Posts tagged new york
NYC Recap: Bowne & Co.

While we were in New York, we visited Bowne & Co. Stationers and Bowne Printers.

Some serious info about Bowne: New York's oldest existing business under the same name, Bowne & Co., Stationers was founded in 1775 by merchant and philanthropist, Robert Bowne. In its current incarnation, Bowne & Co. enchants visitors by enabling them to experience the traditional craft of 19th century letterprinting in a charmingly atmospheric shop true to its historic origins. Advertisements, illustrations, and other materials of the period were researched to recreate the authentic look and feel of a 19th century establishment. See the 19th century letterpresses, buy exquisite cards handprinted in the shop, chat with artist and Bowne printer Robert Warner about his techniques—Bowne & Co. presents visitors with the unique opportunity to step into another era.


And now some silliness: New York is a magical city in general, but this place is so up my alley it's silly. I can't possibly be serious when talking about Bowne, so I'll let silly reign. I mean, come on... they had a "Baby" version of our Reliance iron handpress! I can't express the amount of squeal that came out of my mouth when I spotted it.


It's like our Wendy gave birth to a tiny version of itself. I even took an iPhone "selfie" of myself with it, so you can see the scale. I wanted to adopt it and bring it home to love and feed paper and watch grow into a full sized iron handpress.


Bowne has three iron handpresses in all - which is the most i've ever seen in one place. It was hard not to touch. I suddenly wanted to print all the things.


So, if you're an enthusiast of letterpress and traditional craft, or an iron handpress fanatic like me... you must visit Bowne. There is an infinite number of places to visit in New York City, but this is one I'd suggest not to miss. I will eventually write the official NYC recap post i've been promising. But it's just so much...we saw so many things, and i'm going to need a little longer to process it. Perhaps i'll need until May...

People Who Make Things on the Internet

[Hi friends, I'm passing the blog baton to Brad for this one.] At the beginning of October, Sara & I went to New York City. This was my first time in NYC and my first time at Brooklyn Beta.

We went with our good friends Hannah & Perry along with their son Jude. We split our time in New York between the conference and exploring. Sara asked me to share a bit about the conference.

If you're wondering what Brooklyn Beta is, I've conveniently grabbed the description from their site:

Brooklyn Beta is a friendly web conference aimed at the “work hard and be nice to people” crowd — some of the friendliest web designers, developers, and practitioners around.

Our goal is to inspire you to make something you love, something that makes a difference. We invite speakers to highlight meaningful problems that need our help, get all the people who can turn an idea into reality in one place, and try our best to make it happen.

I found that Brooklyn Beta is about people and stories more than it is about design. Don't get me wrong, we listened to CEOs and founders from companies like Etsy, Airbnb, and Squarespace, but it was more than that. It was a gathering of people who make things on the internet, some of whom I knew, some I recognized, and others I got to know.

Prior to the main event, I went to talks by Squarespace,, and Facebook. I learned about arduino, user testing, and how products fail. There were many happy hours. We helped make 600 paper airplanes at the Invisible Dog. We toured the Studiomates/Creative Morning HQ/Tattly Offices. Good times.

Friday's event was excellent. All of the speakers shared their experiences and told wonderful stories. I left more inspired than when I had arrived.

Brooklyn Beta Take Aways: (Mostly from Tim O'Reilly)

  • Work on stuff that matters. Work on what is hard.
  • Create more value than you capture.
  • Writing creates context in which other people can think.
  • You can leave anything out, as long as you know what it is. —Ernest Hemmingway
  • Change happens slowly, then all at once.

NYC Take Aways:

  • NYC is huge. Subways are a perfect way to get around if you are exploring.
  • The Natural History Museum is amazing!
  • Birch Coffee is so good. I wish it were in Seattle!
  • Dumbo and Williamsburg are where it's at.
  • The architecture in NYC is mind blowing. There is a scale to the buildings and an insane amount of detail that you just don't see anywhere else.
  • LaGuardia airport sucks.

If you want to meet people who care about what they do and why they do it, I recommend going to Brooklyn Beta. I know I'll be there next year.

New York City, Here We Come

In a little less than two weeks, Brad and I will be in New York City for the first time!

Brad is attending the Brooklyn Beta conference, so we’re making a week of it. We’re traveling with friends (and their sweet little boy) and staying at an Airbnb apartment in Brooklyn. (I'll then be jumping on a train and heading to DC for Paper Camp, but I'll do another post all about that!) I'm really excited. Not only am I finally visiting THE city, but a few of my childhood dreams are coming true. You see, my entire knowledge of New York is based on what I've learned from musicals.

