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A Sneak Peek at Letterpress Central: The Paper Studio's New Workshop Space

Cindy and Gary Iverson are happy to admit they have really cool jobs.

Cindy's an artist who specializes in mixed media and paper arts. Gary's a chemical engineer. In 2005, they opened The Paper Studio, where they made paper and printed stationery for online sales. They used their space in Tempe to host a few classes and threw the occasional parking lot sale.

Last year, the couple found an old preschool at 6185 W. Detroit Street in Chandler and the dreaming began. They needed more space for their machines and supplies and they wanted to host more classes.

A few months later -- after a couple renovations, joining forces with letterpress pro Mike O'Connor, paper maker Donna Eyring, Anne Hernandez, and Star DeLuna -- they're opening the doors of Letterpress Central, a huge space for online retail, workshops, and of course, plenty of love for paper and letterpress.

On a recent Thursday, Cindy, Gary, and Mike O'Connor were busy brainstorming future workshops and events.

In the old space, she says, machines were almost stacked on top of one another. She had cases of type that went unused. "Here, we have a scooter to get around," Gary says and laughs. Indeed, the two brought a Razor scooter for fun. (They told you they had cool jobs.)

The three gave us a tour of the building -- a front classroom holds a five or six hand presses and a few larger, manual presses for larger posters and prints. The back area is home to four or five large, self-inking machines and countless cases, drawers, and boxes of type.

"Really, the sky's the limit," says Cindy, who remembers finding the space and dreaming of where she'd put all the traditional printing machines and wood and metal type sets she'd been collecting since grad school.

Most are labelled, and Cindy's getting around to organizing a few boxes that just arrived in the mail. Letterpress machines and type used to be reasonably priced, but thanks to its resurgence in the arts world and popular culture, she and Gary can spend thousands of dollars on just a small printing press.

During our tour the three joke about hipster culture. Cindy shows off the cast of a pair of "hip" chickens she found online, and Mike O'Connor teases her about wanting to mix all sorts of colors into a single print. They're having fun, but they're serious about letterpress.

They're working on themed workshops with design organizations and letterpress fiends, but they're open to suggestions and private parties.

And this Saturday, they'll be more than ready to welcome the crowd likely to be show up for Letterpress Central's open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..

For more information, call 480.557.5700 or check out the Paper Studio/Letterpress Central blog.

And while you twirl your thumbs and wait for the opening, here are a few scenes from inside their studio ...

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton

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