My younger sister Beth and I have birthdays five short days apart. The last week of August holds some of the giddiest anticipation of the year, as I ship off her gift then wait to see what delectable goodness will arrive via Priority Mail for me.
There are a two simple rules for our gift exchange. First of all, we prefer anything used, pre-owned or old; preferably used and pre-owned by an old person. Who is now dead. Secondly, some element of the gift should be handmade. This part’s easy because we are ardent card-makers, and simply re-engineering the most recent J.Crew catalog into a compilation of tasteless double entendres—Beth’s specialty, not mine—counts.
But still every year, I want to up the ante, so this year I looked to a recent article I wrote for the September issue of ReadyMade about the amazing DIY silkscreening studio here in LA, FreshPressed. Jonathan Sample was your typical jaded graphic designer until he realized he was totally missing out the fun part of his job…the part that actually required making stuff. Banking on concurring trends of the ironic t-shirt movement and a resurgence of the hand-drawn aesthetic, he started FreshPressed to bring the seemingly-complex world of silkscreening to the masses. Even the Photoshop-clueless can walk into FreshPressed, scribble something on a piece of paper and walk out with a hand-silkscreened t-shirt in about an hour.
I knew right away no silly new graphic by me could beat original vintage artwork created by Beth herself, so I dug up this circa 1987 museum-quality drawing Beth made of She-Ra, Princess of Power, riding her horse Swift Wind (yes, I had to look that up). After trying to manipulate and clean up the image myself, Keith (who has made several projects at FreshPressed himself) steered me towards the high-tech tools of tracing paper and a marker, and I recreated Beth’s masterpiece, scanned it back in and created an Illustrator file (something that Jonathan and his team can all do for you if you’d prefer).
When I got to FreshPressed Jonathan burned my screen after making sure the size and line thickness would work for what I wanted to print on. After picking out my paint color (pink, duh) and a few test prints, I was pulling the squeegie over Beth’s best gifts ever:
A t-shirt to show the world that she, too, possesses the power of Grayskull.
And a tote bag for toting around her sword when not in use.
This Friday, FreshPressed is having its first art show with work by local artists Kime Buzzelli, Sean Cassidy, Rory Wilson, Frohawk Two Feathers, and Andy Mueller. If you’re around, be sure to stop by and check out the digs so you can start envisioning your next gift. And here’s the ReadyMade article (with a studly photo of Jonathan for the ladies out there).