question. Apart from hopefully finding a design job upon graduating I am currently hoping to go to grad school to get my Masters in Art Therapy. I'm currently working on applying to a handful of schools and hopefully at least one of them will work out. I studied Art Therapy for my Senior project in High School and spent ample time volunteering with kids during that time, so its kind of funny that after almost four years God has brought me back to Art Therapy and filled my heart with new vision and interest. I am passionate about both design and helping people to use art to communicate what words cannot, and to me it makes the most sense to pursue both. While I am both excited and expectant about what lies ahead, for now I'm just trying to live one day at a time.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
This one is easy. Marrakesh. Its a Moroccan restaurant in Belltown and they have THE best food. There also happens to be one in Portland, which is close to where I grew up. Before college, I celebrated most of my birthdays and other special occasions there. Its been my favorite restaurant for years, so naturally I was pretty stoked when I found out there was one in Seattle too. Eating at Marrakesh is about more than just the food too. Walk inside and you enter into a completely different world. You get to sit on pillows on the ground, listen to Moroccan music, eat with your hands, use a towel as a napkin, and help yourself to as much bread as you like. There's even a belly dancer! (sometimes scary; if you don't make eye contact she'll leave you alone). I'm not exactly sure who all is reading this, but if you ever feel like having the best food that you'll ever have in your entire life, here's what you should order: lentil soup, Salads Marrakesh (not your traditional salad... eat it with the bread they give you and your life will never be the same), B'Stilla Royale (its like a giant pastry filled with meat and other goodies), and then any of the Tangines. The Chicken with Apricots one is really good. And then get dessert. Because you get Moroccan mint tea poured from an incredible height and they also sprinkle rose water on your hands. On a side note, Toulouse Petit in Queen Anne has really good eggs benedict. I also just love food so if you ever want suggestions I'd be more than happy to provide guidance.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
This is a difficult question. Shop for what? If its groceries: Trader Joes. Paper: De Medici Ming Fine Paper (so dangerous) or Paper Source. Bath/body stuff: Lush. Clothes: if I'm feeling thrifty, Value Village or Buffalo Exchange. Most everything else, Urban OutfittersREI. That's a really good one. I die every time I go in there. (Not really I just love everything in there). And basically anywhere that sells combat boots and pattern pants. I also really like Target because they have everything and its relatively inexpensive.

Thanks Emily!

Interview: Samantha, Summer 2013 Intern
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It's interview time once again! Today's Q&A is with Samantha Grim, Summer 2013 intern and student at Cornish College of the Arts.

Sam has a great aptitude for sketching & drawing things out on paper. It was my absolute pleasure to show her a few tricks of the trade and see the personality of her drawings come through when brought into a digital format. She knocked it out of the park with the above illustration for a client wedding invite. To see all of the projects Samantha collaborated on while working with us, check out her internship blog.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a graphic designer?
I love incorporating art into everyday life, which is how I view a lot of design. I think that design is an opportunity to encourage creativity in the public, and I really enjoy seeing non designers respond to good design.

Q: What was interning for Constellation like?
My experience at Constellation was really inspiring. I had the opportunity to work with Sara, who owns her own business and gets to do what she loves all day. She really encouraged my illustration work and has helped inspire me to continue to work with more traditional media. I am now confident in exploring handwork in my designs, and had some great inspiration for my upcoming BFA show.

Q: How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
Letterpress taught me to get off my computer, and that working with my hands can really offer some great inspiration. It also taught me creative problem solving skills, sometimes you get some really unique problems in the printing process! I also have really come to love letterpress work, and am eager to use presses whenever possible!

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Q: What are your plans after school?
Ideally I would like to work in an environment where I can utilize my illustration and traditional media interests. If that opportunity doesn't present itself in time, I have really considered starting my own small freelance business or studio.

Q: What is your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
Downtown I love Delicatus. It's a sandwich place that I actually discovered through Sara! It's in pioneer square and has a great interior as well as delicious lunch/dinner items. I also frequent Hi-Life in Ballard. It's a refurbished fire house that has really good seasonal food, and a super fun atmosphere!

Q: What is your favorite place to shop in Seattle?
I love the Fremont area! It has a great Sunday market, if you've got time I recommend that. Within walking distance are some really extensive thrift shops, as well as some really unique bike shops. It's an easy area to just wander around and discover some great shops.

