ecru-gram

Are you on instagram?  Its one of our favorite ways to socialize, if you aren’t don’t fret- you can still catch up with our new bi-weekly feature here that shares everything we’ve been up to via our instagram feed.  September was a big month over here, we opened our second store in Portland and we were very busy getting it all together!

PicMonkey Collage

photos from clockwise top left: LeAnn getting the cards up on the wall, getting the new neighborhood excited for our downtown debut, store logo on the door making it feel more official, our everything Portland table, more Portland goods (because we can never have enough), a much needed coffee break with a favorite card from sapling press, new egg press paper wrapping sheets, the night before opening.

We also have a fun instagram contest going on, if you do use it- visit our shop, take a photo of products or even your purchase and share them on your feed. Make sure to tag us or use our hashtag #ecrupdx for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to our shop!

Artist of the Month: Pushmepullyou Press

Pushmepullyou Press

Michael Kelley is the traveling card salesman of Portland’s handcrafted letterpress scene. Arriving at Ecru in his lovingly restored, vintage VW Bug with his leather satchel in tow, Kelley lays out the linocut cards and notebooks he has to offer, which frequently feature garden themes that burst with blooming flowers and fluttering birds—really, the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Working full-time under the Pushmepullyou Press moniker, the creative and printing processes can be solitary, but these house calls to local retailers fuel Kelley because he really values visiting shops, meeting and greeting people, and “seeing what other things will be sharing space with my cards,” Kelley explains. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think personal contact is important.” And a homemade, personal touch is exactly what you can impart with one of Kelley’s cards.

Say Hello to Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley of Pushmepullyou Press

Where are you from?

I was raised in Dallas, Ore., and have lived in Portland for 42 years.

What’s your experience and education?

I studied art and design at U of O and California College of Arts and Crafts. I freelanced as a graphic designer in Portland.

How did you start Pushmepullyou Press?

I’ve always had an interest in printmaking and printing. I bought a small letterpress in Berkeley while I was employed at UC Berkeley after art school, and have been involved in printing since then. I decided to go full-time into letterpress about 18 years ago.

I started my current business as a move away from more traditional graphic design endeavors and computers into a more personal mode of expression. I really enjoy the craft of printing because it requires the mastering of many related crafts: drawing, linoleum carving, typesetting and printing. Also, being in control of a project from conception to final delivery is very satisfying. I also enjoy the personal interaction between the buyers and clients and myself.

Where do you create your cards? Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work from home?

I have transformed a garage into a very light-filled, comfortable studio, and I spend most of my time there.

Pushmepullyou Press' light-filled studio

How does living in Portland and the Northwest inspire your designs?

My wife is a garden designer and my studio looks out at our garden. That inspires me every day, to see what’s blooming and what birds have been attracted.

What artistic techniques and processes do you use?

The main process that I use to express my art is linoleum carving. It is easy to carve but is unforgiving; if you make a mistake it can’t be fixed, so you need to learn to work with the medium (and sometimes it works you!). It is a line art medium—you deal with positive and negative space. There are no grays, so conveying light and three dimensions can be problematic. That, in a nutshell, is the gist of making a successful linocut.

Michael Kelley hard at work in the Pushmepullyou Press studio

 

It takes nine blocks to create one card at Pushmepullyou Press

 

Pushmepullyou Press' Michael Kelley is inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest

Can you tell us the story behind your Chinese New Year cards?

The card I did for Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, came about because I was trying to find a way to make a horse convey a Chinese feeling. I started looking at various art works, and while looking at some fabric designs, it suddenly occurred to me that I could use a Chinese fabric pattern on my horse. The combination of two unrelated ideas produced a striking image that has turned out to be my most popular card.

How do you spread the word about your business?

I try to reach people in many ways. I’ve lived in Portland for many years and have a wide circle of friends who pass my name around. I put my work on Facebook and Etsy. I have studio sales in my studio. I approach shops and make a personal contact with the owners and managers. I have my work in various art shows, including the Sitka show every November.

What’s your favorite part of your day?

