Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amy Thompson : : Letterpress

Today we are visiting the studio of fine artist Amy Thompson. Amy is the owner of Paper Boat Studios, located on Historic Cherokee Street in St. Louis.
Amy creates fine mixed media art, stationery (she specializes in custom wedding invitations) and home goods. Her work is very diverse - but everything includes the letterpress.
In her space ("Around 450 square feet and bursting!" Amy explains), she has her studio, a small store front display and a couch and table for meeting with clients, for friends who pop in and most often, for her constant companions Boomer and India. India is below. See the paper boats floating in the window? Amy was inspired to name her business Paper Boat Studios after being on a rowing team in college.
And here is India's view of Amy when she works. Amy has an MFA with a focus on printmaking. She has been in this studio for three and a half years. Before this, she had a space in the Loft District downtown.
Here are some of the home products/greeting cards Amy creates. You can see more in her etsy shop!

Amy has two presses on site, and they are named Leona (after Amy's grandma whose name is ironically not Leona) and Doll (after Dolly Parton). "They're like two strong women," Amy said. Leona was made in 1903 and Doll was made in 1907. Amy has a third press in storage at her grandmother's home in Montana.
Amy says one of her biggest personal challenges as a full time artist is staying organized. She has also claimed 2014 as her year to spend some time focusing on balance. She teaches as an adjunct professor at two local universities, maintains her invitation/stationery work business and makes time to continue her passion for fine art. Her current fine art project includes a study of Spirograph designs.
This collection is now on display at the Meramec Gallery of Contemporary Art as part of a show called "Under Pressure." It runs until February 14th.
Amy's mother gave her these toys to remind her to keep her "ducks in a row". Do you remember when I featured Carol Carter in this space? She told me that all artists have toys in their studios, and I am finding that to be true.
Before Amy was a printer, she worked as a graphic artist. She combines traditional and modern methods in her work.
"Because people often want to make small changes in their invitations, it is easier to work with a pdf that can handle tiny changes and be edited immediately," she said. "And then I have photo polymer plates made in New York." Box Car Press in Syracuse, creates Amy's plates and they also recycle all of her used scraps. These are recycled and used in composite decks and benches.
Amy says that the move to Cherokee Street has been perfect for her art and her business. She walked by her studio, saw the "For Rent" sign in the window and knew it was the space for her before she even stepped inside. (There are more paper boats hanging on her back wall.)
 I think her presses are so beautiful. They're like sculpture all on their own.
Here is some of Amy's work in progress. A tip that Amy shared for aspiring paper artists is to use a surgical scalpel rather than an X-Acto knife for cutting. "They're sharper, cheaper and thinner,"Amy explained. "The blade almost never breaks and they never roll off a table!"
Some of Amy's fine art work.
Here is Amy with Boomer (right) and India (left). Thank you Amy!

Paper Boat Studios
2308 1/2 Cherokee Street
St. Louis

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