Thanks Sam!

Interview: E. Smith Mercantile
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I know I say this every time, but I'm really excited about this interview! I sent the lovely ladies of E. Smith Mercantile some questions, and Jessie Poole kindly responded. E. Smith really is my happy place.

(You may remember our trunk show in August.) Everything inside is perfectly curated, and they serve coffee in the daytime and cocktails at night in their back bar. I can't overstate how much I love this store and these ladies!

Q: What inspired you to open a retail shop in today's economy?
As a family business, we were very excited about the opportunity to create a space that allowed each of us an outlet for our many interests. We're also so lucky to be participating in a resurgence, if you will, of Pioneer Square business. It's important for us to create a community space and offer services for this great, historic piece of Seattle.

Q: You're a family business through and through. What is it like, working so closely with family?
We've always been very close. The vast majority of the time it's a truly spectacular experience. We've found it helps people feel like they're in our home, they can be comfortable and feel taken care of because they truly are our guests.

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Q: What have been your biggest challenges at the shop?
I think like any small business finding the right balance of obsessing over what you do and maintaining your outside interests can often be a challenge. Luckily there's more than one of us so we can all take turns picking up the slack.

Q: What have been your biggest joys?
In the beginning it was watching people's faces the first time they came in. Now people tell us that they want to live there. It's heartwarming and continues to be inspiring to have other people inspired by the space.

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Q: Where do you go for inspiration? (Your decor, products, and food/drinks are very obviously inspired!)
Personally, I love my nature time. There's nothing like a weekend in the woods with a fire place and friends. For a quick afternoon pick me up the Pacific Antique Galleries is a wonderful place for inspiration.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle? (Other than E. Smith, of course!)
I love to wander through Elliott Bay Books, and while I'm up there, might as well stop into Totokaelo and touch the pretty things, right?

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
We're big fans of the Walrus & the Carpenter. Also wouldn't say no to a dinner at Lark, a brunch at Toulouse Petit, or the entire menu at La Carta de Oaxaca.

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Interview: Carl, Wood Engraver & Letterpress Printer
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I am SO excited to share this interview with you today! I've known Carl since I moved to Seattle in 2009. He has been hugely supportive of my journey in letterpress printing from early on.

(Check out my story on Go Mighty for more about how Carl has so graciously helped us.) This past year, i've had the absolute pleasure of spending my Friday mornings with Carl (and his sweetie, Babs) at their home in West Seattle. I've loved every minute of my education in wood engraving and our chats about art and life. Today i'm pleased to share my friend with you! He's a master wood engraver, an incredibly resourceful printer and an all around good man. So here it is, my interview with Carl Montford!

Q: What attracted you to wood engraving and letterpress printing after your career at Boeing?
I didn’t start wood engraving and letterpress printing until just after I retired from 39 years at Boeing. I started my first ‘Montford Press’ in my garage in Wichita Kansas about 1970 or so. I wanted to further my ‘after hours’ endeavor in something creative, I have often said, I used this activity to maintain my sanity after dealing with supervisors and engineers all day…I like to think it worked.

I was all self taught, both in letterpress printing and wood engraving. However, I fell in with a group of ‘old timers’ there in Wichita that were primarily collectors of letterpress equipment, save for one gentleman by the name of Bill Jackson, he taught graphics at the university and had his own private press in his garage also, except his space was insulated, (temps in that part of the country range from below zero to above 100 degrees). Bill didn’t teach me how to do things, but he inspired me no end. He created lovely books, all hand set type, lino cut illustrated and hand bound his own books, and all printed on an old style 8x12 Chandler and Price platen press.

That inspired me to follow in his footsteps as much as possible. With the help of the local library, (way before the internet), I pursued wood engraving interests, both in examples and ‘how to’ books. I was a ‘closet wood engraver’ for many years, not knowing a single other active wood engraver for many years. After transferring to Seattle in the early 80’s and setting up my ‘Montford Press’ in my own home, (not in an uninsulated garage this time) I started amassing more type, presses and all the associated equipment. I joined the local BAG (Book Arts Guild) and found people of my own likes and interests, probably the main turning point of my artistic career. Shortly after that the internet started becoming popular, and I discovered an international  group of wood engravers, the WEN (Wood Engravers Network), this linked me into a group of artists, both beginners and master engravers, and have been a member ever since. After retiring in July 1995, my interests in all this just exploded, having an additional 8 to 10 hours a day to devote to my passion of engraving and printing. After retiring, my connections with the BAG, WEN and in about 2000 getting linked up with SVC (School of Visual Concepts). I also teach out of my own studio, both in letterpress and engraving.