My favorite part of the day is in the morning when I open up the studio and plan the day. It doesn’t always go the way I’ve planned it, but at least I feel I have some control over what happens!

How do you avoid creative ruts?

I don’t see myself getting into a rut. One area of thought or expression gradually changes and develops into something more intense, or it may change focus. I see it as a continuous journey, always learning and growing and moving forward.

Michael Kelley hard at work in the Pushmepullyou Press studio

What’s the best “thing” you’ve recently come across?

I have a scrap file that I’m always throwing things into. Sometimes it is an illustration out of the New York Times, or a color combination from a magazine, or something I download from the Internet. It all gets looked at and stored away in my subconscious, and influences me in some way.

Tell us three things you love, need and can’t live without.

1. Coffee

2. New York Times crossword

3. Beer at the end of the day

Anyone else you’d like to give a shout out to?

I couldn’t do this alone—many people help. My wife, Joy, helps me strategize and is my main color consultant. Lisa, Kerry, Tammy and Yayoi have all helped in the shop, and all of the people and merchants who buy my wares keep the wheels rolling.

Happy Birthday, Libra!

Those born under the sign of Libra (September 23 to October 22 ) are said to be peaceful, idealistic and hospitable. Their unique ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective makes Libra the diplomat of the zodiac. That’s why these greeting cards from Sycamore Street Press, The Good Twin, Ladyfingers Letterpress, and Hammerpress are the perfect way to say happy birthday to the Libras in your life: The cards are STELLAR.

Happy birthday, Libra!

 

 

Open Now: Ecru’s NEW Downtown Digs

We’re pleased as punch to announce that our new location at 518 SW Yamhill St. is NOW OPEN for business. Owner LeAnn, husband Ray and the team of Ecru elves have been working tirelessly to gussy up the space and fill it with paper goods, jewelry and gifts you’ll adore. We think it turned out pretty nicely, don’t you?

The Downtown and Pearl locations have the same great merchandise but Downtown offerings also include merchandise like greeting cards and paper goods from Snow & Graham, Egg Press gift wrap, Amy Olson jewelry and more… (See what we did there? Now, you’re really curious!)

Even though the new space has a different aesthetic and exclusive merchandise, some things—helpful service, lovely selection and pristine merchandising—will remain exactly the same.

We hope you’ll swing by and visit soon. Oh, and be sure to sure snap a photo while you’re here (or visiting our Pearl shop) and enter our Instagram contestWe’d love for you to win the $25 gift certificate!

Ecru Downtown hours: Monday thru Saturday, 10AM-6PM and Sunday, 11AM-5PM.

A Peek Inside Ecru Downtown

Ecru Modern Stationer Downtown, owner LeAnn Dolan, Ecru Downtown

Ecru Modern Stationer Downtown 518 SW Yamhill St. Portland Oregon, Ecru Downtown

Ecru Modern Stationer Downtown Portland Oregon, Ecru Downtown

Ecru Modern Stationer Downtown gifts, stationery and more, Ecru DowntownEcru Modern Stationer Downtown carries a large inventory of locally made goods, Ecru Downtown

Ecru Modern Stationer Downtown Portland, Ecru Downtown

Instagram Contest: Win a $25 Gift Certificate!

Today, we’re kicking off a really fun contest on Instagram. Get those phones ready, people! Just visit either Ecru location (Pearl District: 1215 NW 11th Ave., or Downtown: 518 SW Yamhill St.), take some creative snappies of the shops, products or your purchases, and post them to your Instagram feed. Of course, you’ll also need to tag us (@ecrumodernstationer) and/or use our hashtag (#ecrupdx) so we can see your entries.

The contest runs through October 15 and you can enter as many times as you like (one pic = one entry). For every entry, you’ll be added to the drawing for a $25 gift certificate.

Ready. Set. Snap!

Instagram contest Ecru Modern Stationer

Happy Birthday, Virgo!

