FROM THE SMOCK WEBSITE:
Smock is based in Syracuse, New York, a post-industrial town whose sprawling warehouses and pretty grit have charmed us silly. Our print shop — its 20 antique presses, 50 tons of equipment, and 17 employees — resides west of downtown in the Delavan Center, a rambling building with labyrinth hallways and wildly crooked floors. This place used to be a factory for John Deere, and before that for the Syracuse Chilled Plow Company, if you look far enough backwards. Nowadays, the Delavan houses many of the city's painters, photographers, sculptors, and ceramists, as well as Syracuse's largest art gallery. This is our home.
Who are we? We are faithful lovers of historic craft. We have letterpress ink in our veins. We are idealists. This means we believe in things. We are trying to make the world better right now. This affects everything we do. We read Walt Whitman (he was a letterpress printer too, by the way) (Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine). We fall head over heels for heavy cast iron presses. We believe in the creation of beautiful things. And we want, like you, to feel good about where our beautiful things come from.
One final thing of note: we're the first and only print shop in the U.S. to offer printing on a luxury bamboo paper. We developed this paper with the help of a historic European paper mill, because we wanted a truly sustainable paper that happened to be gorgeous.
Smock's designer Amy Graham Stigler was an art historian before she was a designer, which explains why her invitations and cards convey an educated sense of history and style. She spent nearly a decade in Chicago, where she attended graduate school, worked at a handful of museums and co-founded Snow & Graham. More recently, Amy relocated to a quaint lake town in Wisconsin, where she happily resides with her husband and three children
Smock owners Debbie Urbanski and Harold Kyle have known each other for a long time. Their first collaboration involved Debbie's poetry, Harold's lead type, and an lovely old Vandercook press. They went on to found Boxcar Press (Smock's parent company), building Boxcar into one of the largest letterpress shops in the country. In need of a hobby, they recently created their son Jasper, named after a national park in the Canadian Rockies.
We're proud to be the first print shop in the U.S. to offer printing on a luxury bamboo paper.
Why bamboo? Bamboo is a truly sustainable and renewable resource. It's the fastest growing plant on this planet; it grows without pesticides or fertilizers; and it requires very little water to grow. Bamboo also makes (hands down) the prettiest paper out there. We partnered with a 500-year-old European paper mill to develop this fine artisan paper just for us.
What is our bamboo paper like? It's extremely soft, luxuriously thick, and elegantly textured. It's also perfect for letterpress. Essentially, imagine the highest quality cotton paper. Now imagine something even prettier and without the pesticides used in cotton production.
We consider bamboo to be a true wonder plant. In addition to not requiring pesticides or fertilizer to grow, bamboo reaches its mature harvestable height in 3 to 5 years (versus 10-20 years for most softwoods). Bamboo generates up to 35% more oxygen than hardwood trees, and absorbs four times as much carbon as hardwood. Bamboo can detoxify wastewater (due to its high nitrogen consumption) and improve soil quality. If that wasn't enough, bamboo also has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties too.
Smock Paper is made in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.
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