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Q: You've seen many aspiring printers come and go. What is your #1 piece of advice for someone who wants to learn about letterpress?
I meet lots of people interested in letterpress printing via teaching and networking. I have helped many people find presses and type, taught them how to use it all, and watched it fizzle into unused rusting and corroded equipment. This is very disappointing to me after expended that much energy helping them. So, what I now look for in aspiring printers is REALLY being serious about it. Taking lessons first, actually producing something of worth THEN start looking for equipment.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration, is an internal desire to achieve whatever creates a passion in the heart of an artist. I am lucky, I love nature, animals, birds and people for my inspiration in wood engraving subjects, but for my larger products of broadsides, I have several poets I’m in collaboration with, along with a couple of sister-in-laws that are all great poets, and keep me well supplied in inspiring words and images.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle?
Where is my favorite shopping spot?...Dusty Strings in Fremont.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
Chinooks Restaurant in Ballard

Thanks Carl!

Interview: Henrietta's Eye
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Henrietta's Eye is the wet plate collodion tintype photography of Seattle-based couple Libby Bulloff and Stephen Robinson.

Libby and Stephen are also our next-door studio neighbors at 57 Biscayne! We recently had our tintype photographs taken, and it was amazing. If only cameras could talk... but this Q&A with Libby & Stephen is the next best thing!

Q: How did you get into tintype photography?
Libby first saw wet plate photography demonstrated a couple of years ago by local ambrotypist Dan Carrillo, and immediately fell in love with the visceral nature of capturing an image in chemicals on a piece of metal or glass.

Ever since being captivated by the work of Mathew Brady, Alfred Stieglitz and Walker Evans, Stephen has been fascinated with old photographic processes and the craftsmanship involved. He loves both the surreal nature and the stark honesty conveyed by large format photography.

Last year, in one of those seemingly small events that ends up deeply life-affecting, our friend Magpie Killjoy, a traveling photographer, designer, and writer, came to Seattle and taught both of us how to make tintypes using his antique camera in exchange for studio time. We were both so immediately taken with the process, and more so with the results, we threw ourselves headlong into learning more. We then spent the next two months tracking down and repairing our 1908 Seneca Black Beauty 4x5 camera, named Henrietta, building a portable darkroom in a foot locker, researching techniques and materials, and taking lots and lots of photos. We constantly experiment and try to perfect a complicated process we full-well know cannot be perfected. We especially love using old gear, from the camera to lenses, to lighting.

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Q: What is attractive to you about the method?
We are both attracted by the hand-crafted nature of this process. From start to finish, your hands touch everything. It is very intimate. Each photo is unique. Even if you shoot the same model on the same day, with same lighting and the same exposure time, each plate is different. They’re like tiny chemical paintings in this respect, each with their own beauty, nuances and imperfections. While on the surface it may seem frustrating to not be able to duplicate a photograph, we find it exhilarating and inspiring. Another aspect of creating tintypes we find attractive is that no computers or electronic devices (aside from the lights) are involved. There’s an element of magic and alchemy to the process and the resulting photograph that cannot be duplicated by modern digital photography. We create heirlooms and lasting, honest-to-goodness artifacts. Tintypes from the Civil War era are still around (and valued by collectors) so we know they will last at least 150 years. Ultimately, for us, creating tintypes is art. There’s both an art to the process, and the process allows us to create beautiful art.

Q: In your words, how does the process work?
The basic method of making a tintype can be distilled down to a couple of key steps. We use a process that is very authentic to the one popularized in the mid-1800s. First, we take a piece of enameled aluminum and coat it in chemicals that allow it to become light sensitive. Then, we carefully load it into the camera and expose it, creating a negative image directly on the metal plate. After that, we develop and stop it under a safe light in our portable dark room, and then fix it in a tray, often right before our subject’s eyes. It’s very similar to watching a Polaroid develop. We finally seal the tintype with a traditional sanderac and lavender varnish that not only protects the photo from the elements, it also smells great.