Sidebar: I've started writing blog posts late at night, so expect an extra level of crazy.

A little backstory: My love for movies and television started at a really young age. My mom and grandma made sure I saw all the classics of the 40's, 50's and 60's - especially the musicals. I believed as a child that life really could be like a musical. I loved to dance and sing and make believe. Some of my earliest memories are asking to see the Disney movie musical Newsies again and again. As a (weird) only child, I liked to pretend that all of the Newsies were my friends and came to Florida to visit me. Newsies still holds a special place in my heart. I listen to the soundtrack often, and I watch it at least once a year. I didn't realize until well into my training as a letterpress printer just how ironic it is that I obsessed 0ver Newsies as a child and went on to obsess over letterpress as an adult. The platen press that "old man Pulitzer never threw away" is very similar to the one I make my living on! I suppose watching Newsies brainwashed me in the best way possible.


A little trip to crazy town: In preparation for finally visiting this dangerous and magical place where people sing and dance and fight the man, I bought myself a Newsie hat. I will be wearing this wonderful Newsie hat as part of "Hatumn," a ridiculous personal challenge I have posed for myself in which I will wear a different hat every day until I run out of hats. Starting on the first day of Fall, I'll be posting daily Instagram photos to show off each hat. I'm also accepting any and all hat donations to keep the hat madness going as long as possible. (Why am I doing this? Because I currently have 18 hats which I don't wear often enough, and the cool fall weather is wonderful and hat inspiring.) Want to join me in celebrating Hatumn? Post your own hat photos on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #hatumn!


Back to talking about New York and musicals: My other favorite NYC themed musical is On the Town! It stars Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and other greats of the era singing, dancing, sight seeing and falling in love in New York. It's everything I love about musicals from the 1950's in 2 hours of glory. However, since my expert knowledge of NYC includes 1) a musical from the 1990's about the 1890's and 2) a musical from the 1950's, i'll probably have a similar experience to Frankie's confusion in this hilarious clip. What do you mean the guys who sell newspapers don't look like Christian Bale at seventeen years old? And where are the dancing sailors?

In reality, while i'm thrilled to be visiting, i'm overwhelmed thinking about it. Seattle felt huge the first time I visited. San Francisco blew my mind in grandeur last summer. New York? I have no idea what i'm in for. When we return, you can expect lots of photos and info about the cool places we've visited. But in the meantime, comment with your suggestions and thoughts! Tell this small town gal your best tips for seeing the big city. I made a list on GoMighty of some things i'd like to see, and i've got a Pinterest board for the trip as well. Feel free to chime in!

Updates: New Stores! Upcoming Events! Etcetera!

We have been busy bees over here at Constellation & Co. (Hence the blog silence. "Update blog" is on my Teux Deux every day, but it tends to get neglected for other tasks.) But here I am, and here are some highlights.

Visit our new stores! Our card & gift items are available for purchase in several new stores! It's been a great month since we launched our wholesale catalog, and we've enjoyed seeing orders coming in from lovely shops in fun cities.

[McNally Jackson Books, NYC]


The Curiosity Shoppe, San Francisco

Our friends in Seattle have shopping options in new neighborhoods, and we're excited to make new friends in NYC, San Fran, LA, and Des Moines! (Hooray for friends!) We are honored to be a part of so many great shops. For our full list of options, check out our stores page.


Attend an event! The Spring & Summer are shaping up to be busy and fun! We love Seattle (and have have some things planned for our local friends this summer - stay tuned), but we're also hitting the road!

Want to shop, chat us up, and get some high fives? Come out to one of the following events near you:

Tacoma! Wayzgoose!: Letterpress and Book Arts Extravaganza King’s Books opens it's doors to the local letterpress and book arts crazies for a day of creative activities, shopping, and steamroller printing! When? Sunday, April 22, 11 am – 4 pm

Portland! Crafty Wonderland: Super Colossal Spring Sale The Oregon Convention Center transforms to become home to over 200 handmade vendors! The event sports free admission, and welcomes all ages. This is our first Crafty Wonderland - we're super excited to be a vendor and we hope to see you there! When? Saturday, May 12th, 11 am – 6 pm

Seattle! Pioneer Square First Thursday Artwalk See us on our home turf! 57 Biscayne (our studio's fabulous home) throws open all it's studio doors to the public! Our studio will be open, presses running, cards & gifts for sale, and refreshments served! Come see where we do what we do, and ask us a hundred million questions! (We'll tell you everything we know.) When? Thursday, June 7th, 5-9 pm