Those born under the sign of Virgo (August 23 to Sept. 23 ) are said to be wise, witty and well spoken. They also have a tendency to be a wee bit of a perfectionist—just one of many reasons we love them, right? That’s why these greeting cards from Sapling Press are the perfect way to say happy birthday to the Virgos in your life: The cards are letterpressed perfection with messages designed for the quick-witted set. Yup, your Virgo friends will totally get it.

Sapling Press birthday cards at Ecru Modern StationerSapling Press birthday cards at Ecru Modern StationerSapling Press birthday cards at Ecru Modern StationerSapling Press birthday cards at Ecru Modern Stationer

Current Crush: Idlewild Co.

Idlewild Co. has been on our radar for a while now so it’s no surprise that this little brand is the object of our current crush. This delightfully darling paper goods company was born in Brooklyn but recently relocated to Vero Beach, Florida. Its artful prints, quirky cards and adorable stationery all begin with hand-painted designs by Kate Gastley, Idlewild’s Jane of all trades. We’re swooning over these cards—we think you’ll love them, too!

Cards by Idlewild Co. are available now at both our Pearl District (1215 NW 11th Ave.) and Downtown (518 SW Yamhill St.) locations.

Cards by Idlewild Co. at Ecru Modern Stationer

Cards by Idlewild Co. at Ecru Modern Stationer Cards by Idlewild Co. at Ecru Modern Stationer

Calories Don’t Count on Your Birthday

bdaycake1

Cake-inspired birthday cards are a trend we endorse 100 percent. Who doesn’t love cake? These sugary paper confections by Emily McDowell, 1 Canoe 2, Yoshinig Creative and Little Low are sure to hit the spot of any sweet lover in your life.

1. let us celebrate (top left) by Emily McDowell 
2. another birthday (top right) by 1 Canoe 2
3. cake calories (bottom left) by Yoshinig Creative
4. cake wasted (bottom right) by Little Low

bdaycake2

Artist of the Month: Creative Lab Press

Creative Lab Press at Ecru Modern Stationer

With a line of simply illustrated cards that are astute and sassy, Bri Davey’s NE Portland letterpress operation, dubbed Creative Lab Press, is 100 percent hands-on. Her hand-drawn designs often feature straightforward but playfully composed imagery accented by her impeccable calligraphy, which offers messages that range from touchingly thoughtful to cleverly cheeky (with a pinch of saucy irreverence where appropriate). After she’s devised a concept and it’s been written and illustrated, Bri makes the proper plates for Clara—her 1,700-pound, octogenarian Chandler & Price letterpress. She then cuts, prints and scores every card at her home studio under the watchful eye of her namesake. You see, her studio is not a laboratory—it’s no sterile environment or research facility: It’s an inky, and sometimes fuzzy, workplace. Just check the dogdanna-sporting logo—the studio is named for Bri’s “furry love,” Jackson, her giant chocolate lab.

Say Hello to Bri Davey (and Jackson!)

Creative Lab Press' Bri Davey and her chocolate lab, Jackson

Where are you from?

I was raised in small-town southwest Montana and have lived in Portland for seven years.

What’s your experience and education?

My education is in business (Montana State University) and nonprofit management (Portland State University); however, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been drawing, creating and working with my hands. I started doing web and marketing design work about eight years ago for a company in Montana, and when I moved to Portland, I got turned on to letterpress. I quickly realized it was something I had to learn more about and found myself taking classes at local art schools. I’ve always wanted to have my own business and thus, Creative Lab Press was born. When I started the company in 2011, I was very lucky to have several friends getting married or having babies at the time. My first clients were friends or friends of friends that let me experiment with the craft and create something unique for them. I still do custom design work for weddings, holiday cards and birth announcements. This past spring, I launched a greeting card line at the National Stationery Show in New York City—debuting over 70 cards, gift tags, coasters and a calendar—all with my hand-drawn aesthetic.

How did you start Creative Lab Press?

I knew I would love letterpress since you are literally working with your hands through every step of the process. I took a few classes locally and then shortly after I found my press online in Portland and purchased it before I even had a place to put it. (It weighs nearly 2,000 pounds!) I rented a studio space shortly after and ran my first print in the summer of 2011.