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Sitting for a tintype portrait can be quite a dramatic and unique experience. Our subjects tend to have stoic expressions on their faces, like the Victorians, because the exposure time on the portrait runs 20-45 seconds, and it is difficult to try to hold anything except a neutral expression for that long.

Q: How can folks get ahold of you to schedule a portrait session?
The best way to get ahold of us is via email at henriettas.eye@gmail.com. We’re happy to answer questions, take on special projects, and set up private photoshoots for folks who’d like to get a portrait taken. You can see some of our images at http://www.seattletintype.com.

Q: What do you like best about having a studio at 57 Biscayne?
We love being so centrally located to the heart of the Seattle historical district. It really lends itself well to the oldee-timeyness of our creative process to be surrounded by bricks and mortar that are over a hundred years old. It’s also wonderful to see other passionate artists working on their respective projects when we come in to do a shoot.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
Gastropod. It is an unassuming place in SODO with a tiny kitchen, run by two unpretentious blokes who marry unconventional flavors in their cuisine and handmade beer. It’s Northwest food in the best sense. We love to spend evenings there, after we’ve worked hard in the studio, chatting with the chef and brewer about food, music, and politics, and gorging ourselves on succulent Hama Hama oysters.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
We don’t have a favorite place, per se, but we love digging through antique malls, junk shops, and finding the odd treasure on Craigslist. We collect taxidermy, old medical and dental paraphernalia, Victoriana, vintage shoes, and old things built to last.

To see Henrietta in action, come see her in December!
57 BISCAYNE HOLIDAY SALE
Where? 57 Biscayne, 110 Cherry St., 2nd Floor, Seattle
When? Thursday, December 5th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm AND Saturday, December 7th from 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Interview: Dorothy, Spring 2013 Intern
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Now that I've finished interviewing our current staff, I'm excited to move outward into our wonderful Constellation community! Today's interview is with Dorothy Hunyh, Spring 2013 intern and our amazing product photographer!

Dorothy has interned with more companies than anyone I've ever met (including We Are The Rhoads, among others!) and has an inspiring amount of motivation. To see all of the projects Dorothy collaborated on while working with us, check out her internship blog.

Q: What was interning for Constellation like? How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
While in college, I had the opportunity to intern at a lot of great businesses, but I have to say that interning at Constellation was the best experience. I really felt valued and working for Sara was a complete blast. It is one thing to be working for a great company and it is definitely another to be working alongside people who truly care for your well- being and growth. I learned so much about valuing your clients as well as nurturing your relationships with them.

Working with letterpress really made me appreciate all the minuscule details that go into the process. It also really makes me think thoroughly through the design choices I make as far as how the production will be affected.

Q: Tell us about the photo shoots you've done for the new wholesale catalog. What was your favorite thing about them, and what was a challenge?
When Sara first approached me to be the photographer for Constellation’s new wholesale catalog, I was ecstatic! One of my favorite things about being a creative is seeing the outcome and I knew that this project would be something that we’d all be proud of. I loved how personal the catalog shoots were, especially to Sara and Brad and was honored that they’d include me in it. I think a challenge was planning and producing images that were of high caliber, but also were true to our vision. We really wanted the photos to be relatable to your typical Seattle-ite.

Q: You're a photographer with a graphic design degree who interned for a letterpress company. What are your plans for the future?
This is funny, because at this point in my life I really don’t know. I’ve had my own photography business for the past four years and it has been incredible, but I am really looking to expand my horizons and maybe try some new things. I would love to get design to be a part of my daily life, whether it is personal or client work. Ultimately though, I want to be helping people and I’m excited to see how my passions will play into that. Also I can't wait to be a mom.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
Gosh, this is a hard question to answer because Seattle has so many great places- sorry this answer might be long. We’re lucky to live in a city that offers so much. I’m always trying new places when time and budget allows. It really depends on what type of food, but some of my go-tos would probably be Bustle on QA (for coffee and getting work done), Café Presse (croque madames are to die for), Bar Sajor (the bread), King’s Hardware (the fries) and Black Bottle (everything).

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
Another extremely hard question to answer, thanks Sara. Well, this isn’t really an amazing answer, but in general Nordstrom’s is always on point. However, I do love checking out all the little boutiques Seattle has. If I’m looking for gifts, I always head to Annie’s Art and Frame or Sip and Ship in Ballard, or Queen Anne Dispatch. They have the best little knick-knacks. My favorite bookstore is The Elliot Bay Book Company- I somehow always leave with a new book (even if I have a pile of unread ones at home.)

