Where did the name of your studio come from?
When I was naming the press back in 2010, I was thinking about the temporary nature of paper goods and ephemera. A love of etymology somehow led me to hoarfrost, which is a particularly lavish frost that occurs at the edges of lakes and streams. Having read Moby Dick a few years before, I was taken with Melville’s descriptions of whiteness; so the idea of white frost, a white whale, and white paper all coalesced around the name.
Who is on your team, and how did you come together?
It’s just me! I get occasional help from my wife, Eva. For the Nicely Noted cards I enlisted an old roommate as well.
How did you get into design and letterpress printing?
I went to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where I double majored in Studio Art and English. In school I focused on printmaking, but my wife was the one with the letterpress skills. In 2006 we bought a Kelsey Excelsior 6x10 and a cabinet of type for a song. A few years later I was laid-off from a non-profit job, and instead of searching for a new job, I made my own. That’s how Hoarfrost Press was founded!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I love what Chuck Close says about the artist’s life: “inspiration is for amateurs -- the rest of us just show up and get to work”. This feels especially true for my presswork, as I am usually designing and printing a project right down to the wire. Sometimes designs are born out of photographs, blind contour drawings, or objects that I’m looking at everyday. Other times the ideas will arrive from a book I’m reading or random internet searches. I also love a topical event; two years ago I designed a solar eclipse suite that was a real hit. The card I printed for Nicely Noted was a request from a longtime customer for a birthday card.
What kind of press do you use?
Kelsey Excelsior 6x10