Where do you create your cards? Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work from home?

All of my cards are created in my home studio in NE Portland. I have a great space where my letterpress is set up and I can get my hands dirty. For most of my cards, I initially illustrate the artwork by hand, then scan the art and have plates made for printing. I cut all the paper, print and score every card, and package each at my home office.

Creative Lab Press' studio

 

Creative Lab Press' tools of the trade

 

Creative Lab Press' tools of the trade

How does living in Portland and the Northwest inspire your designs?

I love taking advantage of all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I spend a lot of my downtime exploring the beautiful scenery of the beach, Gorge and mountains by hiking and skiing. I also enjoy tending to my garden and, in recent years, have spent windy days sailing out on the Columbia River.

I’ve enjoyed printing on wood veneer and have some die-cut cards that are in the shape of Oregon and Washington. Our lovely beaches, forests, mountains and iconic city images are often depicted on these cards with a hand-drawn style.

Where else do you get your ideas from?

A lot of my ideas come from just sitting with a sketchbook and drawing! Some of my best ideas have come from just a random doodle! Other ideas come from conversations with friends at a barbecue or over coffee with my husband. I like to keep my designs fun and a bit quirky—not something you see every day.

What artistic techniques and processes do you use?

The majority of my work starts first with hand-lettered calligraphy. I’ll draw out an entire card in my sketchbook and then scan it to create digital artwork on the computer. The digital files are then used to create polymer plates ready for letterpress printing. All of my cards are printed on my letterpress from 1931. They are individually fed into the press by hand and each color is a new press run. I also die-cut on my press with my most popular shapes being those from my new state-shaped collection.

Can you tell us the story behind your bingo card?

My husband and I have enjoyed playing bingo at fundraisers for the local nonprofit My Voice Music. My bingo greeting card was created to be able to be used as a “love” card or even for a close friend saying, “When I first met you, I yelled… BINGO!”

Creative Lab Press' bingo card

What’s your favorite part of your day?

Getting the press inked up and running that first print. Such immediate satisfaction!

How does Jackson figure into your process and the workday?

Jackson is so spoiled! He gets to hang out in the yard when it’s nice outside and rolls around in the grass and gnaws on a bone while I am printing. Tough life. It’s so great having him around during my work day—he definitely provides some stress relief and a good excuse to take a break and walk to the park.

How do you avoid creative ruts?

I generally like to get outside when I am fried and feel like I am in a rut. It’s a great way to get re-inspired and have some fun.

Tell us three things you love, need and can’t live without.

  1. My husband
  2. My dog
  3. Chocolate

Anyone else you’d like to give a shout out to?

Just a big THANK YOU to all my friends here in Portland and my family and friends back home for their amazing support. And especially to a handful of gals in PDX that have helped me endless times packaging cards and letting me bounce my crazy card ideas off of them. You know who you are!

Creative Lab Press greeting cards

Let’s Go Camping!

Let's go camping! Rachel Austin at Ecru Modern Stationer

Have you been camping this summer? If not, what are you waiting for?!?! Get out and enjoy Oregon. Heck, get out and enjoy these United States!

There’s really no better place to get your camp on than Oregon State Parks. Activities like biking, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and birding are just a short jaunt away, and parks are packed with spots for picnics, history lessons and, of course, camping. There are special campsites for bikers and hikers, as well as folks equipped with tents and RVs. Not a card carrying member of REI? No worries. There are cabins and yurts available for rent. And yes, some are even okay for your pets.

If you’re a fan of outdoor adventure, it’s likely you’ll also dig these and other cards by Portland artist Rachel Austin. Her acrylic and oil paintings over old maps have been captured in colorful prints on natural linen paper printed with archival inks. The boxed set contains six unique notecards featuring sweet little campers and evoking a sense of travel. The cards are blank on the inside, making them the perfect medium to share your own adventures with friends near and far—or, the perfect gift for the camping enthusiast(s) in your life.

Let's go camping! Rachel Austin at Ecru Modern Stationer Let's go camping! Rachel Austin at Ecru Modern Stationer