Thanks Dorothy!

Interview: Suzi
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I have the distinct pleasure of working with my mom here at Constellation & Co. She’s been with us every step of the way, making sure our “books” are well tended.

When my family moved to Washington state from Florida, it was an easy choice to bring her into the office. I’m really lucky to get to spend this much time with my mom. She’s organized, professional, and fun to be around. And if someone says, “your mother doesn’t work here,” I can say: “mine does!” (This really happened once.) Today's interview is with our mom-ccountant and bookkeeper, Suzi Mantle!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I started out as bookkeeper 3,000 miles away in Florida.  We moved to Washington 2 years ago and I continued working as bookkeeper on a monthly basis.  This past year I have taken on an additional roles setting up and maintaining raw, in-process and finished good inventories.  I also help maintain the Etsy store as well as package and ship product for both retail and wholesale customers.

Q: What is the craziest question or conundrum you’ve run into while working for Constellation?
My biggest challenge while working for Constellation was morphing from mom to employee.  It was difficult at first leaving “mom” at home and showing up as “employee.”  It has been a good transition to help let Sara go as child and accept her as an independent grown-up!  I am thrilled to be working with her.  It is allowing me to watch her business grow and I am proud to take an active part in helping her along the way to success.

Q:  You’ve been a small business bookkeeper for almost 30 years - how do you feel those skills help with your job now, and what new skills are you learning?
Having grown our own business from the ground up when we were in our 20s, I knew how important having a solid bookkeeping system was.  I also brought with me solid payroll and payroll tax, sales tax, business tax, and income tax experience.  The new skills I am acquiring all have to do with tech and computer stuff - you can teach an old dog new tricks, it just might take a while!

Q:  Tell us your #1 piece of advice for starting a small business (from a bookkeeper’s point of view).
The number one investment should be a good accounting software program.  Most today are very easy to use even if you have no bookkeeping experience. I cannot stress enough - keep all your receipts and organize them from the beginning.  Enter them in your accounting program on a weekly if not daily basis.  Throwing them in a box to handle once a month or year will be a giant headache.  You can’t run a successful business if you don’t know where your money is coming from and where it is going to.

Q:  Tell me about moving from Florida to Washington State.  How’s that transition been for you?
We came out to Washington in 2010 to visit Sara and Brad and fell in love with the area.  During that visit, we reconnected as family.  After we went back to Florida, we knew that we wanted to be closer to them and luckily they felt the same way!  We put our business up for sale In January and to our surprise it sold and closed in September.  We sold our house and packed up our belongings and before we knew it, we were starting a new year, 2012, in a very different climate!   We settled an hour from Sara & Brad not wanting to intrude on their day to day lives not knowing that a year later I would be driving that hour into Seattle several times a week to help out in the day to day at Constellation & Co.   I love the fall leaves, the glorious awakening of the flowers in spring, and summer weather cool enough to enjoy the out of doors.   I am adapting to the winter chill and looking forward to our new pellet stove this year!

Q:  What’s your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
I love Delicatus - they have such yummy sandwiches (The Californian is my favorite), the staff is so nice, and love reading all the cool and funny quotes around the walls.   The second favorite is Cow Chip Cookies - who doesn’t love a warm cookie fresh out of the oven.

Q: What’s your favorite place to shop in Seattle?
I don’t usually have a chance to shop while I’m here in the city unless you count the post office which I frequent to ship out our wonderful products!  I enjoy walking in the city to the post office.

(A quick, practical addendum: We use Quickbooks for bookkeeping and Square for credit card processing. We ship using Etsy's in site tools and print labels on our new Dymo 4x6 label printer.)

Interview: Brad
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Next up in our ongoing interview series is my favorite person on the face of the Earth! He's quiet, bearded, and married to me. It's Brad McNally, our co-founder!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I am co founder of Constellation & Co. I am not as involved with the day to day, but I am diligently working on the new website and constantly thinking of new products. I am also the secret Art Director.

Q: Tell us about your day job. How are the two companies & roles similar or different?
I am the Lead Designer at BELIEF, a creative agency in Seattle Washington. I work on branding, packaging, web, and mobile projects. At BELIEF, I work with my art director & creative director to create story-centered work for clients and am responsible for design solutions from concept to completion. At Constellation, Sara handles all client work and almost all of the product design (I jump in for some secret art direction.) Currently, this allows me to focus on the site redesign and brainstorming new products with her. I'll occasionally design some of those products!

Q: You're a digital & web guy - how has Constellation & letterpress changed how you work?
I think any modern designer's mind explodes once they start physically setting type and leading and kerning go from concept to practice. In some ways it has reinforced my obsession with clean and simple type. I think the web is always trying to achieve the level of design and control that the print medium provides, so it's great to have an outlet to explore that kind of stuff. I'm excited about the new Constellation & Co. about page, it's going to be rad.

Q: What's it like, working with your wife & mother in law?
It's a trap! Just kidding. It is really great working with family. Sara's parents ran a successful business in Florida, so it's great to be able to pick their brains and learn from them. While Sara manages the day to day of Constellation, I'm still able to come and submit my 2¢. Initial critiques are always scary when two people come at the problem with different ideas or solutions, but we battle it out, and in the end the ideas are always stronger.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
I love everything from Bitterroot in Ballard. They have amazing BBQ and drink.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
I'd spend all of my money at E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square if given the chance. I dig anything vintage/craft, and their selection is on point.

Q: What are a few of your favorite apps right now?
I have a few apps that I use daily. 

VSCO Cam: The best photo editing/film emulation app, you can check out my grid → brad.vsco.co. I post alot of things to instagram as well → instagram.com/bradmcnally

Rdio: A music subscription service similar to Spotify. In my opinion, Rdio's mobile app is the best designed app out there. They nailed the details where iOS7 falls short.

Fog of World: This app shows you how much of the world you have explored by using your GPS. As you travel around, the map slowly reveals where you've explored. I've currently explored 0.000000430500924% of the world!

I could write a whole blogpost about iOS games. 

(And maybe we'll talk him into doing that!)

Interview: Holly
holly.jpg

Our awesome photographer Dorothy stopped by the studio a few weeks ago to take our first official staff photos!

We've been through some transition this year (and lots of learning), so I thought this would be a great time to ask our lovely staff some questions for the blog - and let you get to know them! Our first interview is with Holly Power, my administrative assistant. Enjoy!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I get to field all incoming estimate requests, put together quotes, and set up client meetings. Essentially I'm the first "face" that new clients see. I also get to do some fun odd jobs that need doing! Sometimes I write snippets of copy, help upkeep the Etsy store, look for new shops that might be interested in carrying our products, etc...!

Q: What's the most common question you receive? Most people are looking for a quote for wedding invitations. Recently, I've had a lot of folks asking about the awesome book invitations from David and Micaline's wedding. Storybook weddings are a fun trend right now and a lot of people are really responding to that particular piece.

Q: You were a Literature major in college - how do you feel those skills help with your job now?
I wrote and read a TON in college, so I'm pretty good at coming up with words! For the most part, I enjoy the process of client communication, because I love using the right words to connect with people. A lot of my classroom time in college just looked like an open ended discussion about whatever material we were covering at the time. I learned a lot about choosing my words carefully to convey my point of view and I feel like I get to use that skill when answering client questions.

Q: Tell me about working remotely, being at home with your son. How's that transition been for you? What things do you love and what things are hard?
The transition was hard at first, but I am learning to really enjoy and cherish it. I love being able to work while Levi naps and then play with him while he's awake. A big challenge for me is in planning my day. If I don't use the time that he is napping wisely, my day quickly gets away from me without having met a lot of my goals. Or there are days where I am counting on getting certain things done and Levi decides not to sleep much at all that day. I'm learning a lot about planning my life in pencil! It's important to me that there is a plan in place, but just as important (for my sanity and my son's joy) that I can be flexible when my plans don't work out.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
That's a hard one because there are so many tasty places to eat here and it changes depending on my mood! Josh (my husband) and I have really been enjoying Billy Beach recently, which is a super delish sushi place in Ballard. They have an awesome happy hour so we can stuff ourselves on a budget. We don't get a ton of date nights with a new little one, so we're trying to make each one count by finding and trying new places more often!

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
I really like going to University Village in the U District. Parking is free and it's perfect for aimless wandering and window shopping and I love the open air. It's also really lovely at Christmas when all the trees are full of lights. Wrestling my baby boy in and out of my two-door rabbit wherever I go makes a no-hassle free parking garage a win in my book!